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Governor Matt Mead’s State of the State Address


GOOD MORNING. IN THE PUBLIC
AFFAIRS PROVE — PROVIDER. JOINING LIVE IN THE STUDIO IS
VETERAN NEWSCASTER BOB BACK. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.
BOB, THIS IS THE GOVERNOR’S SEVENTH STATE OF THE STATE
ADDRESS, HIS THIRD OF HIS SECOND TERM AND IS SECOND THAT HE WILL
DELIVER TODAY IN THE BUSINESS CENTER, WHICH
HAS BECOME THE TEMPORARY CAPITAL FOR THE LEGISLATURE. THERE IS
LOTS I THINK HE WILL HAVE ON HIS MIND.
>>THERE CERTAINLY WILL BE. THE BUDGET IS GOING TO BE A GOOD
THING — BIG THING. THE GOVERNOR SPENT THE ENTIRE SUMMER CUTTING
THE BUDGET. HE IS GOING TO TELL THE
LEGISLATURE TODAY HE WOULD LIKE THEM NOT TO CUT IT ANY FURTHER
AND THEN WE HAVE EDUCATION. >>I THINK I SEE THE SENATE
PRESIDENT ABOUT TO DO THE INTRODUCTIONS.
>>FIRST LADY OF WYOMING, CAROL MEAD TO THE SESSION. THE BODY WILL
STAND AT EASE UNTIL THE SOUND OF THE GAVEL. GO GET THEM.>>THIS PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED IN
PART BY A GRANT FROM THE BNSF RAILWAY FOUNDATION. DEDICATED TO
IMPROVING THE GENERAL WELFARE AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN
COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE BNSF RAILWAY SERVICE AREA. PROUD TO
SUPPORT WYOMING PBS.>>WE ARE IN THE STUDIO WHILE
THE SUN PRESENT — SENATE PRESIDENT IS GETTING READY TO
HAVE THE INTRODUCTIONS FOR THE GOVERNORS SEVEN STATE OF THE
STATE OF DRESS. WE WERE TALKING BUT THE FUNDING GAP FOR
EDUCATION. IT IS A SIGNIFICANT ONE. THERE WAS A WHITE PAPER
PRODUCED IN DECEMBER BUT I THINK THE GOVERNOR HAS USED THE WORD
CRISIS TO DESCRIBE THIS FUNDING HOLD FOR K-12 EDUCATION.
>>>>THERE IS A CRISIS.
>>THIS JOINT SESSION WILL COME TO ORDER.
>>THE GOT TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO PAY FOR IT WHILE TRIMMING AS
WELL. >> I THINK WE’VE HAD AN
OPPORTUNITY — >>MR. PRESIDENT AND MR.
SPEAKER, IT IS MY PLEASURE TO ANNOUNCE THE HONORABLE NANCY
FRIEDEN FALL, CHIEF JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE DISTRICT OF WYOMING ESCORTED BY SENATOR AND MAGUIRE. THE HONORABLE WILLIAM HILL,
JUSTICE OF THE WYOMING SUPREME COURT ESCORTED BY SENATOR CASE AND REPRESENTATIVE
COURT AND NICHOLAS.>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>THE HONORABLE MICHAEL DAVIS,
JUSTICE OF THE WHAMMY SUPREME COURT ESCORTED BY SENATOR
BERNARD AND REPRESENTATIVES PAXTON AND STEINMETZ.>>BOB, INTRODUCTIONS NOW OF THE
SUPREME COURT JUSTICES ARE OCCURRING. WE WILL LET OUR
VIEWERS WATCH AND LISTEN.>>THE HONORABLE KATE FOX,
JUSTICE OF THE WYOMING SUPREME COURT ESCORTED BY SENATOR LANDON
AND REPRESENTATIVES MADMAN CONNELLY.
>>WE WERE TALKING ABOUT EDUCATION BEFORE AND THEY HAVE
ALMOST BEEN BOOED WHEN THE COME ON THEY SUPREME COURT STAGE.
THEY’VE MADE INTERESTING DECISIONS.
>>WE HAVE A LOT TO TALK ABOUT RELATIVE TO REVENUE AND THE
HOUSE REVENUE.>>THE HONORABLE KEITH COUTTS, IMPLEMENT OF THE SUPREME COURT
ESCORTED BY SENATOR BURNS AND REPRESENTATIVES SALAZAR AND MAKE
HIM.>>OBVIOUSLY REVENUE IS GOING TO
BE A BIG DISCUSSION TALKING ABOUT EDUCATION AND BUDGET
ISSUES. WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE GOING TO
PASS IT. I WOULDN’T COUNT ON IT. THE IDEA IS THE EDUCATION HAS
CONFRONTED FOR THE BIENNIUM AND THEY WILL TAKE A SERIOUS LOOK AT
NEED FOR ADDITIONAL REVENUES.>>STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF
PUBLIC INSTRUCTION ESCORTED BY SENATOR CO-AND REPRESENTATIVES
— COE AND REPRESENTATIVE NORDSTROM.
>> HER SUGGESTION IS NOT TO GO
QUITE SO FAST ON CUTS AND CHANGES ESCORTED BY SENATOR COE OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE.
>>THEY WILL HAVE A LOT OF DISCUSSION. SHE DOES WANT
REVENUES.>>THE HONORABLE PART WORDEN
STATE TREASURER ESCORTED BY SENATOR MEYER AND
REPRESENTATIVES CLAWSON AND LLOYD LARSON.
>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>THE TREASURE HAS BEEN BUSY. THEY POSTED A FOREMAN JACKSON
WHICH WE WERE ABLE TO ATTEND AND THERE IS A LOT OF THOUGHT AND
HOW WYOMING WILL NEED TO MANAGE ITS LONG-TERM WEALTH IN THE
FUTURE. >>AND HAVING A CONSTITUTIONAL —
>>THE HONORABLE CYNTHIA ESCORTED BY REPRESENTATIVES
FRONT AND BIRD.>>BACK ON THE ISSUE WITH THAT
ISSUE, AS THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
THAT WILL BE ONE OF THE BILLS IT WILL BRING UP THIS YEAR. NOT
EVERYBODY IS GOING TO WORK WITHOUT LANGUAGE BUT IT SHOULD
HELP IF YOU CAN INVEST SOME OF THOSE DOLLARS.
>>THIS IS THE ONLY CPA TO EVER HOLD THE POSITION OF STATE
MONITOR. >>SECRETARY OF STATE ESCORTED
BY REPRESENTATIVES CRAIG AND GLOOM.
>>HAD A CHANCE TO TALK WITH ED MURRAY. IS THAT GUY ALWAYS SO
FIRED UP? HE IS NOT DOWN — NOT ON THE DUMPS OFTEN.
>>I THINK YOU GET THE SAME IDEA ON SOCIAL MEDIA. IS ALWAYS
EXCITED ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING.>>BOTTLE THAT ENERGY.
>>HE WILL BE THE LAST OF THE ELECTIVES TO BE INTRODUCED PRIOR
TO THE CHIEF JUSTICE.>>CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME
COURT OF WYOMING ESCORTED BY SENATOR CHRISTIANSEN AND
REPRESENTATIVES CAREER AND WIGHTMAN.>>THE CHIEF JUSTICE WILL
DELIVER THE STATE OF THE JUDICIARY ADDRESS JUST FOLLOWING
THE GOVERNOR’S STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS. SENATOR
CHRISTIANSEN WAS UNSUCCESSFUL IN HIS BID TO RUN FOR THE U.S. HOUSE
EARLIER THIS YEAR. >>AND BEAU BIDEN WHO WAS
SUCCESSFUL MOCKING OF THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE.
>>ROSIE BERGER. >>YEP. BOB, JUST PRIOR TO THE
INTRODUCTION OF THE GOVERNOR, I THINK IT’S SAFE TO SAY THIS IS
THE MOST ANTICIPATED STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS HE HAS EVER
GIVEN. >>IT COULD BE. THIS WILL BE
INTERESTING. I THOUGHT LAST YEAR WAS EXCITING WITH ALL THE THINGS HE HAD TO DEAL WITH.
>>FIRST LADY CAROL MEAD AND HIS EXCELLENCY, MATTHEW H NEED —
MEAD ESCORTED BY PERKINS, MILLER AND BURKART.
>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>WE’RE GOING TO MEET A VERY
POPULAR GOVERNOR HERE IN WYOMING. HE AND HIS WIFE CAROL, OUR PARTIAL EMPTY-NESTERS. YOUR
DAUGHTER IS STUDYING HER FIRST SEMESTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
WYOMING TO STAY WITH THE FIRST FAMILY. HER SON — THEIR SON IS
A JUNIOR HERE IN CHEYENNE. A TRACK ATHLETE. FASTER THAN
THE GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR TELLS ME. HE TELLS ME HE WAS A PRETTY
GOOD FOOTBALL PLAYER. >>HE WAS. I HEARD REPORTS THAT
HE WAS. NOW I’M STARTING TO FEEL OLD.
>> I THINK THERE IS EVERYTHING’S GOVERNOR MEAD
MENTIONED. HE MIGHT TALK ABOUT ONGOING INITIATIVES —
INITIATIVES TO DIVERSIFY WYOMING’S ECONOMY. CERTAINLY
WATER IS IMPORTANT. MIGHT GET SOME
PLAY IN THE SPEECH TODAY.>>HIS EFFORTS TO DIVERSIFY THE
ECONOMY, THAT’S GOING TO BE A GOOD DISCUSSION AND THAT SHOULD
BE A VERY BIG ONE IN WYOMING. HE IS GOING TO BE HELPING IN THAT
EFFORT AS WELL. WE TALKED ABOUT IT FOR YEARS THAT IT’S TIME TO
MOVE SOMETHING FORWARD.>>I SENSE SOME SERIOUS THOUGHT
NOW AND THE GOVERNOR BELIEVES THIS IS NOT JUST A TWO OR THREE
YOUR PLAN BUT A 20 YEAR EFFORT TO DIVERSIFY WYOMING’S ECONOMY
AND MAYBE INCLUDE MORE OUTDOOR RECREATION, MORE TOURS IN, AND
CERTAINLY ALLOW MAYBE FUTURE ALTERATIONS IN THE WYOMING TAX
STRUCTURE PROTECT BUSINESSES. >>I WOULD LIKE TO INVITE FATHER
COMPETENT TO GIVE THE INVOCATION. WILL ALL OF YOU
STAND FOR THIS INDICATION?>>LET US PRAY. LORD GOD CRATER WALL THAT IS
COMING YOU MADE HUMANITY IN YOUR IMAGE AND LIKENESS AND GAVE US
DOMINION OVER ALL YOU HAVE MAINE. WE GIVE OUR CONSENT THAT
SOME OF THEIR DOMINION THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN A SISTER EXERCISED
OVER US. BY THE MEN AND WOMEN REELECTED AND CHOOSE TO
GOVERNOR’S. BE WITH THEREFORE OUR SENATORS, OUR
REPRESENTATIVES, OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, THE MEMBERS OF THE
JUDICIARY, AND THE PERSONNEL WHO ASSIST THEM. SO THAT THEY MAY
BE GOOD STEWARDS OF WHAT WE AND YOU HAVE ENTRUSTED TO THEM. THIS
64th WYOMING LEGISLATURE IN ITS GENERAL SESSION FACES MANY
DAUNTING CHALLENGES AS THEY ADDRESS THE FINANCIAL,
EDUCATIONAL, AND OTHER NEEDS OF OUR GREAT STATE. GIVE THESE MEN
AND WOMEN WISDOM AND PRUDENCE. INSIGHT. AND CREATIVITY. PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY FACE
HARD DECISIONS DURING THIS SESSION. HELP THEM TO WORK
TOGETHER FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS GREAT STATE
OF WYOMING. AND LET THEM HAVE A SPECIAL CONCERN FOR THE POOR AND
THE MOST DISADVANTAGED IN OUR LAND. AS WE NOW LISTEN TO
GOVERNOR MEAD SHARE WITH US THE STATE OF THE STATE. CHIEF
JUSTICE BURKE, SHARE WITH US THE JUDICIARY. LET’S PONDER THE
CHALLENGES AND THE OPPORTUNITIES BEFORE US. SO THAT
WITH YOUR DIVINE GRACE AND ASSISTANCE, WE MAY TOGETHER
FULFILL THE RESPONSIBILITIES TO GOVERN WELL. WE ASK THIS IN YOUR HOLY NAME,
AMEN.>>PLEASE BE SEATED.>>MEMBERS OF THE 64th
LEGISLATURE — >>THIS IS THE LEGISLATURE IN
CHEYENNE, THE TEMPORARY HOME PRIOR TO THE GOVERNOR’S ADDRESS. HIS SEVENTH STATE OF THE STATE
ADDRESS. >>THE GOVERNOR OF THE GREAT
STATE OF WYOMING, MATT MEAD. >>I WOULD GO. IT’S A 40 DAY
SESSION. THE WYOMING LEGISLATURE
ALTERNATES EVERY OTHER YEAR WITH A 40 DAY GENERAL SESSION AT A
20 DAY BUDGET SESSION. SOMETIMES IT SEEMS LONGER THAN THAT BY
QUITE A BIT. >>HERE IS GOVERNOR MEAD. >>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. CAN’T
GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT. HAPPY NEW YEAR.>>IT’S ON.
