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Week One: Wyoming State Legislature‏

Greetings WAC Community,























God be merciful to us and bless us; look on us with kindness so that the whole world may know your will, so that all nations may know your salvation. – Psalms 67:1-2

First, Happy Valentine’s Day!  Instead of saying, “Be my Valentine,” say  “I am your Valentine,” as I heard one of the saints for whom this day honors did, by signing a note, “I am your Valentine.”  In other words, don’t ask to be loved, but to love another.

What a week this past week was!

  1. February 7-10:  39 Native Americans from the Wind River Reservation came to Cheyenne for Native Advocacy Days to learn more about and observe the state legislative process and to make their voices heard.  They met with Governor Mead, attended two receptions and became engaged in the governmental process.  2016 Native Advocacy Days was made possible through a grant from the Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming.  Thanks to the First United Methodist Church in Cheyenne for lunch on Wednesday and to the Wind River Casino for dinner on Tuesday night following the Northern Arapaho legislator reception.

  2. February 8:  An estimated 150 attended a rally to show support of Medicaid expansion in Wyoming at the Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne.  Governor Mead, Rev. Dee Lundberg, Rev. Rodger McDaniel, Dr. Jean Halpern, Bri Jones with the Equality State Policy Center  and Jason Baldes and 15-year-old Wolfstar Duran with the Wind River Native Advocacy Center were among those who spoke.    There was great media coverage in theCheyenne Tribune-Eagle and the Casper Star Tribune.  See the list of organizations below that support Medicaid expansion now having increased considerably in the last few years.

  3. February 11:  Two bills that the Wyoming Association of Churches supported failed to get the required 2/3 vote for introduction:

  4. HB 109 – Sentencing enhancement for crimes motivated by bias, a modification of past efforts for hate crimes legislation.  We had 550 petition signatures in support.  Unfortunately, we had little lead time between when the bill was filed and available for viewing until it was considered.

  5. HB 115 – Repeal of Wyoming’s death penalty.  This was the same bill as was introduced in 2015 and can be expected to come back in 2017.  It appears to be gradually gaining support in Wyoming as people learn the flaws of the death penalty.

  6. February 12:  HB 47 on refugee resettlement plan for Wyoming was heard before the House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee.  I testified on behalf of the Wyoming Association Churches letting them know of WAC’s support for developing a plan that would provide the safeguards and support while being welcoming to a small number of refugees coming to Wyoming.

Needed:  more vocal support of Medicaid expansion.   Don’t give up.  Don’t be the silent majority who do support Medicaid expansion in Wyoming.  This year is our best chance to date because of the budget shortfall.  It’s right for Wyoming.

This week contact your State Senators (see the email list below) and ask that they amend the budget bill to put Medicaid expansion back into the budget that the Joint Appropriations Committee removed from the Governor’s budget.  Oppose Senator Scott’s proposed SF 86 which is has been tried before and didn’t work.

Main talking points for Medicaid expansion:

  1. Would cover 20,000 of our neighbors now without the benefit of Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act.

  2. Would allow acceptance of federal funds to avoid drastic cuts in education, social programs and infrastructure for our towns and cities.

  3. Would support struggling community hospitals by covering uncompensated care rather than by our local tax dollars and higher health care costs for those who are insured.

  4. 31 states have adopted it, including Utah, Montana and Colorado.

Medicaid expansion has lots of supporters.  Alphabetically, they are:

  1. American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

  2. American Heart Association

  3. Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

  4. Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employee’s Division

  5. Casper Chamber of Commerce

  6. Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce

  7. Consumer Advocates for Project Healthcare

  8. Equality State Policy Center

  9. Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce

  10. League of Women Voters – Wyoming

  11. The Nature Conservancy

  12. Sierra Club Chapter of Wyoming

  13. United Steelworkers Local 13214

  14. Wind River Native Advocacy Center

  15. Wyoming AARP

  16. Wyoming Association of Churches

  17. Wyoming Association of Municipalities

  18. Wyoming Business Alliance

  19. Wyoming Business Coalition on Health

  20. Wyoming County Commissioners Association

  21. Wyoming Education Association

  22. Wyoming Hospital Association

  23. Wyoming Lodging and Retail Association

  24. Wyoming Medical Society

  25. Wyoming Multiple Sclerosis Association

  26. Wyoming Nurses Association

  27. Wyoming Primary Care Association

  28. Wyoming Psychological Association

  29. Wyoming Public Employees Association

  30. Wyoming State Chambers of Commerce

Wyoming State Senators’ email addresses:  (Don’t delay, contact today!)

Jameslee.Anderson@wyoleg.gov

Paul.Barnard@wyoleg.gov

Eli.Bebout@wyoleg.gov

Brian.Boner@wyoleg.gov

Bruce.Burns@wyoleg.gov

Cale.Case@wyoleg.gov

Leland.Christensen@wyoleg.gov

Hank.Coe@wyoleg.gov

Stan.Cooper@wyoleg.gov

Bernadine.Craft@wyoleg.gov

Dan.Dockstader@wyoleg.gov

Ogden.Driskill@wyoleg.gov

Fred.Emerich@wyoleg.gov

Floyd.Esquibel@wyoleg.gov

Gerald.Geis@wyoleg.gov

John.Hastert@wyoleg.gov

Larry.Hicks@wyoleg.gov

Wayne.Johnson@wyoleg.gov

Dave.Kinskey@wyoleg.gov

Bill.Landen@wyoleg.gov

Curt.Meier@wyoleg.gov

Phil.Nicholas@wyoleg.gov

Stephan.Pappas@wyoleg.gov

Drew.Perkins@wyoleg.gov

Ray.Peterson@wyoleg.gov

Tony.Ross@wyoleg.gov

Chris.Rothfuss@wyoleg.gov

Charles.Scott@wyoleg.gov

Michael.VonFlatern@wyoleg.gov

Jeff.Wasserburger@wyoleg.gov

Questions?  Email me at chesie@wyochurches.org.  Cell phone: 307-761-0755

For more information about Medicaid expansion, go to www.healthywyoming.org. You may also sign onto a petition at that site.  Healthy Wyoming is the coalition that the Wyoming Association of Churches is working with to advocate for Medicaid expansion.

If you are not sure who your state representative and senator are or how to contact them, go to http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LSOWEB/LegInfo.aspx and find out.

Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.



Blessings,

Chesie

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