Legislature Update – Feb. 14, 2014
by Representative Albert Sommers, HD20
February 14, 2014
Legislature update for Friday, Feb. 14, 2014: Audio (m4a audio file, 3:24mins, 1.63MB)
Hello Sublette County this is Albert Sommers reporting to you on Friday (Feb. 14th) from the Capital. We voted on nearly 40 bills in the introduction process today. I voted against a bill that would have disallowed the future purchases of lifetime game and fish licenses, because I believe this is a great way to develop lifelong sportsmen. It also helps those of us who have a hard time remembering to buy a fishing license in the spring, and fortunately the bill failed. I voted for a bill that will streamline the state agricultural fuel tax refund process, it passed. We passed a bill that would allow for an increase in the speed limit on interstates to 80mph. We also passed a bill of mine, which would require the state Administration and Information agency to conduct a study on how to improve the development and placement of Human Resource personnel in agencies. While serving on a state board I saw continual problems with that position, and I believe we need to maintain a clear firewall between directors, supervisors, and staff. I voted for a bill that would have created a Merit Career –Technical scholarship, because I believe we need to better encourage and support those students going into post-secondary career-tech programs. The bill failed because of the cost, which was the right decision by the body, but I felt it necessary to make a statement on the issue. We passed bills on county road competitive bidding, pledge of allegiance commemoration, impact assistance to local governments, computer trespass, a commission of federalism, and of course everyone’s favorite road kill bill. We introduced a bill that increased the number of barrels of beer that a microbrewery can manufacture in order to retain its microbrewery definition, which will help their competitive ability. I voted against HB168, a stop the Common Core initiative, because we will address this issue in the education committee on Monday morning when we deliberate HB97, which has a similar theme. I support some of HB97, and some of it I do not. I like the development of a new standard creation process, one that is more inclusive and open. I have maintained throughout the interim that I will not vote to abolish the Common Core standards of math and language arts that are currently in place, because educators believe they are better standards than existed in the past. Sublette County’s school districts have spent too much time and energy in curriculum development in the last few years to pull the plug on them now. I have also maintained that Wyoming should develop its own state assessment and not join the Smarter Balance Consortium, which is multistate assessment group. I brought these issues to both boards in the county, and there has been no consensus on the issue of the assessment. If any of you have a passion for this issue, I would encourage you to come testify or e-mail me. Thanks.