>> IF THIS WAS PLANNED, I’VE GOT A
PROBLEM. IS IT ON? >>YES.
>> THE GOVERNOR IS LOSING HIS
MIND. >>CAN YOU HEAR ME?
>>GOVERNOR, HERE IS MINE.>>I DON’T KNOW HOW I’M GOING TO
DO THAT. >>TRY IT NOW.>>BUDGET CUTS. TRY IT.
>>NOW IT’S WORKING.>>HAVE YOU EVER SEEN AN AUDIO
PROBLEM LIKE THIS FOR THE GOVERNOR’S STATE OF THE STATE?
>>I NEVER HAVE.>>[ APPLAUSE ]>> IT APPEARS THE AUDIO
PROBLEMS ARE NOW FIXED. >>MR. PRESIDENT, MR. SPEAKERS,
MEMBERS OF THE 64th LEGISLATURE, SUPERINTENDENT BELOW, CHIEF
JUSTICE EIGHT. MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY,
MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY VETERANS, CITIZENS OF WYOMING, KERA, MARY, PETE, GLAD TO HAVE
YOU HERE IS ALWAYS. AS YOU PROBABLY NOTICED WALKING IN, I
AM QUICKLY BECOMING THE SHORTEST MEMBER OF MY FAMILY AND THERE
IS NOTHING TO BE DONE ABOUT IT. I’M ALWAYS PROUD TO HAVE MY
FAMILY HERE. GOOD MORNING TO ALL OF YOU. I AM PRIVILEGED TO GIVE MY
SEVENTH STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS TO A JOINT SESSION OF
THIS NEW LEGISLATURE. THERE ARE NEW LEADERS AND NEW FACES. THERE
IS A NEW ENERGY THAT COMES WITH ADDING NEW PEOPLE TO THE MIX.
TWO FIRST TIME LEGISLATORS WELCOME. YOU HAVE JOINED A
DISTINGUISHED GROUP. TO RETURNING LEGISLATORS, WELCOME
BACK. AS ALWAYS, I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THIS BODY ON THE
IMPORTANT WORK AHEAD. ON THE STATE OF THE STATE, I AM
PLEASED TO REPORT THAT THOUGH WE FACE CHALLENGING TIMES, WYOMING REMAINS STRONG. OUR
STATE HAS PREPARED WELL FOR TERMS OF LOWER REVENUE AND OUR
CITIZENS CONTINUE TO GREAT THINGS CONTRIBUTE TO WYOMING’S
STRENGTH AND SUCCESS. PREPARATION FOR LEANER TIMES
HAS TWO HALLMARKS, CONSERVATIVE BUDGETING, AND SAVINGS. PAST AND
PRESENT LEADERS HAVE WISELY TO BOTH. REGARDING SAVINGS, THE
STATE HAS $1.59 BILLION IN THE RAINY DAY FUND AND NEARLY $7.4
BILLION IN THE MIDDLE TRUST FUND. THESE
FUNDS HAVE GROWN SUBSTANTIALLY DURING MY TIME IN OFFICE. THE
RAINY DAY FUND OF COURSE IS NAMED FOR MANY — FOR RAINY DAYS
LIKE THIS WITHIN EXPERIENCING THESE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. IT’S
RAINING. THIS FUND HAS ALLOWED US TO GET THROUGH A ROUGH
REVENUE PATCH AND CAN DO SO IN THE FUTURE. LAST SESSION, OUR SPENDING FROM
THE RAINY DAY FUND HELPS ME THAT THE BUDGET AND PROVIDE
NECESSARY SERVICES. QUESTIONS HOWEVER REMAIN ABOUT THE RAINY
DAY FUND AND ITS USE CONTINUE TO EXISTS. I CONTINUE TO BELIEVE
THAT WE NEED ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES ON THE USE OF THIS
FUND THAT WOULD SET PARAMETERS AND PROVIDE OUR CITIZENS AND
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS A BETTER OPPORTUNITY TO REFINE THEIR
BUDGETS BY KNOWING WHAT THE RAINY DAY
FUND IS FOR AND WHEN IT WILL BE USED. CERTAINLY, WE KNOW THAT THE COST OF USE OF SOME FUNDS
ALLOW US TO FILL THE REVENUE GAP IN TOUGH FINANCIAL TIMES. FOR
EXAMPLE, THE 17-18 BIENNIUM, THIS BODY TAP $220 MILLION FOR
USE, LEAVING THE FUND HEALTHY. THIS WAS IMPORTANT TO DO BECAUSE
IT HAS CONTINUED TO MAKE WYOMING STRONG. BECAUSE WE SEE DESPITE THE
ENERGY BEST, WHICH HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR ABOUT THREE YEARS
NOW, WYOMING HAS KEPT HIGH NATIONAL RANKINGS. THESE ARE
INDICATIVE OF OUR STATE’S STRENGTH. FOR EXAMPLE, WYOMING
HAS MAINTAINED A TRIPLE-A CREDIT RATING. AND 2016, WYOMING WAS
RANKED THE BEST STATE TO START A BUSINESS. THE BEST STATE TO
MAKE A LIVING. AND THE BEST STATE TO RETIRE. THAT’S IN 2016,
THE DIFFICULT YEAR WE JUST WENT THROUGH. WYOMING HAS THE MOST BUSINESS
FRIENDLY TAX CLIMATE.>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>IN 2016, WYOMING IS RANKED
FIRST IN MOUNTAIN REGION FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND WAS
ALSO RATED THIRD FOR NEW BUSINESSES STARTUP ACTIVITY AND
SIX BEST STATE FOR BUSINESS. SO DESPITE BEING THE MOST
DIFFICULT BUDGET YEAR IN MY TIME IN OFFICE, WYOMING STATE
PROACTIVE AND FORWARD-LOOKING. WITH A CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION
PROJECT, WITH THE IMPORTANT WORK OF RENOVATING AND MONETIZING
OUR STATE FACILITIES LIKE THE WYOMING STATE HOSPITAL, THE
WYOMING LIFE RESOURCE CENTER, AND THE WYOMING VETERANS HOME.
WE HAD GROUNDBREAKING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING FOR THE
MIKE MURRAY HIGH-ALTITUDE PERFORMANCE CENTER AND THE NET
— THE ENGINEERING RESEARCH BUILDING LAST FALL AND
GROUNDBREAKING INTEGRATED TEST OUR LAST SPRING. AT THE
UNIVERSITY WHILE I AM, IN ADDITION TO NEW FACILITIES, WE
OPENED THE STEM FACILITY IN MARCH 2016 AND THE RESEARCH
FACILITY IS OPENING SOON. WE HAVE HAD INCREDIBLE
OPPORTUNITIES WITH WEALTH CREATED BY OUR MANY BUSINESSES
AND GREAT CITIZENS. WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR SO MANY
PARTNERSHIPS. WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE
PARTNERSHIPS WE HAVE WITH EASTERN SHOSHONE AND NORTHERN
ARAPAHOE TRIBES. WE ARE PARTNERS AND FRIENDS TO EACH OTHER AND I
LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUED GOOD RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE TRIBES.
SERGIO MODOLO, LIAISON FOR THE ARAPAHOE TRIBE,
IS HERE TODAY. SHAKESPEARE HAS ALSO ARRIVED UNTIL A NEW PERSON
IS CHOSEN. WE APPRECIATE THE WORK OF THOSE LIAISONS WHO
STRENGTHEN TIES AND IMPROVE EDUCATION. IF ALL THE TRIBAL
MEMBERS THAT ARE HERE AND THE LIAISONS WOULD PLEASE STAND, WE
WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME YOU TO THE STATE OF THE STATE.
>>[ APPLAUSE ] NONE OF THE PROSPERITY WE HAVE
ENJOYED WOULD BE FULLY REALIZED WITHOUT THE SAFETY AND SECURITY
PROVIDED BY OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FIRST RESPONDERS. WE SEE
NATIONALLY SOMETIMES LAW ENFORCEMENT GETTING PAINTED WITH
A BROAD BRUSH. AND THEY ARE OFTEN VILIFIED. IN
WYOMING, WE CONTINUE TO BE EXTREMELY PROUD OF OUR LAW
ENFORCEMENT AND FIRST RESPONDERS. IT’S TIME WYOMING AS
WE CONTINUALLY DO, ONCE AGAIN THANK LAW ENFORCEMENT FIRST
RESPONDERS FOR THE INCREDIBLE WORK THEY DO. WE KNOW FIRSTHAND AND WE WOULD
NOT HAVE A WYOMING QUALITY LIFE WITHOUT THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO
SERVE IN THE GUARD. OUR GUARD HELPS FIGHT THE GLOBAL WAR ON
TERRORISM AND ASSIST HERE AT HOME WITH FIREFIGHTING, FLOOD
CONTROL, AND STORM DAMAGE. LAST YEAR, OUR GUARD PERFORMED AERONAUTICAL EVACUATION
MISSIONS IN AFGHANISTAN, HELPED FIGHT WILDFIRES IN IDAHO, FILLED
SANDBAGS IN SARATOGA AND HUDSON, HELPED PREVENT A
WILDFIRE IN THE BIG HORN MOUNTAINS FROM BECOMING A MUCH
LARGER WILDFIRE. THAT’S JUST A FEW OF THE THINGS THE GUARD DID
IN ONE YEAR. GOVERNOR LUKE LEHNER IS HERE REPRESENTING THE
GUARD. WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR SERVICE AND THE SERVICE OF ALL
CARDMEMBERS. PLEASE STAND SO YOU MAY BE RECOGNIZED.
>>[ APPLAUSE ] IT’S GREAT TO HAVE YOU HERE AND
YOU LOOK VERY SHARP IN THAT UNIFORM. AS WE CELEBRATE OUR
GUARD, WE REMAIN GRATEFUL FOR ALL MILITARY MEMBERS. OUR VETERANS AND THOSE WHO
SERVE OUR VETERANS. I HAVE ASKED FOR TWO DISTINGUISHED VETERANS
TO BE HERE. REALITY IS THE VICE CHAIRMAN OF
THE WYOMING VETERANS COMMISSION AND LARRY IS THE DIRECTOR. BOTH
UNFORTUNATELY HAVE INDICATED THEY ARE GOING TO BE RETIRING
EARLY IN 2017. LEE IS A WYOMING NATIVE AND
GRADUATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING. IN 1967, HE WENT TO VIETNAM AS AN ARMY
LIEUTENANT AND SERVED AS A RECONNAISSANCE PLATOON LEADER
FOR AN INFANTRY BATTALION. HIS LIST OF MILITARY DECORATIONS
INCLUDE THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS, THE SOLDIERS NOW.
THE SILVER STAR. THE BRONZE STAR. TWO AIR MEDALS. TWO PURPLE
HEARTS. AND THE VIETNAMESE CROSS OF GALLANTRY. HE WAS
NOMINATED FOR OUR NATION’S HIGHEST AWARD THE MEDAL OF
HONOR. UPON HIS RETURN FROM VIETNAM, LEE WAS HELD AS WYOMING’S AUDIE
MURPHY, ALLUDING TO THE HIGHLY DECORATED WORLD WAR II VETERAN.
