Bill would streamline effort to expand Cody business

Feb 21, 2014 The Associated Press

Some questioned whether it was special legislation designed to benefit a single entity.

CHEYENNE -- A carefully tailored bill aimed at enticing a pharmaceutical company to expand its operations in Cody cleared a Wyoming legislative committee Thursday even as some questioned whether it was special legislation designed to benefit a single entity.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday sent the bill to the full Senate after removing language that would approve a loan of nearly $25 million from the state general fund. The full Senate may consider whether to restore the funding if it considers the bill before a Friday action deadline.

Bill sponsor Sen. Hank Coe, R-Cody, told the committee it's aimed at persuading Philadelphia-based Lannett Company to expand its drug-manufacturing lab in Cody. Coe said expanding the plant promises hundreds of jobs.

As introduced, the bill specified that the funding would be open to first qualified Wyoming local government entity to apply for the money. However, its specified fund requirements were tailored to the Cody project.

"We are ready to jump," Coe said of the Cody project after Thursday's committee hearing. While he said others could apply for the funding, he said, "we'll be in there applying for it immediately for it because we have it all put in place."

A day earlier, the Senate Revenue Committee on Wednesday amended the bill to make it less specific to the Cody project. In an interview Thursday, Coe said he expects the amendments would serve to create a procedure for the Wyoming Business Council to deal with other large projects in the future.

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