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Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 4 Broadcast Episode. A complete transcript of the show is available here.


Capitol Outlook - Friday at 7:30 p.m. (re-airs Sat. at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at noon). Wyoming PBS continues its tradition of covering the Wyoming Legislature from Cheyenne. Week Four Guests (March 4): Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and Senate Majority Leader Eli Bebout with House Majority Leader Rosie Berger. Plus a special "Web Extra" with the Select Committee on Tribal Relations.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 4 WEB EXTRA - Tribal Relations. A complete transcript of the Web Extra will be available soon.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 3 Broadcast Episode. Click here for a complete transcript of the show.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 3 WEB EXTRA - JRC Leadership. A complete transcript of the Web Extra is available here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 3 WEB EXTRA - JRC. A complete transcript of the Web Extra is available here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 3 WEB EXTRA - Minority Leadership. A complete transcript of the Web Extra is available by clicking here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 2 Broadcast Episode. A complete transcript of the show is available here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 2 WEB EXTRA - JAC. A complete transcript of the JAC Web Extra is available here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 2 WEB EXTRA - New UW President Dr. Laurie Nichols Web Extra. A complete transcript of the Web Extra is available here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 2, WEB EXTRA - Bob Lampert, Director, Dept. of Corrections A complete transcript of the Web Extra is available here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 1 Broadcast Episode. A complete transcript of the show is available here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 1, WEB EXTRA - Joint Appropriations Committee A complete transcript of the Web Extra is available here.

Capitol Outlook (2016), Week 1, WEB EXTRA - Legislature Leadership A complete transcript of the Web Extra is available here.

Governor Mead's State of the Sate Address. Feb. 8, 2016 at 10 a.m.

One on One with Governor Mead. Feb. 4, 2016. You can read a complete transcript of the interview here.


Capitol Outlook - 2015

Capitol Outlook, Week 8 from the 63rd Wyoming Legislature (view now on-line).

Capitol Outlook, Week 7 from the 63rd Wyoming Legislature (view now on-line).

Capitol Outlook, Week 6 from the 63rd Wyoming Legislature (view now on-line).

Capitol Outlook, Week 5 from the 63rd Wyoming Legislature (view now on-line).

Capitol Outlook, Week 4 from the 63rd Wyoming Legislature (view now on-line).

Capitol Outlook, Week 3 from the 63rd Wyoming Legislature (view now on-line).

Capitol Outlook, Week 2 from the 63rd Wyoming Legislature (view now on-line).

Capitol Outlook, Week 1 from the 63rd Wyoming Legislature (view now on-line).

2015 State of the State Address, 2015 State of the Judiciary Address

Governor Matt Mead and First Lady Carol Mead visit with Wyoming PBS Public Affairs Producer Craig Blumenshine LIVE from the Governor's Residence, Thursday, January 8 at 7 p.m.

 
 
Wyoming lawmakers are going to work in the sixty-third Wyoming Legislature. Wyoming PBS will have complete coverage and we'll keep you up-to-date with the Legislature, visit with key policy makers and provide insights into various departments that make up Government in Wyoming in our weekly Friday Capitol Outlook program.
Capitol Outlook Blog 2014
The Hill "mystery" continues

The Wyoming House of Representatives Monday allowed a bill that would have continued its battle with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to die without a vote Read more...

The Hill "mystery" continues

March 4, 2014

By Geoff O'Gara, Wyoming PBS

Ah, sweet mystery.

The Wyoming House of Representatives Monday allowed a bill that would have continued its battle with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to die without a vote. On the last day when bills from the Senate could be introduced on the House floor, House leaders reset the order of bills to put a bill setting up a committee and special session to curtail the elected superintendent’s powers at the end of the agenda – and then adjourned without ever considering it.

Various legislators interviewed immediately afterwards said they had no idea why it was done. But it was clear few legislators wanted another round of battle with the current Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cindy Hill. In 2013, the legislature stripped Hill of most of her authority over the state Department of Education.Then the Wyoming Supreme Court declared the legislature had violated the state constitution with the 2013 bill, Senate File 104 (sometimes called "The Hill Bill"), in a split decision that was vague about which provisions of the bill were unlawful.

