Monday, March 19, 2018

Today In Wyoming's History (a bit closer to home): March 19, 1918.

Today In Wyoming's History: March 19: 1918     Congress approved daylight-saving time thereby dooming legions of commuters to biannual time adjustments.


Meanwhile, in the desert. . .

While we've been focusing, recently (in terms of World War One), on the tense situation in Europe,  HRH the Duke of Connaught held an investiture in the old Turkish barracks in Jerusalem. The Commander in Chief, General Allenby, received the insignia of a Knight of grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.  Other Empire officers were decorated as well.

Base Hospital, Camp Sheridan, Alabama. March 19, 1918.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: Holy Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Cathedral, Denver Colorado

Churches of the West: Holy Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Cathedral,, Denver Colorado.

This is the Holy Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral in North Denver.  This Cathedral is a Cathedral of the Orthodox Church in America, a church which traces its origin to the Russian Orthodox Church after the Russian Revolution. The particular neighborhood this church is in must have been heavily Slavic at one time, as there is a Catholic Church which was built for a largely Polish population all within a couple of blocks, with a third Catholic Church nearby..  Recently I observed a Polish flag, flying with the US flag, on a Catholic school in the neighborhood, but are the area is largely Hispanic today.

There are two bodies that descend from the Russian Orthodox Church in the US today, and I frankly don't quite understand the relationship between the two, but this Cathedral in Denver reflects part of Denver's Russian Orthodox community.  The church dates to 1898.

Note:  If you follow the link to the original posting for this you can find a detailed explanation by a commentor on the organization of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Well maybe a sort of poster after all for St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick and recalling St. Brigid of Kildare.

St. Brigid of Kildare carried by Angles, painting by John Duncan, 1918.

Usually, on St. Patrick's Day, we put up a depiction of St. Patrick.

But Patrick, the Anglo-Roman patron saint of Ireland, is certainly not the only Irish Saint. As we now count ethnicity, St. Patrick, wasn't even Irish, although what that meant in his day isn't quite the same as what it means in our own, although it isn't wholly unrelated either.

St. Patrick was what we would call today Welsh, but born as he was to a religions patrician family (his father Calpurnius was a Deacon and his grandfather Potitus was a Priest*) were really basically Roman in culture, as their names would indicate.  As is well know, Patrick (Patricius) was captured by an Irish raising party as a youth and spent six years in Ireland as a slave before escaping.  Following that he entered into the Priesthood and returned to Ireland as the evangelizer of the Irish, being able to speak their language as well as Latin and likely Welsh and perhaps other languages.  He's regarded as a Church Father, a Doctor of the Church, today.**

But he isn't the only saint by any means that Ireland produced in ancient or recent times. St. Brigid is another early one.  She was a highly active Nun who founded many churches in Ireland just shortly after St. Patrick (Padraig in Irish) converted the Irish.

This day has become, in modern times, sort of a freakish celebration of the Irish drinking culture which has been co-opted by the American one and the hyped up by high alcohol beers, something the Irish have not really consumed much (Irish beers, like Guinness, a stout, are low alcohol).  I note this, however, as the Irish really are fond of low alcohol heavy bodied beers and they do have a cheerful, and sometimes unfortunate, association with alcohol.  St. Brigid is oddly associated with an early example of this as the claimed author of this peom:
I should like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I should like the angels of Heaven to be drinking it through time eternal.
I should like excellent meats of belief and pure piety.
I should like the men of Heaven at my house.
I should like barrels of peace at their disposal.
I should like for them cellars of mercy.
I should like cheerfulness to be their drinking.
I should like Jesus to be there among them.
I should like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I should like the people of Heaven, the poor, to be gathered around from all parts.
Did she author it?

Well, St. Brigid died in 525 at the age of 74 years.  525 is a few years back and that makes it difficult to tell if she wrote this or not.  Who knows.  But it does illustrate a sort of traditional Catholic view of drinking, particularly with the line "I should like cheerfulness to be their drinking."

I was sort of struck by this because the other day I drove five hours to meet with a witness and in the process listed to a podcast featuring a fellow who is a lay Catholic who brings up his faith in breweries, or brewpubs, as he travels around the country.  By his account, he's had some pretty remarkable encounters doing that including some that demonstrate the freakish nature of synchronicity.  He himself would be the first to admit, and did, that this isn't for everyone and that not all persons should go to the pub and have a drink or two.  But he and his host also discussed the convivial religious and philosophic conversations that Belloc, Chesterton and Tolkien enjoyed in their weekly meetings at a pub and who wouldn't have wanted to join that Stammtisch, if only as a silent listener?

Well, at least one person wouldn't have, as he called in utterly horrified and lectured the fellow and his hosts as he "knew what goes on in those places".

Hmmm. . . I think he probably didn't.

Which brings us to the odd Reformation relationship that Americans, and pretty much just Americans and some Canadians, have with alcohol.

Most European nations have a long and at least semi benign relationship with alcohol, although that comment has to be taken in context.  I.e., while you can cite to examples of European farmhands in the Middle Ages drinking over a liter of beer a day, that figure probably doesn't mean much if you are likely to die of some hideous disease or by the sword relatively young.  Nonetheless for much of European history an appreciable number of calories in the European diet came in by wine in Southern Europe and by beer in Northern Europe and the British Isles.