LEE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING RESHAPE THE WYOMING VETERANS
COMMISSION SO THAT IT SERVES ALL GENERATIONS OF OUR VETERANS.’S
LEADERSHIP IN SHOULD THE COMMISSION’S WORK IS
PROFESSIONAL AND RELEVANT. HE PREVIOUSLY SERVED AS CHAIRMAN OF
THE COMMISSION AND SERVED 10 YEARS IN ALL. WE’S BOOK, A QUEST
OF LIFE AFTER DEATH, HAS BEEN USED BY COUNTLESS VETS AND THEIR
FAMILIES TO BETTER UNDERSTAND HOW TO ADJUST TO LIFE AFTER
SERVING IN COMBAT. COLONEL BARTEL TOOK THE OATH OF AN ROTC
SCHOLARSHIP DID IT AND HIS MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
SERVICE SPANNED MORE THAN 40 YEARS. HE SERVED ON ACTIVE DUTY
WITH THE FOURTH INFANTRY DIVISION FOR FIVE YEARS. HE WAS
SELECTED FOR ACTIVE GUARD & RESERVE FOR THE WYOMING ARMY
GUARD IN 1985 AND RETIRED IN 2000. HE WAS RECALLED TO ACTIVE
DUTY IN 2000, SERVING AS THE WYOMING ARMY GUARD CHIEF OF
STAFF AND WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR AIRPORT AUGMENTATION, FOLLOWING
THE 9/11 ATTACKS. HE RETIRED FROM THE ARMY IN 2004, BECAME
DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS COMMISSION IN 2007, AND SINCE
THEN HAS WORKED TIRELESSLY TO IMPROVE BENEFITS, SERVICES, AND
PROGRAMS FOR WYOMING VETERANS. IN MY BUDGET MESSAGE, I
DISCUSSED ONE BENEFIT. THE VETERANS TUITION WAIVER,
WHICH SUFFERED FROM LAST YEAR’S SESSION CUTS. TO ADDRESS THE
ISSUE IN THE INTERIM, I MOVED MONEY TO FIX THE PROGRAM BUT IT
IS A SHORT-TERM FIX. I FAVOR A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO THOSE
WHO JOINED THE GUARD IN THE PROMISE OF TUITION ASSISTANCE
WAS IN PLACE. I ALSO FAVOR SOME FORM OF SUPPORT FOR RECRUITS. I
HOPE YOU WILL FAVORABLY CONSIDER THESE MATTERS. WE, AND I MEAN
OUR STATE, HAVE NEARLY 50,000 THAT’S AND ALL THOSE WHO WORK
WITH THE COMMISSION INCLUDING ME WILL MISS LARRY AMBER LEE. OUR
COMMUNITY AND STATE ARE BETTER PLACES BECAUSE OF MEN LIKE LARRY
AMBER LEE WHO STEP UP AND KEEP SERVING IN A CIVILIAN CAPACITY.
WITH THE OUTSTANDING WORK OF THIS LEGISLATURE, WYOMING IS
RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE VERY BEST STATES FOR VETERANS TO
RETIRE IN. WE COULDN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR ALL THE SERVICE YOU
PROVIDED TO STATE AND COUNTRY. PLEASE STAND SO WE CAN RECOGNIZE
BOTH OF YOU. THANK YOU.>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>HERE IN WYOMING, WE ARE
ENRICHED BY OUR GREAT AGRICULTURE, TOURISM, AND
MINERALS. WE KNOW FOR THOSE INDUSTRIES TO
REMAIN STRONG, WE NEED THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING TO BE
GREAT. A GREAT UNIVERSITY STARTS WITH GREAT LEADERSHIP. WE HAVE
A GREAT LEADER IN LORI NICHOLS, UW’S 26th PRESIDENT. SHE STARTED
IN MAY 2016, WHEN DICK McGINTY RETIRED. SHE CAME AT A
CHALLENGING TIME. IT’S HARD ENOUGH TO BE A UNIVERSITY
PRESIDENT, LET ALONE DURING A TIME OF ARE CUTS. IT’S GREAT TO
HAVE HER AT THE HELM. WE ARE PROUD OF THE NEW
FACILITIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING, WHICH WILL STRENGTHEN
WYOMING’S REPRESENTATION AS A LEADER IN TECHNOLOGY, EDUCATION,
AND INNOVATION. WE ARE PROUD OF THE ACADEMIC RESEARCH AND
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS AT UW. SPEAKING OF WHICH, HOW ABOUT
THAT COWBOY FOOTBALL TEAM? >>[ APPLAUSE ]>>THEY GAVE US SOME GREAT
MEMORIES AND WE APPRECIATE THAT. WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR
LEADERSHIP AT A CRITICAL TIME AND THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE
TODAY. PLEASE STAND SO WE MAY RECOGNIZE YOU AND THE UNIVERSITY
OF WYOMING. >>[ APPLAUSE ]>>WE’RE KEEPING THE COMPETITIVE
EDGE. THAT IS A WISE THING TO DO AT ALL TIMES, ESPECIALLY
DURING A TIME OF CONSTRAINED REVENUE. AND 2016, WE PRESSED ON
WITH EFFORTS TO PROMOTE AND DIVERSIFY OUR ECONOMY. I WILL
GIVE A FEW EXAMPLES. WE ARE NOW AND SHALL ALWAYS BE A PROUD AGRICULTURE STATE. AGRICULTURE
PUTS FOOD ON THE TABLE. AGRICULTURE PROVIDES GREAT OPEN
SPACES. WE HAVE GREAT WILDLIFE AND WYOMING. WE HAVE GREAT
RESPECT FOR THE SECOND AMENDMENT. AND WHEN YOU COMBINE
ALL THESE ASSETS TOGETHER, IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT HUNTING,
FIREARMS, AND SHOOTING SPORTS, ARE PART OF WYOMING’S HISTORY
AND HERITAGE. WE WANT TO KEEP THESE TRADITIONS AND PASS THEM
ON TO FUTURE GENERATIONS. AND WE WANT TO SHARE OUR ENJOYMENT OF
SPORTING LIFE WITH OTHERS. WITH THIS IN MIND, I ANNOUNCE A NEW
INITIATIVE FOR PUBLIC SHOOTING RANGES AND SHOOTING COMPETITIONS
INCLUDING THE FIRST ANNUAL MAG POLL SPONSORED GOVERNORS MATCH,
SCHEDULED FOR THE SUMMER. IT CHARGED — CHARGE STATE PARK WITH A
TASK FORCE. THE TASK FORCE HELD ITS FIRST MEETING IN DECEMBER
AND WILL PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO ME THIS YEAR ON HOW TO
FURTHER EXPAND THE GROWING OUTDOOR INDUSTRY. THANKS TO
ALICE CARBON, TUNGSTEN, HIGH BIZ, AND McGINLEY ORTHOPEDICS
GOING GANGBUSTERS, 2016 WAS YEAR OF EXPANSION FOR MANUFACTURING.
THE WYOMING FIREARMS INDUSTRY IS AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF MANUFACTURING. IT
CONTINUES TO GROW. OUR WORLD-CLASS COMPANIES,
MANUFACTURE HAND GUNS, PRECISION RIFLES, SILENCERS, OPTICS,
SITES, AND OTHER FIREARMS ACCESSORIES. TAKE FOR EXAMPLE,
MAG POOL. RECENTLY SELECTED BY THE UNITED STATES MARINES, AS THE — THE EXCLUSIVE
SUPPLIER OF MAGAZINES FOR COMBAT USE. ISN’T THAT INCREDIBLE NEWS
FOR WYOMING COMPANIES? TO SUPPLY OUR U.S. MARINES.
>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>WHILE THEY WERE DAUGHTERS
ABOUT RECRUITMENT OF OUR COMPANIES, I BELIEVE NOW
MORE THAN EVER WE CAN BUILD ON A ROBUST FIREARMS INDUSTRY IN
WYOMING. YOU ALL ARE AWARE OF MY FOCUS ON THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR.
WITH THE UNIFIED NETWORK AND BROADBAND AND GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY
SUMMITS, RECRUITING EFFORTS IN NATURAL ADVANTAGES LIKE A COOL
CLIMATE, ENERGY AVAILABILITY, TECHNOLOGY CONTINUES TO EMERGE
AS A VIABLE ECONOMIC SECTOR. I TRULY BELIEVE IT CAN BE OUR
FOURTH LARGEST SECTOR. WE MUST CONTINUE TO BUILD UPON IT. LAST
SPRING, WITH MORE THAN THREE QUARTERS OF THE INITIATIVES THE
ORIGINAL STRATEGY COMPLETED, WE UPDATED THE STRATEGY TO
INCLUDE 11 NEW INITIATIVES. AMONGST THOSE INITIATIVES WERE
WORKING TO MAKE CHANGES IN THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT.
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT WAS PASSED IN 1973. SINCE 1973, ALL THE SPECIES LISTED, A
LITTLE OVER JUST 1%, HAVE EVER BEEN DELISTED. IT NEEDS HELP. AS
CHAIRMAN OF THE WESTERN GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION, MY
INITIATIVE WAS TO GET THE WESTERN STATES ON BOARD TO
CHANGE AND IMPROVE THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT. AND AS
YOU CAN BE AWARE, ALL WESTERN STATES DON’T HAVE THE SAME
POLITICS AS WYOMING. BUT WE WORKED TOGETHER WITHOUT OR
GROUPS, WITH ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS. WE PUT TOGETHER A
PROPOSAL. I AM PLEASED TO SAY IN JUNE OF LAST YEAR, WESTERN
GOVERNORS VOTED UNANIMOUSLY FOR EMPLOYMENT OF THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT.
WE’RE TAKING IT THROUGH THE NATIONAL GUARD ASSOCIATION AND
CONGRESS. IT’S TIME TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE ENDANGERED
SPECIES ACT. >>[ APPLAUSE ] WE CONTINUE WITH THE ENERGY
STRATEGY WITH REVIEW OF RECLAMATION ROLES, CARBONATION
IS — CARBON INNOVATION, AND I GREATLY APPRECIATE THE
LEGISLATURE’S REPORT OF THE ENERGY STRATEGY, WHICH HAS
HELPED WITH IMPLEMENTATION. WE NOT ONLY WANT TO BE THE
ENERGY STATE IN TERMS OF PRODUCTION, WE WANT TO BE THE
ENERGY STATE IN TERMS OF INNOVATION. AND WE CAN BE. THE
CARBON INITIATIVE LOOKS AT BUILDING AN INDUSTRY AROUND CO2.
THIS MEANS INVESTING IN ADVANCED ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES AND
INNOVATION. THE INTEGRATED TEST CENTER UNDER CONSTRUCTION NOW
AT THE DRY FORKS STATION IN GILLETTE AS PART OF THIS EFFORT.
THE RELATIONSHIPS WE FOSTERED HAVE NOW PUT TOGETHER A $10
MILLION PRIZE FOR THE TEAM THAT CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO CAPTURE
THAT CO2 AND NOT ONLY CAPTURED BUT USE IT TO MAKE A USEFUL
PRODUCT. THIS IS NOT ONLY — HAS NOT ONLY BROUGHT ATTENTION IN
WYOMING TO HELP WE HELP FURTHER CALL, BUT AROUND THE COUNTRY.
THE GOVERNOR OF MONTANA IS ASKING HIS LEGISLATURE TO HELP
PARTICIPATE IN THIS. WE HAVE COMPANIES COMING TO WYOMING TO
LIMIT THEY CAN DO TO PARTICIPATE IN IT. IT IS VERY EXCITING. IT
IS VERY IMPORTANT TO HAVE THAT INNOVATION HERE IN WYOMING. AN
INDUSTRIAL PARK PROJECT FOR VALUE-ADDED ENERGY PRODUCTS.
THAT IS USES BEYOND EXTRACTION IS PART OF THE CARBON
INITIATIVE. IN 2014 EMMA THIS BODY APPROPRIATED $15 MILLION
FOR THE ITC AND PROVIDED SEED MONEY TO BEGIN AN ENERGY-RELATED
INDUSTRIAL PARK PROJECT. PROJECTS LIKE THIS NOT ONLY HELP OUR NUMBER ONE INDUSTRY,
MINERALS, ESPECIALLY COAL, BUT THEY FOSTER DIVERSIFICATION. THE
ITC IS WELL ON ITS WAY TO PURSUING THE INDUSTRIAL PARK
PROJECT THIS YEAR. I HOPE YOU WILL CONSIDER A BILL THAT
PROVIDES FOR FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF ENERGY SAT — IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE ENERGY STRATEGY. WE ARE THE ENERGY STATE. IN 2016, WE
CONTINUE TO IMPLEMENT THAT WITH GO — THAT GOES
AFFINITY, WHICH IS WATER. THE STATE WATER STRATEGY WAS ISSUED
TWO YEARS AGO. THE WATER STRATEGY INITIATIVE CONTAINS TWO
INITIATIVES. ONE IS THE 10 AND 10 PRODUCT — PROJECT, WHICH
SEEKS TO BUILD TENURE RESERVOIRS IN 10 YEARS. WHILE I KNOW IT’S
AMBITIOUS, WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY AND THE OMNIBUS WATER BILL
YOU WILL CONSIDER THIS SESSION HAS FOUR OF THESE 10 AND 10
PRODUCTS. THE BIG SANDY RESERVOIR ENLARGEMENT AND
SWEETWATER COUNTIES. THE MIDDLE PINEY RESERVOIR IN SUBLETTE
COUNTY. THE ALKALI CREEK RESERVOIR IN THE FORD COUNTY.
