Representative Stith speaks about issues for legislative session

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Jena Doak, [email protected]

Sweetwater County, Wyoming — Ahead of tonight’s Legislative Panel and Social at the Broadway Theater in Rock Springs, District 48 Wyoming House Representative, Clark Stith, shed some light on the topics of discussion. The Wyoming legislature will convene in a budget session for 20 days, beginning on Monday, February 14.

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Stith shared this information with the Rock Springs City Council at Tuesday evening’s meeting.

“There are four big things that are getting done: Legislative redistricting, the budget, capital construction bill, and direct American Rescue Plan Plan Act (ARPA) fund bill,” said Stith.

The latest redistricting plan would increase the size of the legislature by three, adding one senator and two reps, for a total of 62 reps and 31 senators.

“I don’t think there’s much in that for Sweetwater County. We’d just be giving an extra rep to Cheyenne and Casper, and I don’t think that would help us,” Stith said. “I don’t expect to be voting on that.”

Mayor Timothy Kaumo asked Representative Stith about the possibility of a pharmacy tax.

“I don’t see any new taxes coming out of the revenue committee being very successful this year,” Stith said.

Stith spoke about a net metering bill that he is sponsoring.

“A net metering bill might help you in the City of Rock Springs, should you decide to put solar panels at the rec center to offset your very high electric costs,” said Stith.

Representative Stith then briefly highlighted the ARPA bill.

About $35 million is allocated for WyoLink, giving the program a boost. Western Wyoming Community College will get $5.6 million to build their nursing facility. There is a $95 million water bill that Green River would benefit from for its wastewater treatment plant.

Stith explained that the theme on the $1.3 billion temporary windfall to the State was to try to save a third of it for permanent savings, a third for the medium term, and a third for the short term.

“The Joint Appropriations committee met for two weeks in December, and two weeks in January. We didn’t quite achieve that,” Stith explained. “There’s a $227 million that the Appropriations Committee is recommending for permanent savings to the Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund, Common School Permanent Land Fund, and the Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust.”

Stith said that the short-term programs will focus is on economic development.

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He expressed a bit of concern regarding funds allocated for the immediate need of ambulance services.

There is $5 million allocated for statewide EMS stabilization, and another $5 million for a pilot regionalization project, which would happen up north.

“Frankly, $10 million is not enough to move the needle,” he said.

There is another $50 million set aside for local government projects that are not water-related.

“So, it’s possible that our community comes up with a plan for EMS or other projects, maybe finishing off the First Security Bank building,” Stith said.

The Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Legislative Panel and Social event tonight, February 3, at the Broadway Theater at 5:30 p.m. The public will hear from seven local state legislative members, and will have an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns.

The legislators who will be present are: Mark Baker, Fred Baldwin, Chad Banks, Marshall Burt, Tom James, John Kolb, and Clark Stith.

There will be a chance after the panel discussion to meet and discuss issues with the delegates in the lobby of the Broadway Theater.

While there is no cost to attend the event, the Rock Springs Chamber is requesting that you verify your attendance on their website or call 307-362-3771.

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