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Supplemental budget legislation getting last-minute tweaks

Feb 8, 2013 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming's supplemental budget bill faces final amendments in both Houses.

The Wyoming House and Senate both have scheduled final reading of the supplemental budget Friday. Differences between their final versions of the bill will be resolved in conference committee later.

The Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee in its budget proposal has disregarded Gov. Matt Mead's suggestion to divert hundreds of millions of dollars away from the state's permanent savings in order to beef up the rainy day account. He says the state may need the money in coming years to fund government operations in the face of projected flat revenues.

Sen. Eli Bebout, a Riverton Republican, and Rep. Steve Harshman, a Republican from Casper, are co-chairman of the appropriations committee. They want more cash in permanent savings to generate interest income.

In other action by the Legislature:

JUVENILE SENTENCES: A bill that would bring the state into compliance with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that outlawed mandatory life sentences for juvenile killers received preliminary approval from the state Senate. The proposal says juveniles convicted of first-degree murder would be eligible for parole after serving 25 years. The bill needs to pass two more votes in the Senate.

UW TRUSTEES: State House of Representatives gave initial approval to proposals that would allow up to two nonresidents on the University of Wyoming governing board. The proposed constitutional amendment and related bill face two more debates on the House floor.

SEARCH AND RESCUE: A bill that would allow people to voluntarily contribute at least $2 to help fund search and rescue efforts in Wyoming cleared its first floor debate in the House. Current law specifies that people can contribute $1 or more when paying for hunting and fishing licenses. The proposed bill would expand the program to those paying for snowmobile and off-road recreational fees. The bill faces two more debates in the House.

EDUCATION BOARD: The House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would require one member of the Wyoming State of Education be a current school district board of trustee. The bill, which has passed the Senate, faces two more votes in the House.

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