THE LIFFERTH RESERVOIR IN BIG HORN COUNTY. WATER PROJECTS LIKE
THESE ARE FUNDED SEPARATELY FROM GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS,
EDUCATION AND SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE.
THESE FUNDS COME FROM WATER ACCOUNTS THREE, WHICH IS
ACCUMULATED OVER THE YEARS AND HAS THE FUNDING. THESE PROJECTS WOULD ADD OVER
31,000 ACRE FEET OF STORAGE OF OUR MOST PRECIOUS NATURAL
RESOURCE. THAT IS WATER. WATER IS KEY TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT,
AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION AND WATER DEVELOPMENT MUST REMAIN A
PRIORITY. IN 2016, THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH CONTINUES TO STREAMLINE
THE RULES AND TIGHTEN BELTS. FOR EXAMPLE, WE’VE PUT RULES IN
PLACE FOR PUBLIC RECORD REQUESTS. THIS IS IN ADDITION TO
MY REQUEST TWO YEARS AGO TO HAVE ALL AGENCIES REDUCE THEIR
RULES OF 1%. WE HAVE FEWER RULES. WE’RE SPENDING LESS AND
WE ARE DOWN POSITIONS FROM FISCAL YEAR 2011, MIKE THIS —
MY FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE. WE HAVE IN WYOMING BUCKED THE TREND OF
SO MANY GOVERNMENTS THAT ONLY GROW. WHILE BEING CAREFUL WITH
THE BUDGET IS CRITICAL, WE CAN NEVER FORGET WE ARE MORE THAN
COUNTERS OF DOLLARS. WE ARE HERE FOR THE CITIZENS OF WYOMING. TO
BE SURE, WE MUST REMAIN AWARE OF OUR INMATE POPULATION. ARE
DISABLED POPULATION. THE HEALTHCARE WE ARE PROVIDING WERE
NOT PROVIDING. TO THE CITIZENS OF WYOMING. AND ALWAYS, WE THINK
OF OUR FAMILIES, AND THE NEXT GENERATION, OUR CHILDREN. IN
SEPTEMBER, I SPONSORED THE GOVERNOR’S SYMPOSIUM ON SUICIDE PREVENTION IN
CASPER. IT’S IMPORTANT TO TALK ABOUT SUICIDE AND WAYS TO REDUCE
IT. PEOPLE WHO ARE HURTING NEED HELP AND WE NEED TO LOOK FOR
WAYS OF HOW WE CAN BETTER PROVIDED. THIS WILL NOW BECOME
AN ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM. IN NOVEMBER, I ANNOUNCED THE
ENDOW INITIATIVES AT THE BUSINESS FORM. THIS IS A
LONG-TERM PLANNING EFFORT FOR ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION.
ECONOMIC — ACRONYM STANDS FOR ECONOMICALLY NEEDED DIVERSIFIED
OPTIONS FOR WYOMING. I SEEK $2.5 MILLION IN MY BUDGET PROPOSAL.
I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK FOR ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION,
BUILDING ON OUR SUCCESSES DURING MY LAST TWO YEARS IN
OFFICE. HOWEVER, AS A STATE, WE NEED A PLAN THAT GOES BEYOND ONE
GOVERNORS OF TIME IN OFFICE. WE NEED A 20 YEAR PLAN. WE DO NOT
DIVERSIFIED TO DISPLACE ENERGY TOURISM AND AGRICULTURE. WE DIVERSIFY TO INCREASE OUR
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES IN THOSE AREAS AS WELL AS TO EXPAND OUR
ECONOMIC BASE OVERALL. AS WE DIVERSIFY OUR INDUSTRIES, WE
MUST LOOK AT HOW WE TAX OUR INDUSTRIES. DIVERSIFICATION AND A BROAD-BASED FAIR TAX
STRUCTURE ARE REQUIRED TO STABILIZE OUR ECONOMY. WE NEED
TO DIVERSIFY NOT ONLY TO STABILIZE AND GROW OUR REVENUE,
BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO THAT IS WE NEED TO DIVERSIFY
TO BENEFIT OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. WE NEED TO PROVIDE MORE OPTIONS FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, TO GIVE
THEM AS MANY REASONS AS POSSIBLE TO SAY YES TO STAYING IN
WYOMING. AS WE LOOK AT OUR POPULATION, WE KNOW THAT IT IN
ANY GIVEN TIME PERIOD, WE LOSE BETWEEN 60% OF THE AGE GROUP
BETWEEN 18 AND 25. OUR FUTURE WILL NEVER BE AS BRIGHT AS A CAN
BE IF WE DON’T DO ALL WE CAN TO KEEP YOUNG PEOPLE HOME. HOME IN
WYOMING.>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>THE ENERGY BUS STAND THE
REVENANT FALLOUT FROM IT REMINDS US WHY THE ENDOW INITIATIVE IS
IMPERATIVE. I WANTED TO THANK THE PRESIDENT
AND SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE FOR THEIR LEADERSHIP IN MOVING ENDOW
FORWARD. WE’VE GOT SOME GREATNESS IN DECEMBER. THE
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE COMPLETED THE PURCHASE OF THE 640 ACRE
FLATS PARCEL OF STATE TRUST LAND LOCATED WITHIN GRAND TETON
NATIONAL PARK FOR $46 MILLION. $23 MILLION CAME FROM THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND $23 MILLION CAME FROM OVER 5000
PRIVATE DONATIONS TO THE GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION.
I THINK ALL THE DONORS WHO MADE THIS HAPPEN, THE LEGISLATURE FOR
ITS SUPPORT, AND OF COURSE WE REMEMBER THE LATE U.S. SENATOR
CRAIG THOMAS, WHO GOT THE BOWL — BALL ROLLING ON THIS.
>>[ APPLAUSE ] NOT ONLY IS THIS GOOD NEWS FOR
THE PARK, IT’S GOOD NEWS FOR EDUCATION FUNDING AT A TIME WHEN
WE NEED GOOD NEWS. THE MONEY HAS BEEN DEPOSITED IN THE COMMON
SCHOOL TRUST FUND TO SUPPORT WYOMING SCHOOLS. THE PARCEL WAS
GENERATING NO REVENUE FOR WYOMING. WE WERE GETTING ZERO
DOLLARS FROM THAT PARCEL. INCOME GENERATED IN THE COMMON SCHOOL
TRUST FUND ACCOUNT VARIES BUT IT’S
EXPECTED THESE FUNDS WILL GENERATE MORE THAN $1 MILLION
ANNUALLY FOR OUR SCHOOLS THE FUNDS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FOR THE
BOARD OF LAND COMMISSIONERS TO ACQUIRE LAND ASSETS HELD BY THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IF WE CHOOSE TO DO SO. THE STATE OF WYOMING CURRENTLY
OWNS ONE REMAINING 640 ACRE PARCEL IN THE PARK. THE KELLY
PARCEL ON THE GROVE ROAD. IT’S VALUED AT $46 MILLION. WE ARE
MAKING MONEY ON THAT PARCEL. THAT $46 MILLION ASSET IS
BRINGING US A WHOPPING $2000 A YEAR. THE LEGISLATIVE AUTHORIZATION
FOR THE DIRECT SALE OF THE KELLY PARCEL EXPIRED DECEMBER 31,
2016. MOVING FORWARD, THE BOARD OF
LAND COMMISSIONERS HAS AUTHORITY TO EXCHANGE THE PARCEL OR SELL
IT AT AUCTION TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER. ADDITIONAL AUTHORIZATION
FROM LEGISLATURE WILL BE REQUIRED FOR A DIRECT SALE TO
THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AND THIS IS SOMETHING I ASKED YOU TO
CONSIDER. THE BOTTOM LINE IS EVEN DURING
THESE TOUGH TIMES, WE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT IN 2016.
WYOMING REMAINS STRONG HEADING INTO THIS NEW YEAR. THAT’S A BIG
ACHIEVEMENT. WE’RE KEEPING OUR STATE STRONG DURING A DIFFICULT
PERIOD. THERE IS A LOT OF CREDIT TO GO AROUND, CERTAINLY THE
LEGISLATURE, THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING, AMAZING COMMUNITY
COLLEGES, OUR STATE AGENCIES, AND IN OUR COMMUNITIES, SCHOOLS,
AND BUSINESSES. AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE, WYOMING — PEOPLE ARE WYOMING’S
GREATEST ASSET. THE INDIVIDUALS I RECOGNIZED TODAY OR AN EXAMPLE
OF PEOPLE ALL AROUND WYOMING WHO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR STATE’S
STRENGTH AND WE THANK ALL OF THEM. NOW I TURN TO THE BUDGET.
JUNE 2016, I ASKED AGENCIES TO IMPLEMENT
$250 MILLION IN CUTS FROM THE 17-18 BUDGET. THIS WAS IN
RESPONSE TO A LARGER REVENUE SHORTFALL FORECAST IN THE
SPRING. THESE WERE DIFFICULT NECESSARY CUTS. MY SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET PROPOSAL
CARRIES THESE CUTS FOR RICH. MAKING THEM PERMANENT. WITH MY
CUTS AND THE LEGISLATURES CUTS LAST SESSION, THE EXECUTIVE
BRANCH OPERATING BUDGET, WHICH WAS $2.9 BILLION IN 2010 IS NOW A LITTLE OVER $2.5
BILLION. IT IS DOWN, NOT UP. THIS REFLECTS CONSERVATIVE
DISCIPLINED BUDGETING. THE TYPE OF BUDGETING WYOMING IS KNOWN
FOR AND PROUD OF. STATE GOVERNMENT HAS SHRUNK. IT HAS
NOT GROWN. THE LEGISLATURE LAST SESSION VOTED FOR $67.7 MILLION
IN CUTS. WHICH I KNOW YOU FOUND
DIFFICULT TO MAKE. I MEAN 3 1/2 TIMES THAT AMOUNT OF CUTS IN
JUNE, WHICH WAS ALSO VERY DIFFICULT. THE BELT-TIGHTENING
BEGAN IN 2013 HAS CONTINUED. I MAKE ONLY FIVE GENERAL FUND
REQUESTS OF YOU THIS SESSION. $5 MILLION FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT. WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT
OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. $2.5 MILLION FOR ENDOW, WHICH I HAVE
SPOKEN ABOUT. $500,000 FOR THE UW SCIENCE INITIATIVE. $475,000
FOR THE UW STRATEGIC ENROLLMENT PROGRAM. AND $160,000 FOR TREE
AT — FOR TRIBAL LIAISONS. THESE ARE ONE-TIME ITEMS ALTHOUGH THE ENDOW INITIATIVE
IS ENVISIONED FOR 20 YEARS. I HOPE IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE
FUNDED BEYOND THIS BUDGET CYCLE. MY GENERAL FUND SUPPLEMENTAL
BUDGET REQUEST TOTALED JUST OVER $8.6 MILLION. THE FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE. FOR
NEW LEGISLATORS TO PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE, SUPPLEMENTAL
BUDGETS IN RECENT HISTORY HAVE EXCEEDED $300 MILLION. THE BUDGET EXPLAINS THE
IMPORTANCE OF THESE FIVE REQUESTS, BUT ALSO TODAY FOR
EXAMPLE, I WILL TALK ABOUT THE UW SCIENCE INITIATIVE. WE HAVE
BEEN INVESTING IN SOME OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING. THESE ASSETS ARE CRITICAL. WE
NEED TO CONTINUE TO INVEST IN THE SCIENCE INITIATIVE, THUS THE
SUPPLEMENTAL REQUEST. BECAUSE WE VALUE EDUCATION AND
THIS LEGISLATURE VALUES EDUCATION SO STRONGLY, EVERY
YEAR, I HAVE HIGHLIGHTED THE GREAT TALENT WE HAVE WITH OUR
TEACHERS BY RECOGNIZING THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR. THIS YEAR,
WE ARE RECOGNIZING RYAN HERMAN, WYOMING’S 2017 TEACHER OF THE
YEAR. HE GREW UP IN CASPER. HE WAS INSPIRED BY HIS JUNIOR HIGH
LATIN TEACHER TO BECOME A TEACHER. HE GRADUATED MAGNA
[NULL] LAUDE FROM BLACKFISH. A 15 YEAR TEACHING
VETERAN, RAIN STARTED TEACHING IN WYOMING IN 2008 AND HAS
TAUGHT SCIENCE AT SHERIDAN JUNIOR HIGH SINCE 2012. IN
ADDITION TO TEACHING SCIENCE, HE IS A ROBOTICS INSTRUCTOR, A
CAMP SYSTEMATIC COUNSELOR AND ORGANIZER, SCIENCE KIDS BOARD
MEMBER, AND ASSISTANT BASKETBALL COACH. CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO
THE SCIENCE INITIATIVE AT UW WILL HELP PREPARE MORE SCIENCE TEACHERS
LIKE RYAN. RYAN, WE ARE VERY PROUD OF YOU. PLEASE STAND SO WE
MAY RECOGNIZE HER EXTRAORDINARY WORK AS A TEACHER.
