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Feb 15, 2013 - The Associated Press

Courtroom gun ban passes 28-2

CHEYENNE -- The state Senate passed a bill that would ban deadly weapons in Wyoming courtrooms.

House Bill 216 was approved on a 28-2 vote. The bill goes back to the House for consideration of changes made to the bill by the Senate.

The proposal makes having deadly weapons in courtrooms a misdemeanor on first offense. A second offense within five years would be a felony.

The presiding judge in the courtroom would be allowed to grant exceptions.

The ban would not apply to jury rooms or other parts of the courthouse.

Enzi would back budget amendment

CHEYENNE -- Sen. Mike Enzi is supporting the idea of a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced U.S. budget.

The Wyoming Republican is co-sponsoring a bill that would make a balanced budget a constitutional requirement.

Enzi says it's the only solution to solving the nation's fiscal mess.

The Balanced Budget Amendment would restrict Congress from spending more than federal revenue in any fiscal year and would limit spending to 18 percent of the gross national product.

Congress could only increase the debt, raise taxes or run a deficit if two-thirds of both the U.S. Senate and House vote in favor.

During times of war there will be allowances of specific excess as per defined processes.

Any proposed constitutional amendment would be subject to ratification by the states.

School officer bill passes committee

CHEYENNE -- The Senate Education Committee has endorsed a bill that would seek to improve safety in Wyoming's public schools.

House Bill 230 was approved unanimously Friday by the panel. The bill likely will go next the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The bill comes after the massacre of children in a Connecticut school late last year.

The proposal makes $2.3 million available to help school districts put police officers in schools during the next school year. It also creates a governor-appointed task force to develop school safety and security plans that districts could use.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Nathan Winters, of Thermopolis, says some districts can't afford to pay for so-called school resource officers.

Supporters say school resource officers are a valuable tool in stopping and preventing crime and violence in schools.

Co-op cited for pipeline emissions

JACKSON -- State regulators say the pipeline that provides natural gas to Jackson is emitting too much gas into the atmosphere in Sublette County.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality issued a violation notice to Lower Valley Energy because of the emissions last month. The department and the electrical cooperative, which serves parts of western Wyoming and eastern Idaho, are currently in negotiations over a penalty.

The problem was found at a gas compression station in Sublette County, which sometimes has ozone-based air pollution that rivals that found in Los Angeles. DEQ says the co-op is routing vapors through a boiler instead of an emission control device.

The boiler hasn't been fixed yet. Lower Valley wants to wait for warmer weather to do the construction work.

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