Governor Mead signs the gas tax bill, education continues to be one of the Legislature's top priorities and two gun bills still in a senate committee.
The higher gas tax will kick in on July 1. The first day of the state's fiscal year. The tax will go up a dime a gallon to 24 cents.
The extra 10 cents will generate $70 million a year for road maintenance and construction. You'll recall in Governor Mead's state of the state address he called for a long term funding source for roads.
Either a diversion of some of the money going into the Permanent Minerals Trust Fund or a hike in the gas tax. The Legislature chose a higher gas tax. This bill has failed a number of times in the last six or seven years, so it wasn't something done overnight.
The Governor also says paying for roads out of the General Fund is not painless. That money comes from other programs. The Governor says that 24 cent gas tax will put Wyoming in the middle of the pack nationally and he doesn't see the fuel tax going any higher for the foreseeable future.
Two high- powered guns bills are waiting for debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 103 would bar cities and counties from enacting their own gun regulations and House Bill 104 would make it a felony in Wyoming to enforce stricter federal gun regulations. Both bills need to report out of that committee by Thursday the 21st or they're dead.
Meanwhile Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis told us she does not think Congress will ban assault weapons.
The Wyoming Business Alliance's Bill Schilling, who's also chairman of the Advisory Committee on Education Accountability, has written a report on the whys and wherefores of K-12 education.
The central theme in the report is Wyoming gets an "A" for education spending, but a "D+" for overall achievement ranking the state 27th nationally. We asked schilling why that was. He says we need to set goals and raise the bar to the top.
For you lottery bill watchers, the Legislature is off Monday for President's Day and that bill is not scheduled for debate on Tuesday. We'll let you know when it comes up.