>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>WE KNOW AS WE CONSIDER THE
DIFFICULT WORK AHEAD ON EDUCATION THAT WE NOT ONLY HAVE GREAT
TEACHERS AND GREAT SCHOOL DISTRICTS, WE ALSO IN WYOMING
HAVE GREAT, GREAT STUDENTS. LOGAN JENSEN IS A JUNIOR AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING FROM GREYBULL WYOMING. I FIRST MET
LOGAN WAS — WHEN HE WAS AN ELECTED OFFICIAL FOR BOYS STATE.
LOGAN’S DOUBLE MAJORING IN PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING. I DID NOT KNOW THAT WAS POSSIBLE. I’M NOT
EVEN SURE IT’S LEGAL. THIS IS AN AMAZING THING. HE HAS TAKEN
ADVANTAGE OF ALMOST ALL WYOMING OFFERS AS AN UNDERGRADUATE. AS A
FRESHMAN, HE WENT WITH FACULTY TO THE UW INFRARED TELESCOPE
LEARNING TO OPERATE A MAJOR SCIENTIFIC FACILITY AND
ACQUIRING THE SKILLS TO ANALYZE DIGITAL IMAGES. AS A SOPHOMORE, HE LED A STUDY
AT THE AND THE SPIRITS STABILITY NOW JEM OBSERVATORY SITE. HE
WILL PARTICIPATE IN NEXT SUMMER’S TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE.
RESEARCH AND OUTREACH. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR,
WE’RE GOING — WYOMING IS GOING TO BE THE PLACE FOR THE TOTAL
ECLIPSE. IF YOU’RE NOT AWARE, THIS IS A BIG DEAL. I HAVE HERE
IN MY NOTES, MAKE SURE EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW VALUABLE THIS IS TO
TOURISM. IT’S A BIG DEAL. AUGUST 21, HE ALSO SERVES AS A
COUNSELOR TO JUNIOR HIGH YOUTH. HE HAS DONE AS A JUNIOR WHAT MANY PHD
STUDENTS WOULD LONG TO DO. WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE MORE
STUDENTS LIKE LOVE AND TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE UW SCIENCE
INITIATIVE. PLEASE STAND FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY WORK YOU HAVE
DONE.>>IN THIS SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET
YEAR, I REQUESTED CONTINGENT FUNDING OF $21 MILLION FOR TITLE
25. $19.2 MILLION TO ADDRESS A FAILURE AT THE WYOMING STATE
PENITENTIARY, IF NECESSARY, AND 104 — $104.2 MILLION FOR THE
OBSERVATORY ACCOUNT. THIS WOULD COME FROM THE LSR A. I ALSO
REQUEST THE LEGISLATURE AUTHORIZED BURNING TO COVER
CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION COSTS FOR THE STATE CAN ATTEND —
PENITENTIARY IN RAWLINS . I KNOW SOME OF YOU ARE NOT IN
FAVOR OF THAT BUT WHETHER YOU WANT TO BONDING OR YOU WANT TO
TAKE A SAVINGS, IT WILL NOT GO AWAY BY NOT ADDRESSING THE
FUNDING. I BELIEVE THE PRISON SHOULD STAY IN RAWLINS, NOT JUST
BY THE CONSTITUTION, BUT BY WHAT IT MEANS TO THAT COMMUNITY.
I ALSO BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO BE PREPARED WHETHER IT IS A FIX OR A
REBUILD. WE NEED TO HAVE THAT ADDRESSED THIS SESSION INCLUDING
WHERE THE FUNDING WOULD COME FROM. MY BUDGET PROPOSAL IS BARE
BONES IN BALANCE. WE HAVE NEARLY $1.6 BILLION
SITTING IN RAINY DAY FUND. IT APPEARS WITHOUT A DIVERSION,
THAT I HAVE ASKED FOR, FROM ALL OF YOU, THE RAINY DAY FUND WILL
GROW THIS SESSION. IT’S A HARD MESSAGE FOR THE PEOPLE OF
WYOMING AS WE HAVE MADE AN EXCESS OF $300 MILLION IN CUTS
AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO GROW THE RAINY DAY FUND. IT GOES GIVEN
TO THE QUESTION OF WHAT IS IT FOR? I HAVE ASKED FOR SOME OF THAT
MONEY TO BE DIVERTED FOR THE BUDGET AND NOT GROW THE RAINY
DAY FUND. NOW I THINK OF AND I KNOW MANY
OF YOU THINK ABOUT THE GENERAL FUND BUDGET AS A SEPARATE BUDGET
FROM EDUCATION. I THINK THAT’S AN APPROPRIATE WAY TO LOOK AT
IT. THE EDUCATION BUDGET HIS DIFFERENT. THE SCHOOL FOUNDATION
PROGRAM CAN FUND K-12 SCHOOL OPERATIONS THROUGH THIS BIENNIUM
BUT NOT BEYOND. BEGINNING WITH THE 1920 BUDGET, THE SHORTFALL
IN THE SCHOOL FOUNDATION PROGRAM ACCOUNT IS PROJECTED TO BE
ABOUT $1.5 BILLION OVER THE NEXT SIX YEARS. SCHOOL FACILITIES AND
MAINTENANCE FUNDING MUST ALSO BE ADDRESSED BECAUSE IT’S NOT
INCLUDED IN THAT $1.5 BILLION. I ASK NOW AS I’VE ASKED BEFORE,
THAT WE WORK TOGETHER TO DISCUSS SOLUTIONS THAT INCLUDE THE
PUBLIC, TEACHERS, SCHOOL BOARDS, AND PARENTS IN THIS DISCUSSION.
WE RECOGNIZE THAT ONE WEEK TO SUBMIT COMMENTS TO THIS BODY
REGARDING THE SUBCOMMITTEE’S DECEMBER 28, VERY THOUGHTFUL
EDUCATION FUNDING WHITE PAPER IS NOT ENOUGH. I BELIEVE JUST
SHORT OF 600 COMMENTS IN ABOUT A WEEK WERE PROVIDED. WE HAVE TO
MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS THIS SESSION. BUT TO SOLVE THE ISSUE
COMPLETELY, WE NEED TO HAVE A BROADER PUBLIC DISCUSSION. MANY
PUBLIC COMMENTS WE RECEIVED IN ONE WEEK THE NEED FOR THE
PUBLIC’S PARTICIPATION ON THIS ISSUE. STARTING THE DISCUSSION
ON EDUCATION, I POINT OUT THE WONDERFUL REPORT, SUPERINTENDENT
BAIL WE WERE JUST RATED SEVENTH BEST IN THE COUNTRY. THE OTHER
SIX ARE ON THE EAST COAST. WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE THE EAST
COAST IS IN WYOMING. WE ARE PROUD OF THAT AND TO A WANT TO
CONTINUE TO BE STRONG IN EDUCATION. I POINT OUT THAT
LAMBIN SHOULD BE PROUD OF HOW IT HAS SUPPORTED EDUCATION. BY ANY
MEASURE, WYOMING HAS PLACED THE HIGHEST VALUE ON EDUCATION. TO
ILLUSTRATE THIS POINT BETWEEN EXECUTIVE JUDICIAL AND
LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES, THE GENERAL FUND STANDARD GOVERNMENT
OPERATING BUDGET HAS DECREASED SINCE 2011. IN FACT TODAY, THE
GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS STANDARD BUDGET, IS ABOUT $200 MILLION
LESS PER BIENNIUM, THEN THE TOTAL BLOCK GRANT TO
SCHOOL DISTRICTS. $200 BILLION LESS. SIMPLY STATED, THE
STANDARD BUDGET FOR ALL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS IS LESS
THAN WE ARE SPENDING ON K-12 EDUCATION. THIS DOESN’T EVEN INCLUDE MAJOR
MAINTENANCE. IT DOESN’T INCLUDE SCHOOL CAPCOM CONSTRUCTION.
2016, TOGETHER WE CUT THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OPERATING BY
$317 MILLION. IN TOTAL, THE CUTS OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH WERE
11% 20, AND LEGISLATIVE CUTS DURING THE 2016 SESSION AND MY
BUDGET REDUCTIONS LASTING. IN CONTRAST, THE SCHOOL OPERATION
BUDGET HAS BEEN GROWING. IT WAS $1.3 BILLION ANNUALLY IN 2011
WHEN I TOOK OFFICE. IT IS NEARLY $1.5 BILLION NOW, SIX YEARS
LATER. WHILE STUDENT ENROLLMENT HAS INCREASED 12% SINCE 2005 TWO 2006, SCHOOL FOUNDATION
FUNDING HAS INCREASED OVER 91%. NOW WE SEE A PROJECTED SHORTFALL
OF $1.5 BILLION OVER THE NEXT ASK YEARS. THIS IS A BIG
PROBLEM. IT IS A FISCAL CRISIS. IT’S A BIG PROBLEM THAT REQUIRES
VERY BIG, VERY DIFFICULT CHOICES. AS I DID LAST YEAR, I
AGAIN ASKED THAT WE HAVE A TASK FORCE FOR SPEAKER HARSHMAN’S
COMMITTEE TO BE FORMED WITH FULL PARTICIPATION OF WYOMING
STAKEHOLDERS TO ADDRESS SCHOOL FUNDING BECAUSE A YEAR HAS GONE
BY AND THINGS HAVE NOT GOTTEN BETTER. WE CANNOT WAIT ANOTHER
YEAR TO ACT. AT A MINIMUM, WE SHOULD BE PLANNING FOR
REDUCTIONS. BUT THERE IS A BROADER DISCUSSION THAT WE
SHOULD CONTINUE TO HAVE ABOUT FUNDING. AND REVENUE. AND IT IS
MY HOPE THAT PARTICIPATION WITH ALL OF YOU AND THE PUBLIC THAT
WE CAN AT LEAST BY THE START OF NEXT SESSION HAVE A PLAN THAT
ADDRESSES BOTH CUTS AND THE FUNDING. I DO WANT TO MENTION A
NON-BUDGET MEASURE FROM LAST SESSION, THE SAFETY TELL PROJECT
AUTHORIZED BY LEGISLATION BY SENATOR COE AND SPEAKER HARSHMAN. THE
ANONYMOUS TIP LINE IS ALREADY PREVENTING SUICIDES AND
IMPROVING SCHOOL SAFETY. THIS SESSION, I KNOW YOU WILL BE
CONSIDERING NUMEROUS BILLS. I WILL FOLLOW THEM AS THEY MOVE
THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. BUT I CAN TELL YOU HERE AT THE
START, A FEW THINGS I’M INTERESTED IN. I SUPPORT IN
CONCEPT THE SALES TAX COLLECTION FROM REMOTE SELLERS, THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF A LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR ENDOW, APPROVING IGNITION INTERLOCK
LAWS, AND PROVIDING A MECHANISM TO CONTINUE THE ENERGY AND WATER
STRATEGIES. IN WHAT HAS BEEN A CHALLENGING FINANCIAL MARKET, WE
ARE GETTING POOR INVESTMENT RETURNS. THERE’S JUST NO OTHER
WAY TO LOOK AT IT. THAT’S A CHALLENGE IN THIS FINANCIAL
MARKET. BUT WE ARE ALSO NOT DOING WELL
COMPARED TO OTHER STATES AND GET THE STATE OF WYOMING PAYS IN
EXCESS OF $70 MILLION A YEAR IN MANAGEMENT FEES AND CONSULTING
FEES. THIS HAS TO CHANGE. IT HAS TO CHANGE MORE NOW THAN EVER
WHEN WE ARE BUDGET CONSISTS — BUDGET CONSTRAINED. THE
TREASURER HAS WORKED HARD IN HIS OFFICE TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS FOR
THE LEGISLATURE. I WOULD ASK YOU TO CONSIDER THOSE SUGGESTIONS
BECAUSE THE TREASURER, LIKE ME, LIKE THE SLIP, RECOGNIZES WE
WANT BETTER RETURNS AND WE WANT TO SPEND LESS MONEY IN GETTING THOSE
RETURNS. UNTIL WE CAN GET A BROADER, MORE COMPREHENSIVE TAX
STRUCTURE, I ASK YOU TO CONSIDER CONTINUING THE MANUFACTURING
TAX EXEMPTION WHICH IS SUNSETTING. IT’S IMPORTANT FOR
THE BUSINESSES THAT ARE HERE AND FOR SOME OF THE BUSINESSES WE
ARE TRYING TO RECRUIT NOW. WE ARE LOOKING TO THE CHANGE IN
ADMINISTRATION IN DC IN THE COMING WEEKS AND
WE HOPE THAT WILL PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR WYOMING TO
BECOME STRONGER. I AM HEARTENED ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF FEWER
REGULATIONS AND PROGROWTH ECONOMIC POLICIES. I AM HOPEFUL
THAT NEW ADMINISTRATION WILL SEE THE BENEFITS OF WHAT STATES
LIKE WYOMING HAVE DONE. AND RESPONSIBLY — IN RESPONSIBLY DEVELOPING
OUR RESOURCES. I’M HOPING MORE AUTHORITY WILL BE GIVEN TO THE
STATES WITH RESPECT TO NATURAL RESOURCES . AS WE FACE DIFFICULT BUDGET
TIMES, WE KNOW THAT WE ARE IN FACT BETTER SUITED TO ADDRESS
THE PROBLEM THAN WE EVER HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST. I ALSO AM
CONFIDENT THAT THIS GROUP, THAT LEGISLATURE IS EQUIPPED TO DEAL
WITH THESE DIFFICULT ISSUES. BUT AS ALWAYS, IT REALLY ISN’T JUST
ABOUT THE NUMBERS. AND DOLLARS, OR A SINGLE ISSUE. WE CANNOT
LOSE THE FOREST IN THE TREES. THIS SESSION, AS A RECESSION, WE
REMAIN OBLIGATED TO DO WHAT IS BEST, NOT FOR OURSELVES, OR
POLITICAL PARTIES, BUT FOR THE CITIZENS A WONDERFUL WYOMING.