Contrary to what would some would really like to believe, there was no early Christian prohibition on drinking alcohol at all. There was on being a drunk.  But both the Old and New Testament had favorable references to alcohol.  Jesus' first public miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding feast and suggestions that he really turned water into grape juice are, I'm sorry if I offend, flat out absurd.  St. Paul counseled Timothy that he should stop just drinking water and drink a little wine as Timothy was sick so often.  Catholics and the Orthodox have traditionally regarded alcohol of the wine and beer variety as gifts from God, but like other gifts of a pleasurable type, such as food or sex, etc., gifts that had to be taken in context and in moderation.  Chesterton sort of defined the general concept as follows:
Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.
Chesteron also counseled never to drink anything that was dreamt up after the Reformation although in so doing he may not really have been familiar with the history of whiskey.  Most, maybe all, whiskey distilleries are post Reformation but there are references all the way back to Roman Britain of the Celts distilling drink, so it's been around a long while.

The point to that is, however, that in most of Europe the drinking cultures, and I use the plural advisedly, didn't sit around getting plowed.  British and Irish beers were decidedly low alcohol and remain so, although there's now a great concern in the UK about the young British switching to German high alcohol beers.  Ironically, that may be part of the dred law of unintended consequences as the British keep trying to clamp down on drinking while, at the same time, the young British are switching to American bing style drinking.  Before we go on to that we should note that while German beers of some types are highly alcohol than the British, German drinking culture didn't emphasize sitting around getting plowed either.

Indeed, where people in Europe have traditionally really gotten slammed are in areas in which poverty was a real problem and, oddly, the weather.  Scandinavia and Russia provide really outstanding examples.  Long winters, low food variety, and poverty seems to have made those regions ones where, traditionally, boozing has been a big problem. It remains so in Russia.

And it has been in the United States from time to time, which we've dealt with in our prior posts on Prohibition.  Prior to Prohibition the United States had a real alcohol problem.  This is interesting in and of itself and it would require some exploration as to why.

One thing that is misunderstood in these regards is that Prohibition was due to a "Puritan" impulse.  Not so.  The Puritans brewed beer and had no problem with that.  This is one of at least two areas mentioned in the list of things above that the Puritans were really big on, assuming they weren't big on all three, and both of them are areas in which people routinely claim that they were fun wreckers.  The Puritans were fun wreckers, but being opponents of beer didn't enter into the equation on that.  That came from elsewhere.

Well, anyhow, today is St. Patrick's Day and if you are so inclined, and if you are not don't worry about it, a feast truly in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland could feature a little Guinness, in moderation.


*Having mentioned that St. Patrick's father was a Deacon and his grandfather a Priest will immediately send some off into some sort of shock but it shouldn't.

First of all, there's no prohibition in either Rite of the Church (to include the Orthodox) from Deacon's being married.  In the Latin Rite today once a Deacon is ordained he cannot marry, but a married man can be ordained a Deacon.  If his spouse dies, he cannot remarry.

Now, today, a married man cannot usually be ordained a Priest in the Latin Rite.  I say usually as this isn't universally true, however.  A married man who holds orders in a Protestant church that is close in form and belief to the Catholic Church can in fact be ordained in the Catholic Church.  It's not hugely clear to me, but the ordinate of the Catholic Church which takes in members of the conservative branch of the Anglican Communion might not only be able to take in their married Priests, but it might also be able to ordain future married Priests.  Again, I'm not clear on that, but I know that was discussed at one point.  The Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church does ordain married men to the Priesthood just as the Orthodox do.  Indeed, while its not really supposed to happen, I guess, some Latin Rite Catholics do switch rites in order to seek Holy Orders in the Eastern Rite and it seems that they do achieve that.

At the time we're speaking of, the rule that prohibited married men in the Latin Rite, and that is in fact what St. Patrick was part of, didn't exist. So at that time married men could be ordained in the Latin Rite.  The rule prohibiting that, and it is a rule, not a dogma, came later.  For what its worth, at least St. Peter, the first Pope, was a married man although its not entirely clear if he was a widower at the time he became an Apostle or not.

**St. Patrick is a Church Father and Doctor of the Church.  

It's easy to forgot how early St. Patrick really was in church history.  He's not like one of the very early Fathers of the Church who were ordained by Apostles but he was born in the 4th Century and is a very early and hugely important figure in the early church.  He's important not only to the Irish, but in general.  Perhaps thats the reason why you can find Orthodox Churches named in his honor.

What this also points out, and its worth pointing out, is how Catholic, ie., universal, the early figures of the Church were.  St. Patrick could speak and write in Latin, and he did write in Latin to be sure.  But he probably spoke a version of Welsh at home and on his evangelizing mission he was speaking Irish Gaelic.  Some of the early Church Fathers were Aramaic speakers.  Some will commonly think of them operating all in Greek, but they didn't.

No poster, but. . .

a photograph.

"Washington society youngsters impersonate "Horse Marines" at children's horse show. The Misses Jinks of the Horse Marines all set for the Children's Horse Show which will be held in the National Capital on St. Patrick's Day. They are, left to right: Margaretta Rowland; Katrina McCormick, daughter of Mrs. Medill McCormick of Illinois and Miss Anne Rollins."

Best Posts of the Week of March 11, 2018.

Best Posts of the Week of March 11, 2018.

Set your clock ahead. . . now 


Odds and ends of the Zeitgeist


The 2018 Wyoming Legislative Session.


Well maybe a sort of poster after all for St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick and recalling St. Brigid of Kildare.


St. Patrick's Day, 1918.

A poem about March, as a seventeen year old Irish lass, greeted Cheyenne's newspaper readers on this day in 1918.

Along with news the Soviets had taken Russia out of the war. . . unless the Russian Socialist had their way.

Casualties were starting to mount.  An oil prediction that came true in the 2010s appeared in this day's newspaper.

