Props & Disses 2.27.13
Committee collusion (DISS)
This paper has already criticized this general session of the Wyoming Legislature for being somewhat fractured and for falling into the business model of notoriously busybody states like California by introducing too many laws. The Cindy Hill issue created same party divisions and challenged many lawmakers on matters of decorum and civility. Too many pet peeve bills designed to right a wrong in a one-off case scenario are clogging up an already demanding session.
Another disturbing trend now threatens the integrity of Wyoming’s proud lawmaking traditions: killing bills in committee that were overwhelmingly passed in their house of origin. Already several high-profile bills have been quashed in Senate Committees after cruising in the House. Is it fair to let a panel of five decide the fate of a bill that displayed strong support in the opposite house?
Sue Wallis’ HB 108, for instance, attempted to remove some of the government red tape that impedes sales of independently-grown/raised farm product for local consumption. We keep talking about attractive ideas like sustainability, buying and consuming locally, yet when the chance to help make that happen comes along, a certain three Senators chickened out.
The Food Freedom Act blew through House committee on a 9-0 vote. It passed three readings in the House with the final vote showing 45 in support as opposed to 13 “nays.” Rather than move this bill on to the Senate as a whole, the Senate Ag Committee shot it down on a 3-2 vote. Essentially, one man decided the fate of a bill that had enough merit to at least move on to a discussion on the Senate side. And that one man, according to Wallis, was flip-flopping Sen. Fred Emerich.
In the end, lobbyists won out. Another disgusting trend Wyoming has now fallen into. Health officials testified that tainted meat would abound and raw milk would sicken Wyomingites. The State Agriculture Department warned that the feds would take over the state inspection program if the Food Freedom Act passed.
Hopefully, those three Senators who decided they know what’s best for small organic farmers and the people who want to eat their meat, poultry and produce will enjoy their horsemeat Swedish meatballs, listeria-tainted lettuce, and salmonella-riddled farm fresh Hillandale eggs for breakfast this morning, feeling secure that it all passed government inspection.
That IMAX idea is starting to look good (PROP)
Facing disruptive turnover and potentially massive cuts due to sequestration, the Bridger-Teton needs a knight in shining armor. Enter Bill Sweney. The managing partner of Teton Productions has been pitching the IMAX Theatre on the North Cache property for more than two years. The theatre could show movies featuring area wildlife like moose, elk, and deer in astonishing 70mm 3D, which would be good because at the rate they are being run over, eaten by wolves, and succumbing to disease, saving critters to celluloid posterity would be the least the BTNF could do from their HQ property.
Sweney’s proposal to lease the street-front acreage for an IMAX might be just what the BTNF is looking for. Their plan to give the Town of Jackson first dibs on the “back 40” fell apart when the $13.5 million SPET initiative failed last November. BTNF’s dogged insistence on selling off the back portion of the property makes no sense. Federal office buildings do not and have to be on prime street frontage. It’s this land that will make the Forest Service the most money. Supposedly, the decision was based on renovating the aging A-frame – a job of pouring good money after bad if there ever was one.
The IMAX Theatre plan is a winner for everyone. The town gets the sales tax revenue of a commercial enterprise that is the least of most evil development that could potentially plop itself down on the northern gateway. If the BTNF agrees to shove itself on the back lot, where they already have trailer offices and employee housing in place, it would pave the way for the town to finally get their Mercill Avenue extension done. The Forest Service would save face by avoiding the public backlash of selling off public property to support themselves.
Tracking the pet Pinnacle Peak Pack (DISS)
The National Elk Refuge’s collaring of the Pinnacle Peak Pack earlier this month is one more example of man’s meddling into the affairs of forest matters.
The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team snares, tranqs, and collars so many bears every year they are starting to piss them off. Fearing the artificially-cramped conditions created on the Refuge by supplemental feeding may promote disease like chronic wasting, state wildlife vets are inoculating elk calves with a promising Canadian vaccine. Really, a vaccine?
The latest attempt by biologists and other federal and state authorities who feel the need to study and manage “wild” animals is the collaring of four more member of the rock star famous Pinnacle Peak Pack. The 13-member pack now has the majority (eight) of their members collared. At what point can we continue to call it wildlife when they are all wearing radio collars?