WHAT A PRIVILEGE WE HAVE TO HAVE THAT AS OUR DUTY. WHAT A
PRIVILEGE IT IS TO HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY, TO HAVE OUR JOB TO SERVE THE
CITIZENS OF WYOMING WITHOUT REGARD TO POLITICAL PARTY,
WITHOUT REGARD TO ANY SINGLE ISSUE BUT HOW DO WE DO BETTER
FOR THE CITIZENS OF WYOMING? I THINK THE LEGISLATURE AS I
ALWAYS DO. WE ARE SUCCESSFUL IN THIS STATE
FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS BUT A PRIME REASON IS WE HAVE A
CITIZEN LEGISLATURE TO YOU MEN AND WOMEN WHO GIVE UP YOUR TIME
AND LEAVE YOUR HOMES AND FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES TO COME
HERE. IT’S AN EXTRAORDINARY THING. IT KEEPS WYOMING STRONG.
BUT AS ALWAYS, WE TAKE TIME TODAY TO SAY WE KNOW WE ARE
BLESSED TO LIVE IN THIS STATE. WE SAY TO THE CITIZENS OF
WYOMING, WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK HARD
FOR YOU. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS WYOMING, THE UNITED DATES,
AND ALL HER PEOPLE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
>>[ APPLAUSE ]>> GOVERNOR MEAD, ON BEHALF OF
THE MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, I THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING THIS
JOINT SESSION AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSAGE. VERY INSPIRING.
MEMBERS OF THE 64th LEGISLATURE, DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES
AND GENTLEMEN, I NOW PRESENT THE HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE BURKE
OF THE WYOMING SUPREME COURT.>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>[ APPLAUSE ]>> MR. PRESIDENT, MR. SPEAKER, GOVERNOR AND MRS. MEAD. MEMBERS
OF THE 64th WYOMING LEGISLATURE, ELECTED OFFICIALS,
MEMBERS OF THE JUDICIARY, GUESTS AND CITIZENS OF THE STATE
OF WYOMING. IT IS AN HONOR TO SPEAK TO YOU ON BEHALF OF THE
DEDICATED MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVED THE JUDICIAL BRANCH OF
OUR STATE GOVERNMENT. THANK YOU PRESIDENT AND SPEAKER HARSHMAN FOR THE ABILITY TO DO SO.
CONGRATULATIONS FOR THE WELL-DESERVED ELEVATION TO YOUR
LEADERSHIP POSITIONS. WE ALSO OFFER OUR
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE NEWLY ELECTED AND REELECTED MEMBERS
OF OUR LEGISLATURE. THERE HAVE BEEN CHANGES IN OUR JUDICIARY
SINCE WE LAST TALKED. DURING THE PAST YEAR, THE DISTRICT JUDGE
AND CIRCUIT JUDGE ANNOUNCED THEIR RETIREMENT
AFTER LONG AND DISTINGUISHED CAREERS ON THE BENCH. JUDGED FOR
A QUICK AND HAS TAKEN THE SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT IN LARAMIE. WE ARE PLEASED TO
WELCOME THEM AS COLLEAGUES. I AM PLEASED TO POINT OUT THAT BOTH
TOOK OFFICE ON THE FIRST DAY FOLLOWING THE RETIREMENT OF
THEIR PREDECESSOR. THIS IS ANOTHER TESTAMENT TO OUR MERIT
SELECTION PROCESS. IN WYOMING, WE DO NOT HAVE JUDICIAL
VACANCIES. THAT LINGER TO THE DETRIMENT OF THOSE WITH COURT
CASES PENDING. ON A MORE SOMBER NOTE, WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THE
RECENT PASSING OF DON HALL. JUDGE HALL CAPABLY SERVE THE
CITIZENS OF THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT IN A WRITTEN FOR OVER
22 YEARS BEFORE RETIREMENT IN 2004. WE OFFER PRAYERS AND
CONDOLENCES TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I WAS IN THE OFFICE
THIS WEEKEND, CATCHING UP ON WORK FROM LAST WEEK AND
PREPARING FOR THE UPCOMING EVENTS. DURING THE BREAK, I MADE
A VISIT TO OUR LEARNING CENTER, IN THE FIRST FLOOR OF THE
SUPREME COURT BUILDING. THERE IS A LOT OF INFORMATION PACKED
INTO THAT LOCATION. I FIND THAT EACH TIME A VISIT, THERE
SOMETHING ELSE THAT CATCHES MY ATTENTION. THIS TIME IT WAS THE
SUBHEADING” SHARED POWER.” IT WAS ON ONE OF THE PILLARS
REFERENCING OUR THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT. THE PHRASE HAS INFLUENCED MY
REMARKS TO YOU TODAY. NO DOUBT, THERE ARE MANY ASPECTS TO THE
TERM WHEN DESCRIBING OUR THREE BRANCHES AND I DO NOT INTEND TO
EMPLOY IT AS A TERM OF ART IN MY REMARKS. THAT MUTUAL RESPECT
FOR EACH BRANCH SEEMS TO BE INHERENT IN THE PHRASE. AN
EXPRESSION OF THAT RESPECT TOWARD ANOTHER BRANCH MAINTAINS
PUBLIC TRUST AND CONFIDENCE. IT IS SO CRITICAL TO THE JUDICIAL
BRANCH. I WANT TO HIGHLIGHT THREE MOMENTS FROM THIS PAST
YEAR TO ILLUSTRATE THE POINT I AM TRYING TO MAKE. THE SUMMER, WE HOSTED THE
ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF CHIEF JUSTICES AND STATE COURT
ADMINISTRATORS. NEARLY EVERY STATE WAS REPRESENTED. THE
CONFERENCE WAS HELD IN JACKSON. THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT. THE
SCENERY SUBLIME. AND OUR SMALL BUT MIGHTY JUDICIAL BRANCH
ADMINISTRATION STAFF WITH SPOUSES AND STAFF ATTORNEYS
PITCHING AND PULLED IT OFF WITHOUT A HITCH. A SPECIAL KUDOS
TO RHONDA MONGER FROM OUR COURT ADMINISTRATION WHO MADE ALL THE
CHAINS RUN ON TIME. BUT FOR MOST IN ATTENDANCE, THE BIG TAKE
AWAY FROM THE CONFERENCE WHERE THE WELCOMING REMARKS OF OUR
GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR MEAD SPOKE ABOUT THE NEED FOR A STRONG
JUDICIAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT AND ALL THAT ENTAILS. HE BROUGHT
DOWN THE HOUSE. STANDING OVATION. RAVE REVIEWS. SOME CHIEF JUSTICES SUGGEST TO
RUN FOR GOVERNOR IN THEIR STATE. I THINK HE HAD AT LEAST FIVE
OFFERS. I THOUGHT IT WAS OKAY.>>[ LAUGHTER ]
>>THE POSITIVE REACTION FROM ALL THOSE CHIEF JUSTICES
AND COURT ADMINISTRATORS I BELIEVE WAS IN LARGE MEASURE IT
ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE CONDITIONS AND OTHER STATES WHERE SUPPORT
FOR THE JUDICIAL BRANCH PALES IN COMPARISON TO THE SUPPORT WE
HAVE RECEIVED HERE. THE GOVERNOR’S REMARKS WERE AN
EXTENSION OF THOSE HE MAKES AT EACH ATTENDANCE. AND ALWAYS, HIS REMARKS ARE
WELL RECEIVED AND HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT. IT’S ONE THING
FOR A JUDGE TO TELL THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE NEED FOR A STRONG
JUDICIAL BRANCH. IT IS QUITE ANOTHER FOR OUR CITIZENS TO HEAR
THAT FROM LEADERS OF THE OTHER BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT. THEY ARE
DEEPLY APPRECIATIVE AND MANY OF OUR COLLEAGUES THROUGHOUT THE
COUNTRY ARE ENVIOUS. WE HAVE WITNESSED A SIMILAR DISPLAY THIS
MONDAY WITH THE GRAND OPENING OF OUR JUDICIAL LEARNING CENTER.
MANY OF YOU WERE IN ATTENDANCE. IT WAS A WONDERFUL EVENT MADE
MORE SPECIAL BY THE REMARKS OF GOVERNOR MEAD AND SPEAKER
HARSHMAN, BOTH OF WHOM EXPRESSED THEIR SUPPORT AND RECOGNIZE
THE COLLABORATIVE EFFORT THOSE ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF THE
PROJECT. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT YET HAD THE OPPORTUNITY
TO VISIT THE LEARNING CENTER, WE WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU AND ALL
MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC TO MAKE SURE TO VISIT. I THINK YOU WILL
ENJOY IT. I BELIEVE YOU DISH IT WILL LEAVE YOU WITH A BETTER
APPRECIATION FOR THE RULE OF LAW AND OUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE. I
WOULD ADD THAT THIS IS NOT JUST A
CHEYENNE PROJECT. WITHIN A COUPLE OF MONTHS, THE MATERIALS
DEVELOPED FOR THE LEARNING CENTER WILL BE ONLINE AND
ACCESSIBLE FOR USE IN CLASSROOMS THROUGHOUT THE STATE. THIS
PROJECT WOULD HAVE NEVER GOTTEN OFF THE GROUND WITHOUT THE
SUBSTANTIAL — FINANCIAL SUPPORT OFFERED UP TO THE LEGISLATURE. WE THINK
YOUR INVESTMENT WILL PLAY HUGE — PAY HUGE DIVIDENDS IN THE
FUTURE. THANK YOU. >>[ APPLAUSE ] ANOTHER MOMENT THAT STAYED WITH
ME OCCURRED DURING THE PRESENTATION OF OUR SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET. TO THE
JOINT APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE THIS DECEMBER. WE DID NOT MAKE
ANY REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING. INSTEAD, WE SUGGESTED
GENERAL FUND CUTS OVER $1.9 MILLION. AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT,
THERE WERE QUITE A FEW QUESTIONS, SOME BACK AND FORTH
BUT AT ONE POINT WE WERE ASKED BY CHAIRMAN ROSS, AND I AM
PARAPHRASING, CAN YOU AFFORD IT? ESSENTIALLY, HE WAS ASKING CAN
YOU TAKE THESE CUTS AND STILL PERFORM YOUR CORE MISSION? OUR
JUDICIAL BRANCH — WILL OUR JUDICIAL BRANCH BE
ABLE TO CONTINUE TO PERFORM AS OUR CITIZENS EXPECT? AND LATER,
THE DIFFICULT TIMES THE STATE IS FACING FINANCIALLY, THE
QUESTION SURPRISED ME. BUT UPON REFLECTION, IT SHOULDN’T HAVE.