And Villa was back on the front page, having been reported to have taken Durango.

March 16, 1968. The My Lai Massacre

It was fifty years ago yesterday that the most infamous, from the American prospective, incident of the Vietnam War occurred. The Massacre at My Lai.

I'm a day late in noting this event and I'm not going to dwell on it deeply due to that reason.  Suffice it to say it has gone down as the most infamous American atrocity of the Vietnam War.

The event came about in the wake of the Tet Offensive of 1968 but that huge Communist offensive cannot completely explain it.  As is simply often the case with war, as the American presence in the Vietnam War drug on an element of acclimation to violence combined with frustration began to take a toll on the American forces.  While not usually noted, for some reason, both the North and South, or more properly the North, South, and the indigenous southern Communist guerillas, fought the war in an brutal fashion and the American and other allied forces found themselves in the midst of that reality. While the movie is otherwise pretty bad, the one line from Apocalypse Now in which Colonel Kurtz notes that and decides to take the war up to the next level of violence and horror in order to win it does somewhat accurately reflect the nature of fighting as an outside western army in a third world civil war.  Added to that, the conscripted American army was beginning to suffer from moral problems, although most of that would come later, as the the war turned unpopular.  

At some point in this part of the war the Americans began to utilize what amounted to a liberal use of "free fire" zones. The original idea was to declare an area that was heavily infiltrated by the Viet Cong to be off limits to everyone so that the VC could be identified, but that was an impossible thing to effect in a densely populated country like Vietnam. This too had its unintended consequences as it acclimated some American units to the concept that every Vietnamese in the countryside was the enemy.  Here the war began to take on a bit of the character of the worst elements of the Indian Wars.

So, enter Lt. William Calley and his unit on this date.

Entering My Lai with orders that were perhaps vague but a prelude to genocide Calley issued orders to gather up and kill the villages of My Lai.  Most of his troops followed the orders, but not all of them did (something that is important to note).  It's shocking to think of American troops behaving like the Germans in World War Two but by and large at My Lai they did, but some did not and aided villagers in escaping.  Ultimately two Americans from outside the unit intervened including a helicopter pilot who threatened to open up on his own side if the killing didn't stop.

The news did not break immediately, so the event had no immediate effect.  When it did, some men were tried for the incident, including Calley, but his time in prison was relatively brief and he remains out of prison today, largely silent on the event (he has spoken very occasionally).  The event, which wasn't wholly singular, tainted the image of the American soldier in some quarters, building on a trend that was already in the works due to actions such as burning the huts in villages.  Surprisingly the American population itself remained largely supportive of its soldiers and polls after the news broke even showed them supporting Calley and his men, but it became acceptable and even fashionable to condemn American troops as "baby killers".  It would take years for the reputation of the Army to recover.

As a horrific incident, and it was one, it wasn't exactly unique for the Vietnam War.  Most American combat troops in the war never participated in anything remotely similar to My Lai, but other incidents did occur and the issuing of "search and destroy" and "no prisoner" type orders were a feature of the later stages of the war.  Other allied forces committed similar acts, most notably a South Korean example, showing that a level of frustration was breaking out in atrocities.  The most brutal forces were the indigenous combatants themselves, with the Communist forces by far taking the cake for atrocities.

None of which excuses what occurred on this day in 1968.

Today In Wyoming's History: March 13. Fort Caspar To Stay Open

Today In Wyoming's History: March 13:

2018  The Casper City Council votes to keep Casper park and historic site Fort Casper open all year long.  Closing it during the winter months had been studied as a cost savings matter but was, in the end, turned down.

The 2018 Wyoming Legislative Session.

Another one of our trailing posts.

It hardly seems possible, but the 2018 Wyoming Legislative session is soon to begin and bills are now being filed in earnest.

As we know from following prior sessions, most of the bills introduced won't make it to the floor, and that is particularly true this year as this is a budget, not a general, session. So in order to see the light of legislative day, there will have to be 2/3s support from the body to even consider a bill.  That will happen for just a few.

Anyhow, let's see what's in the hopper so far.

1.  Aviation topics.


Okay, there are none, but there were some being considered. They seem to have died off for the time being but there was some serious examination of potentially subsidizing air travel between the smaller communities in the state.

I frankly wish this would happen.  It's not going to happen this session, but maybe its not dead. To my surprise, it was better received than I would have supposed.

2.  Opiate Crisis

President of the Wyoming State Senate Eli Bebout has indicated he wants to focus on the Opiate Crisis this legislature and form a body to study it.  In response, a well known physician interviewed by the Casper Star Tribune has said there is no Opiate Crisis in Wyoming.

I don't know if there's a crisis or not, but the abuse of prescription opiates has been going on big time for a long, long time.  For that reason, I've been skeptical of the "crisis" term nationally, as it seems to be one of those crises that occur when people suddenly notice a bad situation that's been going on for a long time.

Which doesn't need that it doesn't need to be addressed.  It does.  Nationwide.

3.  Don't change that clock.


One legislator, for the second time, has introduced a bill into committee to keep Wyoming on Daylight Savings Time year around.

Frankly, I hate the fact that we play with the clock and I'd like to keep us on standard time year around.  So I am kind of sympathetic with this bill, although I think it odd to keep us on the fake Daylight Savings Time rather than standard  time.  There's some logic in his position, however, as it turns out, to my surprise, that we're only on standard time for four months out of the year. Bizarre.

Anyhow, I'm sure that this bill will also go nowhere and there's already criticism of it by another legislator.

Well, so much for now. We'll be back.

