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Mar 6, 2012 - The Associated Press

Bill would pay for work inspections

CHEYENNE (AP) -- A proposal aimed at increasing workplace safety in Wyoming would pay for five consultants to conduct voluntary inspections.

The consultants wouldn't be able to cite or fine employers if they found any problems.

House Bill 89 won initial backing in the Senate on Monday.

It would also provide $500,000 for matching grants that companies can use to get extra training or safety equipment.

Gov. Matt Mead worked with Rep. Tom Lubnau of Gillette to craft the bill.

The proposal follows the release of a year-long study of Wyoming's grim record as one of the worst states for deadly workplace accidents.

Lawmakers earlier rejected a proposal that would have increased the penalty for safety violations resulting in death to $125,000.

Raises for state retirees targeted

CHEYENNE (AP) -- The House has given initial backing to a bill that would end cost of living increases for public retirees for the foreseeable future.

Senate File 59 advanced Monday after a long debate about whether the move was premature and whether lawmakers were micromanaging the state's retirement system.

The bill, as currently written, would require that a retirement plan reach a funding ratio of 105 percent before cost of living raises could be paid out. The Joint Budget Committee originally recommended that the ratio would have to hit 120 percent for raises to be given.

One report says it could take more than 40 years for the state's largest fund to reach that mark.

Senate File 59 must still pass two more votes in the House.

Ryckman retiring as district judge

GREEN RIVER (AP) -- Wyoming District Court Judge Jere Ryckman has announced he is retiring effective May 21.

Ryckman was appointed to the 3rd Judicial District Court by Gov. Michael J. Sullivan on Sept. 26, 1988. Prior to his appointment to district court, Ryckman served as Sweetwater County attorney from 1979-1983. He was a municipal judge in Green River from 1973-78.

Gov. Matt Mead will appoint the new district court judge from a list of three names submitted to him by the Judicial Nominating Commission.

Applicants must be learned in law, be at least 28 years of age, be a U.S. citizen and have lived in Wyoming the past two years.

New ozone warning around Pinedale

PINEDALE (AP) -- Sunny, warm weather could raise ozone concentrations in Wyoming's Upper Green River Basin.

The state issued the warning Monday but said that there was a chance that winds developing ahead of an approaching storm could lessen the threat.

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