So legislative leaders in 2014 proposed Senate File 106 (ironically, it could have been another S.F. 104 in the order of introduction), which set up a super-committee to await specifics from the court and propose a constitutionally correct bill limiting the Superintendent. That bill would then have to be considered in a special session of the legislature sometime later this year.

It was a battle of wills. Legislators felt Hill had failed to follow its edicts to improve Wyoming’s public schools. Hill, uncowed by legislators’ criticism, announced she would run this year against incumbent Gov. Matt Mead, who had signed S.F. 104 diminishing her powers.

The issue hung over the legislature like a dark cloud. Expanding Medicaid with federal funds was another. Though proponents of the 2013 bill, including House and Senate leaders, continued to argue that the Superintendent's job description needed a major rewrite, regardless of who was in the post, Speaker Tom Lubnau and Senate President Tony Ross acknowledged it was not a popular change.

Immediately after Monday’s House session, Republican and Democrat legislators said they had no knowledge of why the bill was shifted to the end of the day’s agenda by Republican floor managers, and then, at about 5:30 p.m., allowed to die at adjournment without ever being introduced.

But they were not in mourning either.

"It was going to be a firestorm," said one legislator as he left the Capitol. "We can use another year to think about it."

Another year which could delay further discussion until after an election year. By allowing the bill to die without ever reaching the House floor, there was no recorded vote that could be used by primary or general election opponents to tar an incumbent on the controversial issue of whether the legislature could or should strip an official elected by citizens statewide of most of her powers.

There are fewer lobbyists wandering the halls this week - most of the decisions that matter to their clients are already decided – but those that were still around said the death of S.F. 106 did not mean there would not be revision of the law curtailing the Superintendent’s powers. Legislative leaders or Gov. Matt Mead can still declare a special session. But there will be no “super committee” to draft a court-friendly revision of S. F. 104 before a special session.

In addition, Majority Leader Kermit Brown (R-Laramie) has said that neither a committee or a special legislative session could do productive work on the issue without more exact court direction. While the Wyoming Supreme Court this week rejected an appeal of its decision by the state Attorney General, its rejection of S. F.104 requires that the lesser district court which first heard the challenge to S. F. 104 must now reconsider its decision favoring the legislature and conform to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

But the Wyoming Supreme Court needs to provide more detail regarding what aspects of the legislature’s action are unconstitutional, legislator’s say. And there is no information from the district court about how it will react now that it must reshape its decision to the Supreme Court’s directions, nor is there a timeline.

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Legislators to view giant industrial complex that could be a model for a similar enterprise in Southwest Wyoming

Nine Wyoming legislators are flying Saturday on a state plane to Alberta, Canada, to look at a giant industrial complex that could be a model for a similar enterprise in Southwest Wyoming. Read more...

Legislators to view giant industrial complex that could be a model for a similar enterprise in Southwest Wyoming

February 26, 2014

By Geoffrey O'Gara, Wyoming PBS

CHEYENNE - Nine Wyoming legislators are flying Saturday on a state plane to Alberta, Canada, to look at a giant industrial complex that could be a model for a similar enterprise in Southwest Wyoming. 

Legislative leaders say the group will depart on a two-hour flight early Saturday morning and return late that night. The cost of the state plane runs roughly $1,000/hour, and the  expenses will be covered by the Governor's international trade office account.

Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau (R-Gillette) mentioned the idea of a big new Wyoming industrial complex at a press conference early in the session, but since it involved no major expenditure in this year's biennium budget, the proposal provoked little discussion. However, the so-called "Heartland" complex in Alberta that legislator's will tour suggests a sizable price tag may face Wyoming if a similar project happens here: the Canadian site houses a $40 billion assemblage of industrial facilities, funded by a mixture of government funds, private investment and tax incentives.

The idea in Wyoming, according to Lubnau and Senate President Tony Ross (R-Cheyenne), would be to take advantage of Wyoming's abundant natural resources including natural gas, trona, and water, and create incentives for industries to locate here and transform those raw materials into products including plastics, glass screens, and other goods.

Wyoming's economy, Lubnau said, has changed little from the 1880s, when the state produced raw materials and cattle and shipped them away, often suffering busts when distant markets fluctuated. "This kind of development," said Lubnau, "could change Wyoming from a colonial economy to a value-added economy."

