News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
The Hill Bill's great accomplishment
Apr 7, 2013 - By Randy Tucker
It has succeeded in uniting both Democrats and Republicans -- in opposition to it.
You might call it a quest. Why else should anyone really care if an elected official in faraway Cheyenne has her powers stripped by another branch of government? In the vernacular of a few people -- a very few -- I've spoken with on the "Hill Bill" (as SF104 has become known), "she had it coming."
Just the kind of narrow-minded, limited intellect we need in a Wyoming voter, and exactly the view that the governor's office and much of the Wyoming Legislature have of the people they purport to represent.
It was revealing to read the comments made by assistant-attorney general Peter K. Michael as he defended the governor in Hill's attempted injunction against SF104.
"80 percent of Wyoming voters don't even remember who they voted for in the last election," Michael said.
Interesting. We're too stupid to remember who we voted for just a few months ago and as such, we don't have the mental acuity to decide who should run the Wyoming public schools.
Thankfully, our omnipotent Legislature will now do that for us.
Maybe I've misread this entire process. Maybe Wyoming's legislature really is on the right track and on the cutting edge of modern politics. If so, we need to export this vast collective knowledge to Washington, D.C. Fiscal cliffs, sequestration, gridlock, bi-partisan bickering -- all these problems would disappear overnight if we could get this road show to the nation's capital.
Left-wing socialists and far right Tea Party members have been united by this issue. Comments made to me by liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are nearly identical. Both sides are incensed by the open disgust the Legislature has shown for the people's voting rights.
To paraphrase the hundreds of comments I've heard, "I don't know Cindy Hill personally, but whether she did a good job or not ,the Legislature has no right to take away my vote."
In that light, let's take this traveling circus to Washington. Put the special interest that really drove this bill through the Wyoming House and Senate in record time on national display and see the Washington gridlock come to an end as both left and right wings junite to throw these people out.
There are all types of leadership, and those who rammed SF104 through the hallowed halls of state government displayed the worst that special interest can muster.
While a few clueless people think it's a great idea to remove, practically speaking, a publicly elected official from office they are in the minority on this issue. Imagine if the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate decided that voters were just too irresponsible to elect a president after Richard Nixon's scandal-ridden administration came to an end in 1974? Just let us handle it from now on. You probably wouldn't even remember who you voted for anyway.
The majority of Wyoming's citizens are outraged by the irresponsible "good ol' boy" process that effectively changed the Wyoming Department of Education into a secret organization, responsible to no one and fiscally driven by outside "experts" paid outrageous salaries to produce nothing but paperwork for your local school district.
Comments by the leader of this group, State Sen. Hank Coe of Park County, are intriguing.
"The public deserves an agency and an educational system that is responsive to its wishes and allows for the continuous improvement of our children and their education," Coe said as he introduced SF104.
None of the proponents of this misguided legislation will speak publicly on it now. Any question directed toward the "Hill Bill" is quickly thwarted to another topic.
In Fremont County, only State Sen. Cale Case of Lander and State Rep. Dave Miller of Riverton voted no on this bill. The other legislators fell in line as they were told.
Here's something you can ask our Fremont County representatives when you see them: "How does taking away a citizen's right to vote create a responsive educational system? Who answers to anyone when the people in power are bureaucratic appointees subject to only a partisan governor?"
District Judge Thomas Campbell didn't want any part of this political football and quickly sent the attempted injunction up the judicial system to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
In another interesting twist, one of Cindy Hill's disgruntled former employees is Mary Kay Hill. Reportedly, she made a comment to Superintendent Hill just two days before resigning from her WDE position to take a more lucrative position with the governor's office.
"They're throwing grenades under your chair, Cindy, and you don't even know it," she said.
Mary Kay Hill is now a key leader in the new education office established by SF104, but that's not really an issue. Someone has to fill that spot. What is the issue is that her husband, Wyoming Justice William Hill, is in a position to determine the constitutionality of a law that creates this position for his wife.
Justice Hill has a long and respected career as a judge; we can only hope he chooses to recuse himself from the legal challenge to SF104 when it arrives in his court.
If you want to make defending your own rights a personal quest you can log onto the following website for suggestions: http://wyomingwatchdogs.com/SF104.html