January 15, 2018.


What does the possible recovery of oil mean for the Legislature?

Rumor has it . . .well more than rumor, that some Legislative committees were pondering changes to Wyoming's tax structure, including allowing local governments to levy more taxes on their own.  Chances are that wasn't going anywhere, but with a state hiring freeze and an ongoing enormous drop in the state coffers, a boost in the price of oil and the stabilization of coal, albeit a potential new normal that was less than what it once was, are pretty significant developments.  The Legislature isn't in session yet, but its hard to imagine that the news, which is now coming in steadily, won't have some sort of impact.

January 29, 2018. 


The legislature, in committee, has rejected several bills designed to increase state revenues through various taxes, including a bill to increase the lodging tax which was defeated six to six.  That one had been expected to pass.

The Committee had delayed its work in order to see how the State's economy was looking and the increase in petroleum revenues apparently persuaded it not to approve any new taxes.  Irrespective of that, the action leaves a $850,000,000 deficit at the present time.

February 1, 2018.


ENDOW Study. Air Travel First
 Federal Express at the Natrona County International Airport.  An airport that can  handle a plane like this could sure easily handle intra state air travel.
February 4, 2018

An action entitled "Stand Your Ground" has been introduced in the State Senate that is generally a "no duty to retreat" bill.  The introductory text provides:
A BILL for AN ACT relating to crimes and civil liability establishing and modifying when defensive force can be used; establishing when the opportunity to retreat may be considered; providing immunity from criminal or civil liability for reasonable use of defensive force; providing for an award of costs if a civil lawsuit is filed as specified providing a definition and providing for an effective date.

February 6, 2018. 


Some Time Ago we published this item here on Lex Anteinternet: Coal: Understanding the time line of an industry

February 7,  2018


From the Casper Star Tribune:

Bills to watch in Wyoming's 2018 legislative session 

A good synopsis, some of these I would have had no idea about and with some I wasn't aware of what their status was. 

Here's one I wasn't aware of, for example:

What it does: This bill includes several major revisions to Wyoming’s campaign finance laws. It expands the definition of what is covered under the law and changes some reporting requirements.
What they’re saying: The Equality State Policy Center faced off against the Wyoming Liberty Group on this legislation during interim committee meetings. ESPC was heartened to see the definitions expanded, while the Liberty Group claimed that strengthening the laws any further would be unconstitutional and was successful in rolling back an existing reporting requirement. It appeared some of the lawmakers were confused as to what they were voting on during the interim committee meeting and amendments to this bill are likely if it is successfully introduced to the full Legislature.
I still can't say I know much about it, but that is pretty interesting.  Also interesting is that the Tea Party Wyoming Liberty Group is opposed to a bill limiting corporate participation in campaigns via monetary donations.

Here's another one that's interesting, which the Tribune titled with "Air Wyoming is Back"
What it does: This measure would move forward an ambitious proposal by the Wyoming Department of Transportation to effectively create a state-run airline, through which WYDOT would contract with regional carriers to operate specific routes and schedules. The idea is to ensure reliable air service to cities across Wyoming without relying on the whims of commercial carriers.
What they’re saying: Critics argued that the idea remains half-baked and that more information is needed before acting on it. But proponents say if Wyoming doesn’t move quickly, it may be frozen out of any regular air service in many cities as commercial carriers begin using larger planes and have a harder time staffing pilots for rural routes. Von Flatern resurrected this piece of legislation after the full transportation committee declined to advance it, and the bill has the support of Senate President Eli Bebout, which may give it a boost. A similar measure is also included in Gov. Matt Mead’s Endow economic diversification initiative.
I'll be very surprised if this passes, but I hope it does.  The backing of Eli Bebout is interesting as well, as he's far from a gadfly of any kind.  I'm skeptical of this bill's chances, but maybe I'm a bit too skeptical.

February 12, 2018 

Governor Mead delivered his State of the State Address to the Legislature:

February 13, 2018


Lots of bills hit the floor or the committee floor on the opening day of the 2018 Legislative Session.  Of course, most of them will die.

School Funding

There were three proposed bills to amend the Wyomign Constitution to address education funding. These propose, in no particular order:

1.  To match our funding to an average of the neighboring states.

That's an odd suggestion for a state that prides itself on independent thought quite frankly.  And as Colorado and Utah both have huge metropolitan areas, it doesn't make a lot of sense in other ways.  It would tie funding, bizarrely, to the acts of other legislatures.

2.  The second one proposes to limit judicial review of education funding.  Interestingly, it has one of the same sponsors as No. 1 above.  I note that in interest as I doubt the constitutionality of No. 1, and perhaps the sponsor senses that.

This is specifically designed to "keep the courts" out of funding on the concept that those bad old Wyoming courts are monkeying with things.

Bills to limit judicial review ought to always be regarded with suspension as they effectively make the legislature, with the assistance of the Governor, dictatorial. They'd deny that, but judicial review has served the nation really well and most of the really horrifying abuses of legislative power around the globe in some fashion occur in environments of no judicial review.

3. The third bill sort of returns Wyoming to the local bond era of school construction funding.  That's a proposal made by Sen. Charles Scott of Casper.

This would return school construction funding to the era that existed before, yes. . . the Wyoming Supreme Court found it inequitable.  The thought presumably is that addressing this in a constitutional amendment would return us to the past in this fashion.

Was that a really great past?

Well, it had its merits and demerits.  Certainly, fwiw, the massive school construction Natrona County has had over the past decade would not have existed in this environment.  Indeed, as lamented here frequently, the bond issue to fund a swimming pool at NCHS's massive reconstruction failed, sadly in my view.  My guess is that there wouldn't have been much school construction in recent years in this county with this amendment in place.

