A bill going before lawmakers would remove the Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction as head of the Wyoming Department of Education. That position would then be taken up by a new director who would be appointed by the Governor.
Senate Education Committee Chairman, Hank Coe, and House Education Committee Chair Matt Tetters are the sponsors of Senate File 104 and it's co-sponsored by all legislative leaders. It's no secret, there's been a lot of friction the last couple of years between the legislature and Cindy Hill's education department.
Governor Mead alluded to it in his state of the state address Wednesday. Cindy Hill told me today her agency has done everything required of it including meeting deadlines contrary to a legislative consultant's report. She says assessment scores are up for two years in a row and Wyoming students are above the national average in reading and math. She gives the credit to teachers and staff around the state. Coe and Tetters did not want to go on camera today to talk about Senate File 104. Bill Schilling of the Wyoming Business Alliance also heads up a committee on educational standards and accountability. He says management of K-12 is a broader question than one individual. Friday morning is when the bill hits the Senate Education Committee.
As it stands now, the Superintendent would still be elected and still be a voting member of state boards. Two house bills which would raise hundreds of millions of dollars over the years for road construction have been introduced . House Bill 69 would raise the fuel tax 10 cents a gallon and House Bill 70 would tack on another 10 bucks to register most vehicles. The extra 10 cent fuel tax, which has not been raised since 1998, is estimated to cost the average family in Wyoming about $115 a year. Democrat James Byrd of Cheyenne says he'll be voting no on the higher gas tax because most of his constituents are against it, even though he claims most of the tax will be paid by non-residents.
Some lawmakers say human trafficking is a problem in Wyoming and there are organizations who've met with victims of sex and labor trafficking. Bill sponsor Cathy Connolly says there are no laws on the books which address the issue or protect the victim.
A number of bills will be coming out of committees and on to both chamber floors Friday for full debate.