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Court slapped 'good ol' boys' on Hill

Feb 11, 2014 - By Randy Tucker

Now they are trying every stalling tactic in the book.

Remember those catchy little cartoons from your childhood that appeared just after you returned home from school? "Schoolhouse Rock" was all the rage and brought children "My Hero Zero," "Conjunction Junction," "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your adverbs here," and my favorite, "I'm just a bill on Capitol Hill."

While the math and grammar jingles are accurate and appropriate, the message in the political science ditty, sadly, is separated from reality in our present state government. Getting even the most mundane information from Cheyenne often is ridiculously difficult, requiring a Freedom of Information petition that is often rejected on the basis of creatively nebulous claims.

Just what are they trying to hide?

Getting a bill passed into a law sometimes seems more of a statement on personal interest and the personal economic benefits to the legislator or his clients these days in the Wyoming Legislature.

You've probably listened to someone rant about the corruption in Obama's Washington or heard some unending diatribe on "Chicago-style politics," but those two cities have nothing on some of out own self-interested political leaders convening in Cheyenne this week.

Ostensibly, the Legislature is there to do the people's bidding, but as George Orwell cleverly noted in his classic Animal Farm, "some are more equal than others."

Some would admire a citizen legislature that mastered the art of politics. Our lawmakers haven't. Many legislators have all the political savvy, intellect and patience of a group of vicious seventh-grade girls.

If you've ever had the displeasure of spending an extended length of time with a gaggle of early teen-age girls, then you know what I mean. They'll destroy a person's reputation over the smallest slight and do it with a smile.

The "good ol' boys" in the Legislature would be very popular with cool girls at the local junior high. Systematically attempting to destroy State Superintendent Cindy Hill's reputation with unfounded accusations, innuendo and inaccuracies fits right in with attacking the new girl in school who has the looks or brains to challenge their little sorority of misery.

Which brings us to the unending delay tactics the good ol' boy supporters of Senate File 104 are now trying.

Gov. Matt Mead is carefully trying to remain above the fray with public statements, placing any continuing action against Hill on the Attorney General. But the AG works for the governor. He's not elected, he's appointed. His work is "at the pleasure of the governor." Maybe an elected AG is a constitutional amendment worth investigating.

The present actions of the AG in delaying the recent Wyoming Supreme Court decision declaring SF104 unconstitutional and sending Hill back to leadership of the Wyoming Department of Education is a case in point.

With most laws attempting to change the effect of a constitution, there is an immediate injunction to stay the action prior to a judicial review, but Judge Thomas Campbell refused and let the unconstitutional law stand for nearly a year until citizens, not elected officials, successfully challenged and reversed it.

When SF104 passed, the governor signed it immediately, and within 36 hours Hill was removed from her office in the Hathaway Building to cramped quarters across the street in a back room of the state archives.

If Wyoming actually lived up to our motto as the "Equality State" you'd expect Hill and her staff to be back in the Hathaway Building just as quickly now that the Wyoming Supreme Court has nullified SF014.

Not so fast, Batman. While the Supreme Court's judgment is clear and not open to interpretation by the governor or the Legislature, suddenly the AG has to "review" the decision.

Where is that written in the constitution? It's evident the AG was wrong from the start when he ruled the bill constitutionally sound. Now the governor is going back to him for more opinions on the law?

While the AG hasn't presented any "interpretations" of the Supreme Court's overthrow of SF104, he has asked the court to "rehear" the case. To rehear the case is a euphemism for "you got it wrong, and you need to fix it -- quick."

Rehearings are rare in Wyoming. They take time, another stall. The only ones that anyone can remember involve death sentence judgments in concurrence with a capital crime.

There doesn't seem to be a death sentence on the table with SF104 but it could be construed that way if you think of the political suicide that the governor and the "good ol' boys" are committing in his vain quest to remove the rights of the people from determining their child's education.

Whether you support Hill personally doesn't really matter. You should support your right to vote. The governor and the "good ol' boys" tried to take that from you.

They had their hands slapped by the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Soon it will be time for the voters to kick a little lower in the primary.

Don't forget what they tried to do to you. Reward that behavior with a vote for their opponents.

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Editor's note: Staff writer Randy Tucker is a retired educator.