Other bills.

In other bills, Chuck Gray has proposed a bill to bypass the Attorney General of Wyoming and allow the legislature to hire an attorney to sue the State of Washington over coal terminals. This is a really bad idea and it won't go anywhere.

If it were to pass, it would fund some lawyer for an expensive suit that would surely fail.  It would be more productive to simply burn the cash.

It will likely be just about as likely to pass, however, as two pre doomed bills sponsored by the very few Democrats in the legislature, one of which would take on Medicaid Expansion again and the other which would propose new taxes, including a state income tax. Those aren't going anywhere.

And so the legislative session commences.

And then there's this:
Hunters would have the option to wear fluorescent pink instead of the traditional blaze orange when they head into the field if a bill proposed in the Wyoming Legislature passes.
Senate File 61 would allow hunters to substitute fluorescent pink for the currently required fluorescent orange. Sen. Affie Ellis (R-Cheyenne) proposed the legislation after hearing about a study in Wisconsin that showed fluorescent pink was as visible as fluorescent orange, and sometimes more so. The high visibility prompted Ellis to propose pink but not colors like green or blue, she said.
“Safety is the most important part of the bill,” she said.
From the Wyo.file.

Seriously?   I think the days of girls wear pink ended some time ago.

February 12, 2018



And here we go yet again.

Yet another misguided effort to get the Federal domain transferred to the state.

State lands-net gain in acreage.

Sponsored by: Representative(s) Jennings, Clem, Edwards, Halverson, Lone, Miller, Stith and Winters and Senator(s) Hicks



AN ACT relating to state lands; providing that the acquisition of lands from the federal government may increase total trust land acreage; and providing for an effective date.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Wyoming:

Section 1.  W.S. 36‑2‑111 is created to read:

362111.  Acquisition of trust lands.

Subject to any other limitations as provided by law, the board is authorized to acquire land from the federal government or any federal agency that would increase total trust land acreage held by the state.  Any land acquired under this section shall not be included in any rule, policy or formula that limits the total trust land acreage which is or can be held by the state.

Section 2.  This act is effective July 1, 2018.
This one the sponsors managed to sneak in somehow without much notice.  Boo Hiss.

This will go to the floor this morning, February 14, 2018.   Call your legislature and leave a message.  Enough of this.
To make sure we keep public lands in public hands, call the the House Floor receptionist before 10 a.m.—307.777.7852—and tell your legislator to VOTE NO on HB 94.
February 14, 2018 

HB 94 Fails

Lex Anteinternet: Lex Anteinternet: The 2018 Wyoming Legislative Ses...: I'm already running a thread on the 2018 Wyoming Legislative Session, which is supposed to be a budget session.  That thread is here: ...
House Bill 94, I'm pleased to note, died a rapid death. 
Yellowstone license plates have also died.
As did revisions to cruelty to animals provisions. 

A bill on interfering with a process server also died.

A bill prohibiting sanctuary cities failed. . . not that there are any in Wyoming or even any suggested.

A Senate health care bill failed.

Another one to make the State Attorney General's position an elected office also failed.

February 14, 2018

The Tribune reports that the "Stand Your Ground" bill has advanced with enormous support.  Assuming that Governor Mead will sign it, it seems assured to become law.

I'm actually somewhat surprised as this is a Budget Session and its hard for things to advance.  And the law, at least when I read it, wasn't very well drafted and it actually seemed to lessen the protection for the users of deadly force in some instances, while probably moderately expanding it in others.  But there have been at least two notable cases in recent years in which the use of deadly force by civilians has come up in criminal trials, with one resulting in a reversal of a conviction by the Wyoming Supreme Court, so perhaps this is overall on the legislators minds.

According to the Trib, Wyoming is the only state without such a law.  If that's true, I'm surprised again.

February 16, 2018.


It's odd how certain Tea Party elements are for local control until they aren't.

In today's Tribune newly minted legislator Stith has letter in support of HB83.

I checked on it this morning, and it's already failed.  Be that as it may, the bill did the following:
AN ACT relating to education; specifying that the salary of a school district superintendent shall not exceed the salary provided under the education resource funding model; specifying applicability; and providing for an effective date.
Stith was the only sponsor of the bill.

Anyhow, the bill wanted to keep local districts from paying their superintendents more than the model provides for.  Apparently some districts do that.

I.e, local control.

Stith was one of the sponsors of the land grab bill that failed, which is always advanced on the thesis of local control is good.  But apparently, it's not universally good. . .

February 18, 2018.


Readers of the Casper Star Tribune woke up this morning to banner headlines proclaiming:

House, Senate At Odds

What they're at odds about is education funding. The Senate's bill proposes to cut $20,000,000 from education funding.  The House proposes to cut $75,000,000.

As will not doubt be pointed out, cuts have to come as the coal money is never coming back like it once was. Wyoming's coal producers have had two bits of bad news about coal customers of this type within the last two weeks.  But it also needs to be remembered that education is part of that vital support that will allow Wyoming, maybe, to diversify its economy, maybe.

It is certain that if education begins to lapse in quality, that's not going to help things at all.  So cutting education should be thought over very carefully.

At any rate, the teachers' lobby has found itself in the odd situation of supporting the $20,000,000 cuts as the $75,000,000 proposal is so severe.