The trip to Alberta is meant to give legislators a view of the kind of industrial complex that could be built in Wyoming. Invited on the trip are Reps. Steve Harshman (R-Casper), Michael Greear (R-Worland), Bob Nicholas (R-Cheyenne), and John Freeman (D-Green River). From the opposite side of the Capitol, Sens. Eli Bebout (R-Riverton), Ogden Driskill (R-Devils Tower), Larry Hicks (R-Baggs), and Jim Anderson (R-Glenrock).

A location in southwest Wyoming is considered likely because the region has available water, state lands, and fuel supplies. Lubnau suggested that lands already mined for coal in the area would provide suitable and inexpensive sites, and the state could offer industries inexpensive energy with a capped price.

Presently, there is no price tag on the still-speculative Wyoming project.  Industrial partners would be expected to pick up a sizable portion of the cost. Discussions with private investors have not been made public. 

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Light bulbs and law enforcement

The tiny committee room on the third floor next to the House gallery was packed knee-to-knee this Tuesday, February 25. Law enforcement stood stolidly between the warring factions glaring at each other from opposite sides of the House Agriculture, State and Public Lands & Water Resources Committee. On the docket was Senate File 42, a bill that would remove a state requirement that only a master electrician or a supervised apprentice could install a light bulb in Wyoming. Read more...

Light bulbs and law enforcement

February 25, 2014

By Geoff O'Gara, Wyoming PBS

The tiny committee room on the third floor next to the House gallery was packed knee-to-knee this Tuesday, February 25. Law enforcement stood stolidly between the warring factions glaring at each other from opposite sides of the House Agriculture, State and Public Lands & Water Resources Committee. On the docket was Senate File 42, a bill that would remove a state requirement that only a master electrician or a supervised apprentice could install a light bulb in Wyoming.

First, life-long criminals testified.

“What do I tell my children?” wept Blaze Metronome, a beautician from Dull Center, Wyoming, “when they watch me led away in handcuffs? It was the lamp they do their homework by – the bulb burned out. I didn’t want to break the law. I couldn’t help myself. Maybe it was just…too easy.”

Chairman Lou Wattige (R-Elbow) shook his head sadly. “That’s how it always starts.” He looked at her over the top of his bifocals, and fingered his Wyoming bronco pin. “Then you do it again. And again. That’s an addiction, Ms. Metrodome.”

Burleigh Shoulderman squeezed in next to the door, his bolo tie barely encircling his ample shirt collar. “You honors,” he began. “I’ve got just three things to say. First, let’s be safe: if you, Ms. Metromoon, wants to install your own conductive incandescence, let me train you to be an apprentice electrician, and I’ll supervise that installation as a master electrician myself, so we don’t have those sweet little kids risk death by exploding light bulb. Second, you legislators, you need to get out of the way of free enterprise and keep this regulation in place – I mean, this is a job killing bill. And third, I’m really dubious that Barack Obama was born in the United States.”

It was then that Forworn Bundleblub, a consultant from Wiltgorse, jumped to his feet. “Mr. Shoulderman,” he shouted. “I’m a working man, up before dawn every day – to run comparison tests on breakfast meats. But the kitchen lamp bulb burned out last week, and the sheriff caught me buying a light bulb at the hardware store and confiscated it as evidence. So this morning, when I put the links down on the counter, I couldn’t find them, and the cat ate them. I'm ruined!”

 “You will address the chair, sir,” intoned the chairman.

Bundleblub turned around to face the chair he’d been sitting in. “It’s crazy that I have to get two electricians to come out to my place so I can turn on the light in my kitchen,” he whined. “This has to change.”

“Changing the law requires we send a bill to the floor,” said the chairman, “then it needs to get a majority of votes in the House and the Senate. This is a budget year, and non-budget bills are frowned upon. But regarding this light bulb thing, I suggest you go out in the lobby and talk to legislators, politely, and see if you can round up enough votes to pass a bill. And, by the way, Obamacare sucks.”

Forworn Bundleblub sighed and looked over at Ms. Merdrome. “Okay,” he said, “we’ll give it a try. Now, can someone tell me: How many legislators does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

For more legislative coverage, visit Wyofile at wyofile.com  and the Wyoming Business Report at the Wyoming PBS website at wyomingbusinessreport.com.