OVER THE YEARS, THE LEGISLATURE HAS TAKEN SIGNIFICANT ACTION,
EVEN IN DIFFICULT TIMES TO MAINTAIN AND STRENGTHEN OUR
JUDICIAL BRANCH. WE HAVE TAKEN TO HEART YOUR REQUEST THAT WE
PARTICIPATE IN STATE BUDGET CUTS. WE WANT TO DO OUR PART. THE REDUCTIONS WE HAVE PROPOSED
ARE SIGNIFICANT AND COME FROM A VERY LEAN BUDGET LEAN DOESN’T
HACKETT. IF YOU STILL CAN’T DO YOUR MISSION. WHILE THERE IS SOME RISK, WE DO
NOT BELIEVE THAT OUR CORE MISSION WILL BE NEGATIVELY
IMPACTED. IN THE STAND AGE, TECHNOLOGY PLAYS AN ESSENTIAL
ROLE IN OUR ABILITY TO FULFILL OUR MISSION. OUR ADMINISTRATIVE
OFFICE INCLUDING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY STAFF HAS BEEN
WORKING TIRELESSLY TO PROVIDE FUNCTIONAL AND RELIABLE SYSTEMS
FOR STATEWIDE COURT AUTOMATION. INCLUDING CASE MANAGEMENT,
ORGANIZATIONAL TOOLS FOR JUDGES, ELECTRONIC FILING, PUBLIC
ACCESS, AND JURY MANAGEMENT. UPON IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE
SYSTEMS, WE ANTICIPATE THE JUDICIAL BRANCH WILL BECOME MORE
EFFICIENT AND PRODUCTIVE. STATEWIDE COURT AUTOMATION HAS
BEEN A GOAL OF THE LEGISLATURE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. THE HOPE
IS THAT FULL AUTOMATION WOULD HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED SOONER BUT
WE ARE CONFIDENT THE JUDICIAL BRANCH IS NOW ON A PATH THAT
WILL PROVIDE A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR THE STATEWIDE ROLLOUT OF THE
VARIOUS SYSTEMS IN AN EFFECTIVE AND TIMELY MANNER. WE ARE
CURRENTLY WORKING ON UPDATING AND TRANSITIONING THE CASE
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AND — AND TO BOTH DISTRICT AND CIRCUIT COURTS
STATEWIDE. THIS WILL IMPROVE JURISDICTION COURTS IN WYOMING.
ALONG WITH THE NEW CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, THE DISTRICT
COURT JUDGES WILL ALSO BENEFIT FROM ELECTRONIC TOOLS, WHICH
WILL PROVIDE THEM A METHOD TO BETTER MANAGE THEIR DOCKETS, AND INDIVIDUAL
CASES IN A MANNER THAT CONFORMS TO EACH JUDGE’S PRACTICES.
ADDITIONALLY, ELECTRONIC FILING WILL PROVIDE ATTORNEYS WITH THE
CONVENIENCE OF FILING DOCUMENTS ONLINE WITHOUT THE NECESSITY OF
LEAVING THEIR OFFICES. PUBLIC ACCESS WILL PROVIDE CITIZENS
WITH THE ABILITY TO ACCESS NONCONFIDENTIAL CASE INFORMATION
FROM ANY PLACE THAT INTERNET ACCESS IS AVAILABLE. THE ROAD TO
STATEWIDE COURT AUTOMATION HAS NOT BEEN SMOOTH. FRANKLY, WE
EXPECTED THESE SYSTEMS WILL BE IN PLACE BEFORE THIS TIME. THIS
PAST YEAR, WE BECAME CONVINCED THAT A CHANGE IN VENDORS WAS
NECESSARY IF WE WERE GOING TO GET WHERE WE WANTED TO GO. WE
HAVE HIRED A NEW VENDOR AND EMBARKED ON AN AMBITIOUS
SCHEDULE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THESE PROJECTS. THE CURRENT CASE
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM WILL REMAIN IN PLACE DURING
TRANSITION TO THE NEW SYSTEM. ROLLOUT OF THE SYSTEM WILL BEGIN
IN JUNE 2018, E-FILING WILL FOLLOW IN 2019, AND WE
ANTICIPATE THAT THE ENTIRE PROJECT WILL BE COMPLETED IN
2020 AND THAT IT WILL HAVE BEEN WORTH THE WAIT. AGAIN, I WANT TO
THANK THE DISTRICT COURT CLERKS FOR THEIR PATIENTS, COOPERATION
AND SUPPORT AS WE HAVE WORKED THROUGH THESE ISSUES. WE ALSO
COMMEND THIS BODY FOR ITS FORESIGHT AND LEADERSHIP, MAKING
THIS INVESTMENT TO IMPROVE THE DELIVERY OF JUDICIAL SERVICES TO
OUR CITIZENS. ADEQUATE TECHNOLOGY IN THE
COURTROOM IS ALSO AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT IN A PROPERLY
FUNCTIONING JUDICIAL BRANCH. THIS PAST YEAR, WE COMMISSIONED
A STUDY OF THE AUDIO AND VISUAL TECHNOLOGY AND ALL 69 OF OUR
ISH IN ALL 69 OF OUR COURTROOMS TO GET A HANDLE ON THE
SITUATION. THE RESULTS WERE DISTURBING. MANY OF OUR
COURTROOMS LACK BASIC AUDIO ENHANCEMENT FEATURES AND HAVE NO
VIDEO EQUIPMENT. AS ONE JUDGE PUT IT, ABRAHAM LINCOLN WOULD BE
PERFECTLY AT HOME IN MY COURTROOM. WE MUST DO BETTER. THAT BRINGS
ME TO ANOTHER ASPECT OF SHARED POWER OR PERHAPS SHARED
RESPONSIBILITY. THERE IS NO SERIOUS DISPUTE
THAT THERE SHOULD BE APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY IN ALL OF OUR
COURTROOMS. THERE IS HOWEVER A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION ABOUT
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PURCHASE AND INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE
OF THAT EQUIPMENT. ARE THE COUNTIES RESPONSIBLE? WAS THE STATE, THROUGH THE
JUDICIARY? REASONABLE MINDS CAN DIFFER. NO LEGISLATION DOES NOT
SPECIFICALLY DEFINE RESPONSIBILITY FOR COURTROOM
TECHNOLOGY. LAST YEAR, I SPOKE AT LENGTH
ABOUT TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENTS IN THE COURTROOMS IN PINEDALE. THE
COUNTY PAID FOR ALL THOSE IMPROVEMENTS. THIS YEAR, IT’S
NECESSARY TO DISCUSS THE FLIP SIDE OF THE COURTROOM TECHNOLOGY
STORY. AND AGAIN, I’M GOING TO USE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES. THE
COURTROOMS ARE SOME OF THE NEWEST IN THE STATE. THEY ARE AT
THE UPPER ECHELON IN TERMS OF TECHNOLOGY. EQUIPMENT WAS
PURCHASED BY THE COUNTY. THERE IS A COUNTY IT
DEPARTMENT. THIS PAST YEAR, A MAJOR PIECE OF EQUIPMENT FAILED
IN ONE OF THE COURTROOMS. THE JUDICIAL ASSISTANT FOR ONE OF
THE JUDGES ATTEMPTED TO GET THE PROBLEM RECTIFIED. SHE INITIALLY
CONTACTED THE COUNTY AND THEN THE SUPREME COURT IT DEPARTMENT.
WHEN SHE RECEIVED NO IMMEDIATE COMMITMENT TO FIX THE PROBLEM,
SHE SENT AN EMAIL TO BOTH THE COUNTY AND OUR IT DEPARTMENT.
HERE’S WHAT SHE SAID. “ON OCTOBER 2011 — OCTOBER 11,
2016, COUNTY MAINTENANCE REQUESTED A MEETING WITH COUNTY
COMMISSIONERS TO DISCUSS ISSUES OF COURTROOM TECHNOLOGY AT THE
TOWNS AND JUSTICE CENTER. THEY EXPRESSED A DESIRE TO HAVE A
MEETING ON THE FOLLOWING DAY. TO MY KNOWLEDGE, A MEETING HAS NOT
YET BEEN SCHEDULED. IT OCCURRED TO ME THAT THE REQUEST DID NOT
ARTICULATE DEPRESSING NATURE OF THESE REPAIRS. THREE OF THE FOUR
DISTRICT COURTROOMS IN THE TOWNS AND JUSTICE CENTER OF
CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY ISSUES WHICH MUST BE IMMEDIATELY ADDRESSED. IN COURTROOM 1 A, THERE IS A
FAN BURNING OUT IN EQUIPMENT CLOSET. IF IT QUITS, THERE IS A
DANGER OF EQUIPMENT BECOMING TOO HOT AND BURNING OUT, POSSIBLY
FRYING THE ENTIRE BACK. THE AV 2 IS BAD. RENDERING ALL OF THE
TECHNOLOGY IN THAT COURTROOM USELESS. COUNTY IT WAS ABLE TO
INSTALL A TELEPHONE BUT IT IS NOT ATTACHED TO THE SOUND
SYSTEM, CAUSING THIS BAND-AID FIX TO POSSIBLY BE OF NO USE
DURING HEARINGS. JUDGE WILKINS WAS REQUIRED TO MOVE THE
SENTENCING FOR A GENTLEMAN CONVICTED OF AGGREGATE —
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT TO A DIFFERENT COURTROOMS OF
THE STATE COULD PLAY A VIDEO OF THE SCENE OF THE CRIME, WHICH
THE DEFENDANT INSISTED ON BEING PLAYED FOR THE COURT PRIOR TO
SENTENCING. SHE HAD TO RESCHEDULE HEARINGS WITH PARTIES
PARTICIPATE IN THE TELEPHONE. THE PROJECTOR, SCREEN AND
MONITORS RELY UPON ATTORNEYS — ARE
RELIED UPON BY ATTORNEYS IN, CASES TO SHOW FOOTAGE OF THE
CRIME AND CRIME SCENE. THE SYSTEM IS ALSO USED IN CIVIL
MATTERS TO PLAY VIDEO DEPOSITIONS, DISPLAY
PHOTOGRAPHS, AND EXHIBITS. THE MONITORS ENABLE THE JUDGE,
COUNSEL, JURY, AND AUDIENCE TO VIEW THE DISPLAY. PEO OH MONITOR ALLOWS A WITNESS
TO MAKE NOTATIONS ON A PICTURE OR EXHIBIT THAT WILL APPEAR ON
ALL MONITORS WITHOUT LEAVING THE WITNESS STAND. THE VOLUME OF
MICROPHONES CANNOT BE TURNED UP, TURNED DOWN, OR MUTED. THE
WHITE NOISE FEATURE CANNOT BE USED. IT PREVENTS THE JURY FROM
OVERHEARING BENCH CONFERENCES WHILE ALLOWING THE JUDGE AND
COUNSEL TO BE AUDIBLE TO THE COURT REPORTER AND EACH OTHER.
THE ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE IN A TELEPHONE IS A FEATURE THAT IS
USED DAILY AND ENABLES ARE OUT OF
TOWN COUNCIL, INCLUDING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE, AND
OTHER STATE AGENCIES, TO AVOID TRAVELING TO CASPER FOR SHORT
HEARINGS. IT ALLOWS CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS, THE STATE
HOSPITAL, TREATMENT FACILITIES TO CALL AND SET OF TRANSPORTING
THE PARTY FOR THE HEARING AND PREVENTS COUNCILS AND PARTIES
FROM DRIVING IN INCREMENT WEATHER.” I LOVE THIS EMAIL.
