News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Court says quit wasting time on Cindy Hill
Mar 7, 2014 - Margaret Tueller, Afton
I can't let the latest development in the SF104 saga pass by without comment. I feel like shouting "Hurrah for 'We the People.' Hurrah for the ordinary, everyday, citizens of Wyoming."
Last year when we heard about the shenanigans in Cheyenne, something didn't feel right. "How could they gut the powers of an elected office and give those powers to an appointed official? Our vote has been taken away from us."
Then on Jan. 28, the Supreme Court ruled the law resulting from SF104 was unconstitutional. The highest court in the state had agreed with the Wyoming cowboy sense of right and wrong.
Our celebration didn't last long. Gov. Mead immediately asked the court to grant a rehearing and reconsideration of its decision. On Feb. 28, the State Supreme Court denied the rehearing.
Sometimes we think we're not smart enough to understand all the legalese tossed around in Cheyenne and Washington, but I think this SF104 thing teaches us that when something doesn't feel right, we can be pretty sure it isn't.
I'll bet you can understand what the Supreme Court said in its Order Denying Petition for Rehearing. First it said jurisdiction of this matter should not remain with the Supreme Court for further action because "such an approach would only result in further delay and continuation of the status quo, which is unconstitutional. It would also have the practical effect of 'running out the clock' until the current Superintendent's term of office expires. The unconstitutional statutory scheme has now been in place for a year. Efforts should be made to achieve constitutional compliance as quickly as possible."
In other words, your law is unconstitutional. Get things back in constitutional order.
Second, in reply to the concern that "this court decision has created 'difficulties and disruption ... for the state educational system'," the court answered, "Inexplicably, the dissent ignores or fails to recognize that there have also been 'difficulties' and 'disruption' in the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction since this legislation became effective over a year ago. We hope and trust that all involved will act in a timely manner that will minimize those disruptions and difficulties for all concerned."
In other words, we're not the ones who created the problem. This unconstitutional law has created the problem. Fix it.
Let's urge our officials in Cheyenne to do what "We the People of Wyoming" felt was the only right thing all along--reinstate the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to its pre-SF104 duties and powers. Then, if they think changes need to be made to the constitutional mandate, do it by amending the Wyoming Constitution. At least the, they will have to ask you and me for our vote to support their scheme. Hopefully, before they can ask for my vote, I will have exercised it to "impeach" them at the ballot box.