February 25, 2018


Today's Tribune reports that yesterday the Wyoming Senate adopted an amendment on the "No Duty To Retreat" bill which effectively made it more or less revert to the existing standard of Wyoming's law.  It will likely pass in that form, although then it will have to be reconciled with the House bill, but there's actually very little point in passing a law which merely codifies an existing common law standard.

After the original bill passed the House a Wyoming Peace Officers association came out against the bill as they felt it hampered their ability to investigate potential homicides. That seemed to play a role in the amendment.  Both the NRA and a local firearms owners association backed the bill and made it known that they're rate voting yes on the amendment as an anti gun vote, but that doesn't seem to have made much of an impact on the vote.

I don't know what I think of the bill one way or another.  The common law standard is a "reasonable man" standard which is always difficult, but that is what its been for centuries.  On the other hand I found the editorial in the Tribune that prosecutors "won't" prosecute a matter unjustly if the evidence shows that to be charmingly naive.

February 28, 2018.


With less than a week to conclude their business, the House and Senate have not been able to reconcile competing budget bills, the very reason they are there.

The differences are not minor either.  Education is the hold up.

March 6, 2018.

The Wyoming Public Lands Day bill failed.

Prior to its failing, the name had been amended to be Wyoming's Multiple Use of Public Lands Day.  I'm all for multiple use, but that was a rather political change and not in the spirit of the bill.  At any rate, the bill died.

March 9, 2018


A budget was passed on time, but the Legislature failed to come to an agreement on construction and school cuts.  Given that, they failed to conclude on time and will gather again later this week.  Saturday was supposed to be the end of the session.

March 12, 2018

Lots of bills are heading towards the governor for signature.  It'll be interesting to see if any are vetoed.

One that is somewhat uncertain is the "Stand Your Ground" bill, a bill that turned out to be subject to some surprising controversy.  Governor Mead expressed concern about the original version of the bill which had a provision basically making a person who claimed to have stood their ground immune from suit.  The bill that passed, however, no longer reads that way and incorporates a reasonable man type standard, apparently.  That amendment drew the ire of the NRA and a local gun owners group which had the surprising counter reaction that Wyoming state senators, which are normally friendly to the NRA, openly balked at having pressure applied to them.  The amended statute was subsequently amended itself and everyone seems more or less satisfied with the current version of the bill, maybe.

I've questioned whether such a bill was necessary as there's not a big reason, in my view, to simply pass a bill that replicates a common law standard.  Be that as it may, this bill will almost certainly be signed into law as Every Town For Gun Safety, demonstrating that its leadership has mush for brains, at least as far as this state is concerned, took out a full page ad opposing its signature by the Governor.

Mush for brains.  Boiled mush.

An organization like Every Town For Gun Safety has to be run by an entire truckload of morons to think that putting a full page advertisement in a Wyoming newspaper doesn't instantly generate 167% opposition to its position.  The massive load of stupid that demonstrates is really blistering, but that sort of dimwitted behavior is common in the anti crowd in pro gun areas.

I doubt Mead would have vetoed the bill as written.  I suppose there's a chance he will. But now that Every Moron Gets his Own Stupid Ad has published, I suspect such thoughts have been driven from everyone's head.

Speaking of driving  thoughts from heads, the bill to help fund intrastate air travel, something Governor Mead has very much supported, has also gone to him for signature.

It's interesting to see how this has worked.  I think this is a great bill but I didn't think it would get far.  The fact that it did shows that the legislature really listened to the recent ENDOW study which stated reliable local air travel was a state must.

And then there's Chuck Gray and the legislators who take his view (at least locally, he seems to get the press).

Chuck Gray is a Casper legislator who stepped into local radio after graduating from the Wharton School of Business.  It doesn't hurt that the radio station was (or is) owned by his family.  He isn't from here, but he's taken the position of being an extreme conservative, putting him far to the right of the legislator who occupied his seat before him.  Gray is opposed to spending money, any money.

Now, the bill mentioned above had other opponents, to be sure, so singling out Gray is unfair.  But I suppose this shows my nativism.  Being born and raised here means that at some point you've been on the bottom end of the economic ladder, most likely.  That makes most of us pretty unsympathetic to extreme Tea Partism.  Like it or not, Wyoming's economy isn't a three legged stool, like Harriet Hageman likes to state, it's a four legged one and government expenditure is one of the legs.  A lot of that government money, over the years, has been spent on transportation.  Highways are government funded. The transcontinental railroad was government funded in a way.  If the legislature is serious about trying to diversify the economy, air travel is going to have to be supported for a time. There's no two ways about it.  Opposing  that is fine if you don't really depend on the economy at all.  If you do. . . well, perhaps you can still oppose it, but you better be able to cogently explain why your position in the world informs your position in a way that relates to the experiences of other people.  The experts have been saying a lack of intra state air travel retards our economy.  People in business, and I'm one of them, know this to be true.  It's not like British Overseas Airways is going to put in travel here without a little bit of encouragement starting it off. . the same sort of encouragement that every other major industry in Wyoming, whether we acknowledge it or not, has also had.

March 13, 2018 

Bills Signed by Governor Mead on March 7, 2018
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Here is the list of the bills signed by Governor Mead:

Enrolled Act Bill Number Title
1. HEA0001 HB0019 Wyoming Money Transmitter Act-virtual currency exemption.
2. HEA0002 HB0023 Audit requirements for conservation districts.
3. HEA0003 HB0072 Ad valorem tax collections.
4. HEA0004 HB0076 Supplemental security income program.
5. HEA0005 HB0088 State construction department-amendments.

