Governor signs budget bill; Friday adjournment set

Mar 6, 2014 The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Gov. Matt Mead has signed the $3.3-billion budget bill that will cover state funding for the coming two years.

Mead made only minor line-item vetoes to the bill. House Speaker Tom Lubnau, a Gillette Republican, says he doesn't expect lawmakers will push to override any vetoes.

In a prepared statement, Mead commended lawmakers for their work on the budget, saying the state remains fiscally conservative and well positioned for the future.

The budget bill includes a little less than $80 million for state employee salary increases. Executive branch employees and workers at the University of Wyoming would see raises averaging about 2.4 percent a year. Employees in the state's K-12 school system will see slightly lower raises.

The budget bill also calls for $175 million in payments to local governments.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn Friday.

Other developments at the Wyoming Legislature the 18th day of the 20-day 2014 Budget Session:

GRAND TETON: The Senate failed to concur on House amendments to a bill that would authorize state officials to try to broker a trade with the federal government for two state inholdings in Grand Teton National Park. A conference committee may attempt to resolve differences in the position of the two houses.

DNA TESTING: The Senate failed to concur with House amendments to a bill that would spell out compensation for people who serve time in state prison before they're later exonerated by DNA evidence. A conference committee may try to reach a compromise.

SPECIAL SESSION: The Management Council, a body of senior lawmakers, directed the Joint Education Interim Committee to address the issue of how the Legislature should respond to a recent ruling by the Wyoming Supreme Court concerning the Wyoming Department of Education.

The council directed the committee to draw up bills and make a recommendation by April 30 on whether the Legislature should hold a special session. Lawmakers are grappling with how to respond to the recent court ruling that overturned their action last year removing the state superintendent of public instruction from overseeing the education department.

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