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February 27, 2014     The Sundance Times
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February 27, 2014
 

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Opinions Thursday, February 27, 2014 A simple fix to a costly mistake BY CINDY HILL people's vote is undermined. SFI04 stripped benefit of Wyoming children and are required, SFI04. After all, those laws would apply equally The leadership of the Wyoming legislature is struggling to understand the Wyoming Supreme Court's decision finding SF 104 unconstitutional. I have heard words like "complicated, time con- suming, difficult, and complex." I am somewhat puzzled by this alleged confusion, as I read the Court's conclusion to be clear and easily under- stood. To quote from the opinion: "The legislature has attempted to accomplish through legislation what it may do only through the constitutional amendment process of Article 20, Section 1.18. Consequently, we conclude be- yond all reasonable doubt that [SF104] is uncon- stitutional." I'm not a lawyer, but as I read the above state- ment, I draw two basic conclusions: 1) SF104 was unconstitutional, and 2) ffyou want to mod- ify the fundamental structure of government, you have to ask the people to do it through a constitutional amendment. So what is so con- fusing? Why all the delays? I have my theories, but more on that later. The longer this matter drags on, the longer the away the duties that the people of Wyoming had entrusted to me when I was elected. Despite the Supreme Court's directive, as I write this I have still not been allowed to return to the Wyoming Department of Education and resume my consti- tutional responsibilities of general supervision. Certainly the legislature and the governor made a very expensive mess when SF104 was signed into law last January. The Supreme Court cleaned up that mess. Now, instead of following the Court's guidance, there is talk of rehearings and more litigation, special legisla- tive sessions, new committees, etc. Challeng- ing the Supreme Court's decision in this man- ner will require huge expenditures of taxpayer monies. Our precious resources will be directed toward paying the lodging and travel expenses of legislators as they gather for special ses- sions. New lawyers and consultants will likely be hired as confidence is surely waning in the misguided group that originally advised on the constitutionality of SF104. Additional time and money will be further wasted as state education employees are distracted from working for the instead, to focus on responding to and prepar- ing for legal proceedings, committee hearings, and legislative requests. All of this is unnecessary. Despite the talk of complicated delays m,d difficulties, I believe correcting this mistake is easy. Let me propose three simple steps. I. End the delay tactics - First and foremost, I urge the legislature to demand that the gover- nor cease the endless appeals designed to keep me from fulfilling the duties entrusted to me by the people and our constitution. The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled and gave clear guidance. It is time to move forward. 2. Correct the statutes - This is the easiest part. SF104 appears to have been the product of a simple search-and-replace exercise where the word "superintendent" was replaced with "director." I am confident that the legislative services office can easily correct the statutes by eliminating "director" and restoring "superin- tendent." I would guess this would only take a few minutes. This same approach can be used to correct any law that was passed in reliance on to Cindy Hill as they would to Rich Crandall. 3. Transition back - This must occur immedi- ately. Shortly after SF104 was overturned, I sent the governor a letter proposing a transition plan that would allow everyone to move forward and get back to work with little delay or disruption. Although the govemor never responded to my letter, I am confident that we can all work to- gether to get back to work focusing on Wyoming children. The political gamesmanship that gave rise to SF104 is destructive and must stop. The gover- nor and each legislator took an oath to "support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the State of Wyoming." (Wyo. Const. Art. 6 Sec. 20) The Supreme Court Justices took the same oath and the Court has defined what upholding the con- stitution requires in this instance. The delays, legal maneuvering, and legislative manipulation are not only futile, but they fly in the face of the Wyoming Supreme Court's decision. The oath is to support, obey, and defend - not thwart, dis- pute, and distort. It is time to honor our Consti- tution. The people deserve nothing less. BY BILL SNIFFIN What a life! At the young age of 29, Wyoming's AAron Ontiveroz just returned from coveting the Olympics and prior to that, the Super Bowl. He also has been a photo- graphic member of a Denver Post team that has won a Pulit- zer Prize and a regional Emmy Award. AAron also has a razor-sharp sense of humor, which he shows through his blogs. Since I was involved in hir- ing AAron's dad to one of his Wyoming's Ontiveroz covers the Super Bowl, Olympics first newspaper jobs back in the 1970s, I have known young AAron his entire life. It has been quite a life to watch. Besides being an award-win- ning photographer, AAron has a good sense of humor as is shown in this blog he sent last well fed. Tortillas, beans, bacon, burritos, tacos, ham, cheese, fried pig fat for snacks, huge chunks of soggy cake soaked in whole milk, oh, and lard- lots of lard. "Duh. Lard is actually a promi- nent fixture on our family crest week from Sochi about Russian -- a big block of it sweating and food: Wehat the crap is dried meat factory production? Horse meat and beef fat, really? "I come from a long line of eaters. Real champions of gut and glut. My