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Too much on the legislative table?

Legislators from Wyoming for a long time had stock answers when asked if the session (four weeks in a budget year; eight weeks in a non-budget year) was too short for all the work they had to do. Read more...

Too much on the legislative table?

February 21. 2014

By Geoff O'Gara, Wyoming PBS

Legislators from Wyoming for a long time had stock answers when asked if the session (four weeks in a budget year; eight weeks in a non-budget year) was too short for all the work they had to do:

*    We’re proud to be a citizen legislature, and we don’t want to make this a full-time, professional job;

*    If we made the session longer we’d just find more things to do, and we want government to do less;

*    I really don’t like Cheyenne.

Well, maybe the legislators didn’t say that last one. Maybe that was a voice inside my own head.

But in 2014, I’m not hearing those stock answers very often. Walking through the breezeway between the Capitol and the Herschler Building last night, working late again, I fell into step with Rep. Fred Emerich (R-Cheyenne), and asked him if there was too much work to get done in four weeks.

“You’re not kidding,” he said grimly. And he doesn’t have to drive 200 miles home on ice.

More and more that’s what you hear, and it’s not surprising. The budget has grown large and labyrinthian. The statutes of Wyoming are many and growing. The issues are increasingly complex: Listen to the debate three years ago over carbon sequestration, or the Medicaid expansion legislation today.

One might be proud of keeping government small, and keeping it a part-time citizen operation, but it’s harder to laud the quality of legislating when half the solons seem not to fully grasp the bills they’re voting on in rapid succession. Too much, too fast.

Various approaches are discussed to bring this under control. Rep. Matt Teeters (R-Lingle) suggested a limit on the number of bills that can be introduced.

I like an idea floated recently in the Republican Caucus by Rep. John Patton (R-Sheridan) an old pro who first served in the House back in the 1960s (and he’s not one of these oldsters who can’t keep up – he’s an active debater, and a nationally known expert on state governance). Patton proposed that one day a week during the session be devoted strictly to committee work. That day would not count towards the constitutionally limited session; it would also give more time for the very important committee work that hones bills before they get to the floor.

So far, no indication that the idea has any traction. But maybe that’s just because legislators are much too tired to think seriously about it.

*   *   *   *

Don’t Miss Capitol Outlook tonight and this weekend, where we talk about education issues, and meet the Director of the Department of Education, Rich Crandall. Crandall’s position may be in danger, because of a split Wyoming Supreme Court decision saying the bill last year that deposed Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill was unconstitutional. That decision is still being litigated, but Crandall’s future in the post may be tenuous indeed.

For more legislative coverage, visit Wyofile at wyofile.com  and the Wyoming Business Report at  the Wyoming PBS website at wyomingbusinessreport.com.

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A battle lies beneath the surface

There is a surface of civility, and a current of silliness, to the Wyoming legislature that sometimes obscures deeper forces shaping the way we govern. Read more...

A battle lies beneath the surface

February 13, 2014

By Geoff O’Gara, Wyoming PBS

There is a surface of civility, and a current of silliness, to the Wyoming legislature that sometimes obscures deeper forces shaping the way we govern. State legislators address each other as “my respected colleague from the state’s largest county” and debate topics like whether to support, as a state, our “great friend” Azerbaijan.

But legislative leaders know that underneath the surface a battle is underway for the political heart of the state – and it is waged, these days, within the Republican Party, since the Democrats no longer have enough votes to matter. The Republican leaders of today’s legislature are moderates – or what passes for moderate in Wyoming, which is fairly conservative on the national scale – but they must manage a team that includes a growing number of activist conservatives who are chafing under the dictates of the leadership.

You can see it in the hullaballoo over Cindy Hill, the Superintendent of Public Instruction whose powers were substantially stripped by the legislature last year. Now the Supreme Court has ruled that the so-called “Hill Bill” (Senate File 104) of 2013 was unconstitutional, and, with Hill announcing a run for Governor next fall, many legislators privately wish the whole thing would just go away. Leadership, though, will keep it alive, with an ongoing investigation and, likely, a special session later this year. And so far none who voted for it – including many conservatives – dares to concede publicly that the whole thing might have been a mistake.