IT’S COMPELLING. IN A FEW PARAGRAPHS, IT PERFECTLY
CAPTURES THE BENEFITS OF COURTROOM TECHNOLOGY, THE
SIGNIFICANT CONSEQUENCES RESULTING FROM FAILURE OF THAT
EQUIPMENT, AND THE FRUSTRATION THAT COMES WHEN THERE IS NO
CLEAR PATH TO RESOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM. ULTIMATELY, THE PROBLEM
WAS FIXED WITH FUNDS FROM THE JUDICIAL BRANCH. TIM KNIGHT IS
THE DIRECTOR FOR SWEETWATER COUNTY. HE IS INVOLVED WITH THE
CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW JUSTICE CENTER IN SWEETWATER COUNTY. COMPLETION IS SCHEDULED IN
DECEMBER OF THIS YEAR. HE IS CONCERNED THAT THERE IS NO
AGREEMENT IN PLACE FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE TECHNOLOGY
EQUIPMENT TO BE INSTALLED IN THE NEW COURTROOMS. HE IS
ENDEAVORING TO TAKE A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO AVOID THE SITUATION
I JUST DESCRIBED. HE OFFERED HIS PERSPECTIVE IN A RECENT EMAIL
TO OUR IT DEPARTMENT. “THE PROBLEM WITH NO AGREEMENT IN
PLACE IS THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL GAPS IN DEFINING RESPONSIBILITY
FOR COSTS. THEY COME UP IN REGARDS TO SUPPORTING THE
SYSTEM. I DO NOT BELIEVE THE STATE TECHNOLOGY GROUP GETS TO
ABSOLVE ITSELF FROM THEIR STATUTORY RESPONSIBILITY OF
SUPPORTING THE OPERATIONS OF THE COURT AND WITHOUT AN AGREEMENT
IN PLACE. THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS NEVER FORMALLY
ACCEPTED FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE
EQUIPMENT. THIS MIGHT LEAD TO A SITUATION WHERE THE COURTS ARE
NOT ABLE TO FUNCTION. THE STATE AND THE COUNTY ARE IN
DISAGREEMENT AS TO WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IT IS TO FIX THE
PROBLEM. I’M ALSO CONCERNED WE WOULD BE
INSTALLING A SYSTEM THE STATE CANNOT SUPPORT BECAUSE THERE IS
A DIFFERENT PLATFORM THAT THEY WERE SET UP FOR. THERE IS AN
ECONOMY OF SCALE AND SUPPORTING A LARGE, COMMON NETWORK, RATHER
THAN SUPPORTING A GROUP OF DISPARATE SYSTEMS AND THE STATE
WOULD BE BETTER SERVED WITH A COMMON PLATFORM IN ALL THE PLANT
— ALL THE COURTROOMS. THIS APPEARS TO BE A PHILOSOPHY
SHARED BY THE STATE AS I HIRED A CONSULTANT TO DO AN ANALYSIS OF
THE COURTROOMS AND COME UP WITH RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO WHAT THEY
SHOULD BE PUTTING IN THIS COURTROOMS. THERE ARE ALSO
SEVERAL COUNTIES THAT DO NOT HAVE IT SUPPORT. AND IT WOULD
NOT BE FAIR TO EXPECT DIFFERENT LEVELS OF SERVICE FROM THE STATE
BASED ON WHICH COUNTY WORK ON. GIVEN ALL THIS, I RECOGNIZE
THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT SHORTFALLS IN REVENUES AND IN ALL AREAS OF
GOVERNMENT THERE ARE LIMITED RESOURCES TO BE HAD. KNOWING
THOSE SHORTFALLS EXIST, SWEETWATER IT
STAFF HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ASSIST IN TROUBLESHOOTING ISSUES,
REPLACING DEFECTIVE EQUIPMENT OR SETTING UP SYSTEMS TO
COMPENSATE FOR THE DISTANCES THAT SEPARATE STATE IT STAFF
FROM THE COURTROOMS. THIS IS DONE WITH A COOPERATIVE SPIRIT,
WITHOUT ANY DISCUSSION OF RENUMERATION. I BELIEVE THIS
RELATIONSHIP WILL CONTINUE AS LONG AS I AM THE IT DIRECTOR.”
MR. KNIGHT ASKS, ” HOW DO WE MOVE FORWARD? NUMBER
ONE, THE COUNTY AND STATE SHOULD WORK TO MAKE SURE THE
EQUIPMENT INSTALLED AT THE NEW FACILITY IS IN ALIGNMENT WITH
THE STATE COURTROOM PLAN. THE STATE SHOULD WORK ON WAYS TO
INCREASE FUNDING TO THE COURT TECHNOLOGY GROUP SO THEY HAVE
ADEQUATE RESOURCES TO SUPPORT THE COURTROOM TECHNOLOGY THROUGH
THE STATE. THE COUNTY AND STATE COULD WORK
OUT AN AGREEMENT THAT IS SATISFACTORY TO EACH OTHER
REGARDING ONGOING SUPPORT OF THESE SYSTEMS. HE CONCLUDES “I
REALLY HOPE THAT THE LEGISLATURE REALLY MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR
THE STATE TECHNOLOGY GROUP TO DO IT JOB, MAKE THIS A MODEL
FACILITY, THAT CAN BE REPLICATED THROUGHOUT THE STATE.” WE AGREE
WITH MR. KNIGHT. APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY SHOULD BE IN PLACE IN
ALL OF OUR COURTROOMS. QUALITY OF PRESENTATIONS AND THE ABILITY
TO SURE WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR PUBLIC COURTROOMS SHOULD NOT
DEPEND ON THE COUNTY. ECONOMIES OF SCALE DICTATE THAT THE
EQUIPMENT THE UNIFORM SET CAN BE PURCHASED, INSTALLED, AND
MAINTAINED IN THE MOST COST EFFECTIVE MANNER POSSIBLE. THE STATE AND THE COUNTIES MUST
CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER BUT IN EVERY COUNTY, FOR EVERY
COURTROOM, THERE MUST BE A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF
RESPONSIBILITY. FUNDING MUST BE ADEQUATE AND SUSTAINABLE. THESE
ARE NOT NEW ISSUES. THE BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN THE STATE AND THE
COUNTY HAS BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME. IT IS SERIOUSLY AND
NEGATIVELY IMPACTING OUR ABILITY TO MAKE PROGRESS. IT IS TIME
THOSE ISSUES WERE ADDRESSED. WE RECOGNIZE THERE MAY BE DIFFERENT
VIEWPOINTS AS TO HOW RESPONSIBILITY SHOULD BE
APPORTIONED AND THAT ALL STAKEHOLDERS SHOULD HAVE AN
OPPORTUNITY. PERHAPS IT IS A APPROPRIATE INTERIM TALKBACK BUT THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT
OUR COURTROOMS DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE TECHNOLOGY AND
ADDITIONAL FUNDING IS REQUIRED. CENTREPARK UNFRIEND
REPRESENTATIVE NICHOLAS ARE SPONSORING LEGISLATION THE SESSION TO
ADDRESS THE FUNDING ISSUE. THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION INCREASES
THE COURT AUTOMATION FEES, BY $10. THOSE FEES HAVE BEEN IN
PLACE FOR JUDICIAL SYSTEM AUTOMATION ACCOUNT WAS
ESTABLISHED IN 2000. EVEN WITH THE INCREASE, OUR
COURSES ARE SUBSTANTIALLY THOSE CHARGED — BELOW THOSE CHARGED
ANOTHER STATE. THE TECHNOLOGY BRINGS ON THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
HAVE INCREASED EXPONENTIALLY SINCE THAT TIME. WE SUPPORT THAT
LEGISLATION. BEFORE CLOSING, THERE IS ONE
MORE PIECE OF PENDING LEGISLATION I WOULD LIKE TO
DISCUSS. IT INVOLVES OUR CIRCUIT JUDGES. OUR CIRCUIT COURT
JUDGES ARE THE UNSUNG HEROES OF OUR JUDICIARY. THEY ARE ON THE
FRONT LINES HANDLING A HIGH VOLUME OF CASES. THEY ARE
ESSENTIALLY ON-CALL 24 SEVEN. THEY ARE THE ONES THAT GET COLD
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT FOR SEARCH WARRANTS. THEY OPERATE
UNDER STRICT DEADLINES IN A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF THEIR
HEARINGS. BOND HEARINGS MUST BE SET WITHIN 72 HOURS OF ARREST.
PROTECTION HOURS MUST BE HELD WITHIN 72 HOURS OF
REQUEST. THEY ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE QUICK SETTINGS FOR
EVICTIONS, MUST DETERMINE PROBABLE CAUSE FOR FELONIES
WITHIN 10 DAYS OF ARREST IF THE ALLEGED FELON IS INCARCERATED.
WE CONTINUALLY ASK MORE FROM OUR CIRCUIT JUDGES. IN 2011, CIVIL
JURISDICTION AND CIRCUIT COURT WAS INCREASED FROM
$7000-$50,000. THIS HAS LED TO MORE CONTESTED CIVIL HEARINGS
AND TRIALS. LEGAL ISSUES PRESENTED IN THOSE CASES CAN BE
AS COMPLICATED AS THOSE PRESENTED IN DISTRICT COURT.
CIRCUIT JUDGES HOWEVER MUST ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES WITHOUT ANY
ASSISTANCE FROM A LAW CLERK OR IN MANY CASES, FROM AN ATTORNEY
FOR ANY PARTY BECAUSE A LARGE PORTION OF THE CASELOAD INVOLVES
PRO SE LITIGANTS. ON TOP OF THAT, THEY ARE ALSO
TASKED WITH ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT OF DAILY OFFICE
OPERATIONS INCLUDING PERSONNEL. I COULD GO ON. HISTORICALLY,
THERE HAS BEEN AN INFORMAL JUDICIAL SALARY STRUCTURE IN
PLACE READY CIRCUIT JUDGES RECEIVE SOMEWHERE BETWEEN
$15,000 AND $20,000 LESS IN ANNUAL SALARY THAN DISTRICT
JUDGES. THAT CHANGED IN 2012 WHEN THE LEGISLATURE APPROVED A
SIGNIFICANT PAY RAISE TO BRING THE JUDICIARY AMONG THE SALARIES
FOR EMPLOYEES OF OTHER BRANCHES. SALARIES FOR SUPREME
COURT JUSTICES AND COURT JUDGES, WERE SET IN LINE WITH THE
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE BOARD OF JUDICIAL POLICY. INEXPLICABLY,
AT LEAST FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE, THE SALARY FOR CIRCUIT COURT
JUDGES WAS SET AT $119,000. WHICH IS WELL BELOW THE $132,000
RECOMMENDATION. THE NEW SALARY STRUCTURE CREATED A $31,000 GAP
BETWEEN DISTRICT AND CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES. THERE HAVE BEEN NO
JUDICIAL RAISES IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS SO THE GAP CONTINUES. SENATOR CHRISTIANSEN AND
REPRESENTATIVE MILLER ARE COSPONSORING LEGISLATION TO
CORRECT THE INEQUITY. THE BOARD OF JUDICIAL POLICY IS
UNANIMOUSLY REITERATING THE RECOMMENDATION IT MADE FIVE
YEARS AGO. WE WOULD URGE YOUR SUPPORT THAT LEGISLATION. WE
RECOGNIZE THAT THERE ARE MANY OTHER ASPECTS OF STATE
GOVERNMENT. MANY OTHER CONSIDERATIONS THAT YOU MUST
TAKE INTO ACCOUNT IN REACHING THEIR DECISIONS. WE KNOW IT IS A
HEAVY RESPONSIBILITY BUT WE HAVE EVERY CONFIDENCE THAT YOU
ARE UP TO THE CHALLENGE. DURING MY REMARKS, I HAVE EMPHASIZED
THE CONCEPT OF SHARED POWER OR SHARED RESPONSIBILITY. I DID SO
BECAUSE I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE HOW FORTUNATE WE
ARE IN THIS STATE. THE MUTUAL RESPECT THAT EXIST
AMONG OUR BRANCHES DOES NOT EXIST EVERYWHERE. YES, THERE IS
A CONSTITUTIONAL SEPARATION OF POWER. BUT THERE IS ALSO
COOPERATION AND COMMUNICATION. WE ARE BETTER FOR THAT. AND
ULTIMATELY, THAT BENEFITS OUR CITIZENS. WE WISH YOU WELL IN THIS
LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS YOU GRAPPLE WITH THE IMPORTANT
ISSUES FACING OUR STATE. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO
VISIT WITH YOU THIS MORNING. GOOD LUCK AND GODSPEED. THANK
YOU. >>[ APPLAUSE ]>>CHIEF JUSTICE BURKE, ON
BEHALF OF THE MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, I THANK YOU FOR
ATTENDING THIS IS JOINT SESSION AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH WE
MESSAGE. SENATOR PERKINS, AND
REPRESENTATIVE MILLER AND BURKART, WILL YOU PLEASE ESCORT
THE FIRST LADY OF WYOMING AND THE GOVERNOR FROM THE CHAMBER?
SENATOR CHRISTIANSEN AND REPRESENTATIVE GREER MOBILE YOU
PLEASE ESCORT THE CHIEF JUSTICE FROM THE CHAMBER?>>[ APPLAUSE ]>>THIS PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED IN
PART BY A GRANT FROM THE BNSF RAILWAY FOUNDATION DEDICATED TO

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