With only a few left in the 62nd session of the Wyoming Legislature, weíre beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Concurrence was reached last Friday between the House and the Senate on the supplemental budget, and it was sent down to the governorís office for his signature. The bill was 114 pages long and had about 140 pages of amendments. The governor recommended supplemental budget cuts of $139.6 mllion. The Joint Legislative Appropriations Committee added back in $61.4 million, and by the time the Senate and House finished with all of their amendments, we ended up with a $78 million increase to the biennial budget. Itís kind of like a shell game; deduct the money in one place and move it to another and somehow pretend that the overall governmental expenditures were reduced. The governor had profiled an additional $20 million for cities, towns and counties and that stayed in the budget along with an amendment I had made to restore $490,000, (cut to $200,000) for senior centers that was originally taken out of the 2013-14 budget.
This has probably been one of the most unnerving sessions of the Legislature Iíve been through in all the years Iíve been serving the good people of southwest Wyoming. Weíve had a number of bills that have evoked emotions and anger from our constituents that have been all over the board. I hope we donít find ourselves with a state government turning out like our federal government in Washington, D.C. with the attitude that the government knows whatís best for you by golly and the majority public opinion really doesnít count for much. Iíve also noticed this time around that legislators who donít agree with ignoring their constituents concerns and donít get on board with the legislative leadership train can be marginalized in the process. But, regardless, Iíve always operated with a goal to represent to the best of my ability the majority opinions of my constituents. Thatís what the democratic process is all about.
Stan Cooper, SD 14 Senator