Here is the list of the bills Governor Mead signed March 9, 2018:

Enrolled Act Bill Number Title
HEA0006 HB0003 County clerk map recording fees-conforming amendment.
HEA0007 HB0004 Investment of state funds-amendments.
HEA0008 HB0009 Obsolete reporting-department of workforce services.
HEA0009 HB0021 State parks designations-updates.
HEA0010 HB0110 Wyoming retirement plans-member accounts.
HEA0011 HB0058 Game animal licenses-limitations
SEA0001 SF0018 Orphan site remediation funding.
SEA0002 SF0016 Financial assurance-class I and V UIC wells.
SEA0003 SF0008 Insurance-audited annual financial reports.
SEA0004 SF0007 Insurance-corporate governance annual disclosure.
SEA0005 SF0006 Real estate exemption restoration.
SEA0006 SF0054 Water development project requirements.
SEA0007 SF0005 Medicine Lodge state archaeological site.
SEA0008 SF0053 Small water projects.
SEA0009 SF0037 Purple Heart Day and state.
SEA0010 SF0033 Military member spouse and children-resident tuition.
SEA0011 SF0026 Nationwide multistate licensing system-collection agencies.
SEA0012 SF0024 Court information technology equipment.
SEA0013 SF0021 Required reports in adoptions.
SEA0014 SF0020 Custody in the best interest of the children.
SEA0015 SF0003 Antelope hunt licenses.
SEA0016 SF0009 Insurance code revisions.
SEA0017 SF0044 Fire protection revolving account.
SEA0018 SF0002 Legislative budget.
SEA0019 SF0050 Collection of state financial obligations.
SEA0020 SF0025 Corrections exception to defense of habitation law.

Here is the list of the bills Governor Mead signed March 10, 2018:

Enrolled Act Bill Number Title
HEA0012 HB0164 Overweight vehicles-agriculture exemption.
HEA0013 HB0100 State emergency response commission membership.
HEA0014 HB0077 Instream flow consultant. 
HEA0015 HB0035 Motor club services updates.
HEA0016 HB0034 Duplicate titles-motor vehicles.
HEA0017 HB0033 School finance-capital construction amendments.
HEA0018 HB0032 School finance-major maintenance formula.
HEA0019 HB0018 Nonresident employer bonding.
HEA0020 HB0017 Child support amendments.
HEA0021 HB0010 Worker's compensation-extraterritorial reciprocity.
HEA0022 HB0101 Electronic corporate records.
HEA0023 HB0002 Election law violations-penalties and enforcement.
HEA0024 HB0126 Limited liability companies-series.
HEA0025 HB0022 Quebec 1 missile alert facility-fees.
HEJR0001 HJ0002 Commercial driver's license-compact agreement.
SEA0034 SF0111 Property taxation-digital currencies.
HEA0027 HB0070 Open blockchain tokens-exemptions.

Here is the list of the bills Governor Mead signed on March 12, 2018:

Enrolled Act Bill Number Title
SEA0021 SF0031 Veterans’ skilled nursing center.
SEA0022 SF0082 Miner’s hospital board account.
SEA0023 SF0027 Excise tax audits.
SEA0024 SF0081 Game and fish department-budget requests.
SEA0025 SF0011 Public utility regulation-joint powers entities.
SEA0026 SF0090 First judicial district-number of district judges.
SEA0027 SF0010 Utilities-rate making.
SEA0028 SF0041 Organ donation promotion-task force.
SEA0029 SF0035 Military Service Relief Act additional protections.
SEA0030 SF0060 Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Pathway-highway designation.
SEA0031 SF0084 Motor vehicle registration-deployed military members.
SEA0032 SF0069 2018 large project funding.
SEA0033 SF0063 Interfund loan accounts and interest rates.
SEJR001 SJ0002            150th Anniversary of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.
HEA0026 HB0125 Wyoming lottery revenues.
HEA0028 HB0008 Stalking revisions.
HEA0029 HB0028 Education reporting-children of military personnel.
HEA0030 HB0031 Hathaway scholarship application deadline-extension.
HEA0031 HB0061 Roadside waiver of property rights prohibited.
HEA0032 HB0106 Municipal court authority-conditional suspension of fines.
HEA0033 HB0108 Estelle Reel.
HEA0034 HB0141 Concealed weapons in places of worship.
HEA0035 HB0117 Domestic abuse-phone numbers.
HEA0036 HB0099 Prescription and possession of FDA approved drugs.
HEA0037 HB0029 Alternative school accountability.
SEA0035 SF0089 Local government distributions.
HEA0038 HB0144 Wyoming invests now exemption-amendments.
HEA0039 HB0039 Wildlife conservation license plates.
HEA0040 HB0084 Approval of bridge designs, plans and specifications.
HEA0041 HB0170 Wyoming children's trust fund-amendments.
HEA0042 HB0042 Justice reform-graduated sanctions.
HEA0043 HB0172 Produced water treatment.
HEA0044 HB0026 Post-conviction relief.
HEA0047 HB0175 Common college transcripts.
HEA0048 HB0036 Move over requirement.
HEA0049 HB0014 Municipal jurisdiction.
HEA0050 HB0157 Health care providers-sexual assault protections-2.
HEA0051 HB0192 Legislator communications on recordings and broadcasts.
HEA0052 HB0156 State songs.
HEJR0002 HJ0005 Yellowstone and Grand Teton wildlife conservation fees.
HEJR0003 HJ0008 150th Anniversary of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Bridger.