That puts them at odds with the state Republican Central Committee, which asked the legislature to just drop the Hill thing. And some of the newer, more activist, Tea Party-leaning members of the House are feeling the same way. So far, though, any rebellion against the Republican leadership, on this and other issues, simmers just beneath the surface.

One way to gauge how much anger there is in the ranks will be to watch how bills sponsored by “moderate” House Speaker Tom Lubnau (R-Gillette) fare during the session. He has only two. One, which would put any delegates to a national constitutional convention (at this point, a hypothetical convention) firmly under the legislature’s control, has already mustered the 2/3 majority necessary for introduction. His other bill, which may come up today, would allow speed limits on some Wyoming roads to be raised to 80 miles per hour.

A speed limit bill hardly seems a very good marker of conservative rebellion, but it would certainly send a message to the embattled Lubnau if it failed to get the 2/3 vote necessary for introduction.

In the meantime, anyone who doubts the muscle in the Republican Party’s conservative wing should note the popularity of any bills – some close to the “silly” category – that shakes a fist at the federal government, or even Cheyenne’s dictates. For instance – and this one isn’t silly – a bill to reject the national “common core” set of education standards, in favor of more local control over what our children learn, garnered a 47-13 vote for introduction in the House. The bill was not supported by any of the many teaching professionals who serve in the legislature, most of whom yearn for stable standards of some kind; but Rep. Tom Reeder (R-Casper) declared the rejection of “a national standard” as a test of whether “this is truly a Republic.”

Efforts like this are part of a general movement to take control back from – well, from the evil federal government, certainly, but perhaps as well from the folks in Cheyenne who are just a bit too “moderate” in allowing government further away than a few blocks to play a major role in education, health care or other aspects of our lives.

0We’ll see shortly if that discontent extends to raising speed limits, as well.

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Attention-grabbing bills are often "dead man walking"

At the Wyoming legislature, bills that strut into the headlines at the beginning of a legislative session - marijuana decriminalization, a big tax break for Daddy Coal, the use of firing squads to carry out the death penalty - are often dead man walking: they'll be six feet under in the first few days of legislative action. Read more...

Attention-grabbing bills are often "dead man walking"

February 12, 2014

By Geoff O’Gara, Wyoming PBS

At the Wyoming legislature, bills that strut into the headlines at the beginning of a legislative session – marijuana decriminalization, a big tax break for Daddy Coal, the use of firing squads to carry out the death penalty – are often dead man walking: they’ll be six feet under in the first few days of legislative action. Especially in a budget year, when non-budget legislation needs a 2/3 vote in the House or Senate just to get introduced.

Attention-grabbing bills went down by the handfuls in the second day of the 2014 budget session. Rep. Jim Byrd’s (D-Cheyenne) bill lowering the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana to misdemeanor fines got only 15 votes (it needed 40) for introduction – or, as House Speaker Tom Lubnau put it, it went “up in smoke.” Sen. Bruce Burns’ (R-Sheridan) bill to add the firing squad as a backup to lethal injection in capital punishment cases misfired in the Senate. Rep. Eric Barlow (R-Gillette) offered a bill to lower the severance tax on the beleaguered coal industry, but the price tag – about $58 million in lost revenue to a state government fueled by energy taxes – made it unpalatable.

Plenty of bills did get through in the first busy days of the session, but many of the hundreds in the hopper are what might be called “house-cleaning” bills – removing archaic language from jury selection statutes, or making a small change in taxidermy licensing. Those will be introduced, and mostly passed, with little fanfare.

The rush to get bills introduced – Friday is the deadline – means a rapid succession of issues before legislators, and some quick wit. Before a bill to make the chocolate-chip state cookie went down, there was talk about adding raisins. Describing another House bill that had been considered last year but fatally altered by the Senate, Rep. Michael Greear (R-Worland) said it had been “boogered up by the grey-haired hobbits.”

Can we can expect the hobbits in the Senate, sometime during the exhausting session, to refer to representatives in the House as Orcs?

For more legislative coverage, visit Wyofile at wyofile.com  and the Wyoming Business Report at  the Wyoming PBS website at wyomingbusinessreport.com.

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The intense rush of wrestling a $3.6 billion budget and much more

Legislators who love the intense rush of wrestling a $3.6 billion budget and hopper full of bills in a tight four-week session are going to get a bonus this year: a special session to deal again with the question of who runs the Wyoming Department of Education: Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill, or a Governor-appointed director. Read more...