dad's family is not slight and they are proud to be ! st time Dish subscriber onl Credit check and 24 month contract required. Must present coupon at Prime Entertainment. -FREE INSTALLATION-- Call for current promotions. Prime Entertainment Communications 605-892-4565 l i013 US Hvvy. 212, Belie Fourche, SD i $50=00 SignOnBonus FREE FOR LIFE NETWORK M'mtml LUl mmm, t emanating all of its wisdom and glory for the ages. "Despite my family's oxygen- like attachment to food, I whole- heartedly doubt they would get all Oliver Twisty here in Russia. I do not envision any one of them, no matter how hungry, asking, lease, sir, I want some more dried meat factory production with horse meat and beef fat.' "Sorry, Russia, your food is not good. We may eat lard and pig fat and a bunch of other bodybufld- hag foods where I come from, but they don taste like theyX, e been sitting in the ffidge since the Cold War. "It's no wonder everyone here looks like an unhappy competi- five gymnast- no one could pos- sibly binge on this cuisine." Funny stuff. I have known the Ontiveroz family for a long time. I first hired AAron's dad Milton when he was a Northwest College student in Powell. He worked for me for a year in Lander where he met his future wife, Liz Trimmer. Liz's dad Harvey delivered papers to the newsstands for us. For the past 20 years, Milton has been an Institutional Communi- cation Specialist at the university in Laramie and is well -known all over the state. Young Ontiveroz graduated from Laramie High School in 2003. He is a 2008 UW graduate. AAron (the two upper case As were Liz's idea, Milton says) launched his sterling journal- ism career at Northwest. While at NWC, he had a national award- winning article for the Northwest Trail, while competing against Powe//Tr/bune, Laram/e Boomer- ang and Cheyenne Tr/bune-Eag/e. The Pulitzer came while AAron was shooting for the Post. The newspaper won for its overall coverage of the Aurora movie theater massacre. Twelve people were killed, and 58 others injured when a gunman began firing dur- ing a screening of The Dark Kn/ght R/ses in the summer of 2013. Among his other awards is a re- gional Emmy for a video he helped produced two years ago with vid- eographer Mahala Gaylord. AAron's blogs can be found at blogs.denverpost.com/ olympics/2014/02/19/sochi- 2014-winter-olympics-hey- snow/26813 / On other blogs, Onfiveroz had this to say: "Do you want to visit the coldest place on Earth? Go to southeast Wyoming and bask in the brutal cold, hair-stripping wind (it happened to me) and sun in the sky just for looks -- not such schools as Harvard. , .... functionali.'ty. ..................... Earlier, AAron worked for the "So, as it were, as they say, yada, yada, yada- what the heck, Russia? Why has it taken so long for winter to arrive at the WINTER Olympics? Why has my butt not yet frozen off? "Here, it seems everything is on what people have started referring to as Russian Time. A time frame in which a local says, 'About five minutes,' but really means 60 minutes in real time. "Who knew the Russians had the power to delay even the weath- er? Buses, yes, but an entirely unpredictable system that has miffed TV weathermen for ages? "Russia cannot medal in hockey at their own Olympics with a total hometown advantage, but put- ring a delay on an entire season ... wow, bravo. "The $50-billion games are an accomplishment all on their own, but their achievements of climate control are impressive. That's not weird at all. Just very frighten- ing." (Note: Lander's lan Lee also cov- ered the Olympics, for CNN) WINTER FIRES - SAFETY TIPS FOR THE HOME As winter weather drags on, people are turning to fireplaces and space heaters to stay warm. But all heating systems can pose a fire risk if not properly used and main- tained. The Wyoming Department of Insurance and the companies insuring Wyoming's homes want to offer these safety tips for preventing fires from various heat sources. Chimneys - The number of chimney fires reported to the Wyoming Department of Insurance this year has increased significantly over previous years. Creosote and carbon deposits can coat chimney flues and pose a fire hazard. Have your chimney and flue con- nections inspected and cleaned by a professional before each heating season each year. Give Space Heaters Space - Place space heaters at least three feet away from furniture, walls, curtains, or anything else that burns. Turn off space heaters when you leave home or go to bed. Liquid Fuel Safety - If your space heater bums a liquid fuel such as kerosene, let the heater cool down before refueling it. Refuel your heater outdoors -- where spills won't present a fire hazard -- and in a well-ventilated area. Gas Fueled Heaters - Gas heaters must always be vented to the outside and should never be installed in bedrooms, bathrooms or other small areas where carbon monoxide levels might build to dangerous levels. Check vents periodically to make sure they aren't blocked. Wood or Coal Stoves and fireplaces - Place an approved stove board under wood or coal stoves to protect your floor from heat and stray embers. Use a fire screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass to protect your home from fireplace sparks. Central Heating Systems - Have your furnace, chimneys, and chimney connec- tions inspected and serviced at least once a year by a qualified professional. For more ways to keep your home safe, contact your local fire professionals, the Wyoming Department of Insurance or your insurance agent. @ Wyoming Insurance Department http://doi,wyo.gov 1 (800) 438-5768 This public service announcement is presented and paid for by the insurance companies licensed to do business in Wyoming in cooperation with the Wyoming Insurance Department. For more information on the state's insurance companies, including financial information, visit the Insurance Department website's "Consumers" section.