Here is the list of the bills Governor Mead signed on March 14, 2018:

Enrolled Act Bill Number Title
SEA0036 SF0100 Economic diversification-broadband services.
SEA0037 SF0108 Economic diversification and development.
SEA0038 SF0058 Game and fish licenses.
SEA0039 SF0019 Uniformity in domestic violence law.
SEA0040 SF0040 Commercial air service improvement.
SEA0041 SF0017 Cease and transfer priority list.
SEA0042 SF0030 Notice of hearing to reopen an estate-amendments.
SEA0043 SF0057 Board of law examiners appointment-supreme court rules.
SEA0044 SF0062 Omnibus water bill-planning.
SEA0045 SF0075 Biological products-pharmacies.
SEA0046 SF0083 Controlled substance prescription tracking.
SEA0047 SF0066 Volunteer health care.
SEA0048 SF0029 Education-computer science and computational thinking.
SEA0049 SF0022 Orders of protection-revisions.
SEA0050 SF0015 Large project account modifications.
SEA0051 SF0068 Amendments to agency plans and new program review-2.
SEA0052 SF0046 Elections-notices and resolutions.
SEA0053 SF0013 School facility property insurance.
SEA0054 SF0056 Real property as a collateral bond.
SEA0055 SF0072 School finance recalibration-transportation.
SEA0056 SF0079 Vertical takeoff and landing aircraft-regulation.
SEA0057 SF0061 Hunting colors-fluorescent pink.
SEA0058 SF0118 Kickstart Wyoming-economic diversification.
SEA0059 SF0119 Workforce development-priority economic sector program.
SEA0060 SF0078 Opioid addiction task force.
SEA0061 SF0105 Drug Donation Program Act-expansion.
SEA0062 SF0116 Retirement income security task force-2.
SEA0063 SF0042 Professional licensing-applicant criminal records.
SEA0064 SF0070 Revisor’s bill.
SEA0066 SF0036 Veterans tuition program limits.
SEA0067 SF0093 Child sexual abuse education and prevention.
SEA0068 SF0034 Military spouse unemployment sunset repeal.
SEA0069 SF0045 State fair board-2.
SEA0070 SF0120 Government efficiency project.
HEA0053 HB0006 Research and wildlife information-confidentiality.
HEA0054 HB0162 Penitentiary savings fund-amendments.
HEA0055 HB0129 Glider kit vehicles-title and registration.
HEA0056 HB0093 Speeding fines amendments-2.
HEA0057 HB0066 Purchase of water rights and facilities.
HEA0058 HB0069 Impersonation through electronic means-spoofing.
HEA0059 HB0086 Medicaid birth cost recovery.
HEA0060 HB0119 Genetic information privacy.
HEA0061 HB0040 Election Code revisions.
HEA0062 HB0001 General government appropriations.
HEA0064 HB0130 State fair endowment.
HEA0065 HB0109 Public employee retirement plan-contributions.
HEA0066 HB0078 Omnibus water bill-construction.

The following bill became law without the Governor’s signature on March 14, 2018:
Stand your Ground-2 (Sub #2)

The following bills were acted on with veto or line item vetoes on March 14, 2018:
1. HEA0062 HB0001 General government appropriations. Budget bill line item vetoes.
2. SEA0062 SF0116 Retirement income security task force-2. Line item veto
3. SEA0065 SF0074 Crimes against critical infrastructure. Veto

March 16, 2018


And s one of the most interesting budget session in some time has come to a close, with the final adjustments to the budget itself being the hold up to closure.

In the end, cuts were made to quite a few things, including education, but not as much as some wished for, which is likely a good thing.

There seemed to be a bit of a recognition by the Legislature that Wyoming's economy is, like it or not, a four legged stool, not a three legged one, and that had to be taken into account.  As part of that, the Legislature passed the bill which will help subsidize intra state air travel.  That's something I argued here should pass, even though I didn't think it would.  I'm both impressed and surprised that it did.

One thing that didn't surprise me was the passage of the Stand Your Ground bill, although I shared Governor Mead's skepticism that such a bill actually achieved much.  Wyoming has long used the common law in this area and the bill that passed actually isn't much different from t he common law, if at all.  Mead ended up not signing the bill, signalling his unease with it, and allowed it to pass into law without his signature.

That bill did see some surprising developments however.  An amendment drafted by Sen. Drew Perkins pretty much gutted much of it and drew the ire of the NRA and a local gun owners group, something we hardly ever see here.  They put public pressure on the Senators who in turn reacted back, showing that pushing Wyoming's legislature openly is a bad idea, even when that pushing is by an organization that most of the Legislators are sympathetic with.  There were amendments subsequent to that which reclaimed part of that ground, but in the end, as noted, the bill merely codified the common law.

At that point Every Town For Gun Safety entered the picture and guaranteed the bill would become law.  ETFGS acted like morons in taking out full page advertisements in a Wyoming newspaper, and buying the banner on that paper's website, as it was guaranteed to eliminate all opposition to the bill.

This is similar, I'd note, to what happened to Dan Neal when he ran for the Legislature last term.  I think Neal would have lost anyhow, but he was running a fairly strong race based on outdoors issues when some outside far left group came in and endorsed him. Game over. 

Another gun bill passed into law with the Governor's signature and really under the radar. The Wyoming Concealed Carry law was amended to take out the requirement that people who wish to carry concealed in church need the church "administrator's signature".  Now, in order to prevent people from carrying concealed in their churches, after July 1 when the bill becomes law, the church will have to post a sign indicating that carrying is prohibited.  Most churches are unlikely, I think, to even really know the law has changed.

That change came about due to the shooting in Texas and frankly I don't think it's a bad change.  It's just interesting how one bill got a lot of attention, and the other did not.

March 17, 2018.