The intense rush of wrestling a $3.6 billion budget and much more

February 11, 2014

By Geoff O'Gara, Wyoming PBS

Legislators who love the intense rush of wrestling a $3.6 billion budget and hopper full of bills in a tight four-week session are going to get a bonus this year: a special session to deal again with the question of who runs the Wyoming Department of Education: Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill, or a Governor-appointed director.

The legislative Management Council met yesterday afternoon to deal with what Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kite called “the elephant in the room”: her court has declared Senate File 104 – the 2013 bill that stripped Hill of most of her management duties at the department – unconstitutional. So the legislative leaders did what politicians often do with an intractable issue that could have an impact in an election year: they decided to study it and make changes later.

That will be in a special session, sometime in 2014, but not likely to follow closely on the heels of the current budget session. House Majority Leader Kermit Brown pointed out that little could be done until the district court which made the original ruling supporting SF 104 followed the Supreme Court’s order to rewrite its decision. “That’s going to be a substantial piece of time,” said Brown.

So the Management Council passed “W7”, a bill that calls for a study of how to comply with the Supreme Court’s wishes, and which would, at least in this draft, give Hill back some of the duties that have been taken away.

Cindy Hill is clearly not going away, and her announced plan to run against Governor Matt Mead adds another bizarre twist to the tussle. She was there with other state dignitaries at his State of the State speech yesterday, and when he finished, and made his way from the podium, shaking hands with judges and elected officials, he skipped one: Hill, who kept an unflinching smile and applauded tepidly.

In the undersized rooms of the Capitol – renovation is one of the legislative priorities of this session – that big elephant is already getting in the way of other business. But no one among the leaders of either party was ready to say that stripping Hill of her powers last year was an over-reach, a mistake. The Supreme Court may have broken the elephant’s chain, but the bipartisan hostility toward Hill and her management of the department remain.

For more legislative coverage, visit Wyofile at wyofile.com  and the Wyoming Business Report at  the Wyoming PBS website at wyomingbusinessreport.com.

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Questions for our Governor

When the Governor of Wyoming sits down for a live, in-depth conversation on Wyoming PBS, as he did last week, with no teleprompter or pre-screened questions or poll-tested answers, the audience is always large and involved. Read more...

Questions for our Governor

By Geoff O'Gara, Wyoming PBS, Feb. 4, 2013

Tuesday’s live address by President Barak Obama got one of the lowest television ratings in State of the Union history, which is perhaps an indication of how tired we are of hearing politicians bloviate. But when the Governor of Wyoming sits down for a live, in-depth conversation on Wyoming PBS, as he did last week, with no teleprompter or pre-screened questions or poll-tested answers, the audience is always large and involved. (You can watch the conversation here).

Every year we invite viewers to tell us what issues they want discussed, and we heard from dozens of you by email even before the gubernatorial conversation began. Once underway there was a tsunami of questions, by phone, by email and by tweet (bird calls?). They were fielded by operators in Fremont County, who then typed them up and faxed them to Cheyenne, where an elf gathered them and ran them in to me, sitting with Gov. Matt Mead by the fireplace in the Governor’s Mansion.

Now, some of you are grumbling: why didn’t you ask my question about barge traffic on the Snake River, or using the National Guard armories for homeless shelters?

If you saw me fumbling with piles of paper across from Gov. Mead, you know why: not enough time, not enough room in my lap as the questions poured in. If I’d asked two questions a minute, I still wouldn’t have gotten them all in during our hour-long talk.

And some of the topics were complex. The hottest one, by far, was about whether Wyoming should take advantage of the Affordable Care Act to expand its Medicaid program to another 17,000 people using federal funds. A lot of viewers expressed distress that Gov. Mead has so far refused the offer. He gave a number of reasons on the air: the fumbling of the ACA website roll-out, a fear that the feds will renig on the promise to pay 90% or more of the Medicaid expansion cost, a desire to craft a Wyoming version of expanded health insurance. (We’ll cover that in the upcoming legislative session on “Capitol Outlook” – but don’t hold your breath, so far no cowboy cure is in the hopper.)

Talking about Medicaid covered a lot of viewer's questions at once – and we did the same in discussions of the upcoming state budget (state employee raises), the nefarious Environmental Protection Agency, and the turmoil at the state Department of Education now that the courts have reinstated Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill.

But there was a lot that ended up in that pile of paper at my feet on the Mansion floor: same sex unions, alcohol abuse, the University of Wyoming’s unsettled administration.

So, how can we do it better? Here are two ideas for next year:

1. have an associate producer sort the questions that come in, highlighting sharp, good ones, something that’s hard for me to do during the interview. (Renny McKay did a fine job as the fetch-it elf during last week’s broadcast, but he’s the Governor’s press secretary, so he can’t make editorial decisions.)

2. have two sections of the 60-minute session where we ask “bullet” questions – quick, simple and specific questions (“why can’t the public know what chemicals are use in fracking?”) that require only short answers (well, maybe not fracking).

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

And now, we turn our attention to “State of the State” and “Capitol Outlook”, coming next to your neighborhood television set on Wyoming PBS. "State of the State" airs live Monday, February 10th at 10 a.m. We'll repeat the governor's address at 7 p.m. the  same evening and will gather together legislative leaders to discuss the governor's vision for Wyoming in 2014 at the end of the rebroadcast. "Capitol Outlook"  provides you with weekly reports from the legislative session and airs Fridays at 7 p.m. (repeating Saturdays at 6 p.m  and Sundays at 10:30 a.m.) through March 7th. And, as always, you can watch us online or with your over-the-top device at wyomingpbs.org/legislature or video.wyomingpbs.org.

For more legislative coverage, visit Wyofile at wyofile.com  and the Wyoming Business Report at  the Wyoming PBS website at wyomingbusinessreport.com.

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View Previous Seasons of Capitol Outlook

Capitol Outlook provides the inside information on how Wyoming government works, as well as insight into the issues of the day. You can view archived Capitol Outlook seasons. Read more...

View Previous Seasons of Capitol Outlook

Capitol Outlook - The Archives

Capitol Outlook provides the inside information on how Wyoming government works, as well as insight into the issues of the day. You can view archived Capitol Outlook seasons here.

For more legislative coverage, visit Wyofile at wyofile.com  and the Wyoming Business Report at  the Wyoming PBS website at wyomingbusinessreport.com.

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Do you have questions for Governor Matt Mead?

If you have questions you'd like to ask Gov. Matt Mead about issues, actions and other matters pertaining to Wyoming, send those questions now to Wyoming PBS, and we'll ask them during our live Governor One-on-One broadcast on January 30. Read more...

Do you have questions for Governor Matt Mead?

Have YOUR questions answered!

If you have questions you'd like to ask Governor Matt Mead about issues, actions and other matters pertaining to Wyoming, send those questions now to Wyoming PBS, and we'll ask them during our live Governor One-on-One broadcast next Thursday, January 30.
 
Every year Wyoming PBS travels to the Governor's Mansion for this intimate and in-depth conversation with the governor. As the program has gained in popularity, the volume of phone calls has risen. So we want to give our members and friends the opportunity to get questions in early. You can email those questions now to host Geoff O'Gara at Geoff@wyomingpbs.org.
 
O'Gara will assemble the topics and address them to the governor, including follow-ups, during the live telecast. 
 
We look forward to hearing from you, and assure you that every effort will be made to get as many of your questions as possible answered on the air. Generally, the question's source will be identified only by first name and geographic location ("Mary, from Rock River, asks..."). If several people ask variations on the same question, we will blend them in order to assure we cover as many topics as possible.
 
For more information about this program and the rest of our legislative coverage for 2014, go to wyomingpbs.org
  
Of course, you can still call in live during the broadcast, at 1-800-495-9788, or tweet your questions using the hashtag #WyomingPBSgov. We hope you'll consider sending in your questions now, and we hope you'll tune in to hear the governor's answers, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. on Wyoming PBS.
 
 
Sincerely,

Geoff O'Gara

Wyoming PBS

You can watch the One-On-One conversation, taped on Thursday, Jan. 30, clicking here.

For more legislative coverage, visit Wyofile at wyofile.com  and the Wyoming Business Report at  the Wyoming PBS website at wyomingbusinessreport.com.

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