Casper Legislative Members spoke on issues at the Casper Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

Around one hundred and seventy five Casperights joined together today at the Hilton Garden Inn for the first Chamber of Commerce Luncheon of 2016. The crowd enjoyed a great lunch prepared by the staff of the Hilton Garden Inn and listened to comments from eight of the twelve Casper legislatures on issues that will be brought up during the 2016 session. The main topic of the current session will be a focused look at the Budget. Casper Representative Tom Walters got the party started and stated, "I do not support a full scale Medicaid Expansion in Wyoming and I don't think it is a good idea. I do think it is time for an increase in Game and Fish license fees but I think it should be left to us as legislatures. I don's support allowing the WGFD to set their own license fees at this time." He continued to touch on Wyoming tapping into rainy day funds, and urged Wyoming and other legislatures to use caution. "We don't know how long this downturn will last and we need to take a cautious approach." ​ Senator Bill Landen then took the torch and commented, "We all just finished up eight months of hard work out of session and their is still more work to be done. I do not support Medicaid Expansion." Senator Landen also touched on the WGFD and felt that a funding stream for the game and fish may be needed. ​ "We need to pay attention to the needs of the game and fish, they are an important investment in our state. As for rainy day funds, we need to be very careful when looking into this." ​ "A very bad idea, I am strongly opposed to this, " commented Senator Charles Scott, in reference to Medicaid Expansion. "I am opposed to this for two reasons. One, the Federal Government promises to pay everything, and it really does not do anything good for the subscribers." Mr. Scott also brought up issues with the Federal OSHA program, and felt that for Wyoming's safety, it would be better if we disconnected from the Federal OSHA program. ​ Next up, Senator Jim Anderson discussed the 'wars' Wyoming is facing including: - The War on Coal. - The War on Oil. - The War on Agriculture. "We are facing a war on every front. We have the weakest agriculture exports in the past 44 years." Anderson also touched on the WGFD and felt that the legislature needs to support the WGFD and get out of the way and let the game and fish do what they do. ​ Casper Representative, Tom Lockhart stepped in and agreed with the other legislature's views on Medicaid Expansion. He felt that there was no need for increased license fees from the WGFD. Representative Carl Loucks felt that during this legislative session, the leaders have three options to consider. - We can raise taxes. - Spend our savings. - Make Cuts. ​ "I see a combination of all three, and this session will make us all much more accountable. We need to spend the majority of our time on the budget." ​ The Medicaid Expansion topic was once again not supported by Representative Tom Reeder, who commented, "We need to cut things. Plain and simple. It is time that we be responsible and get back to our budgets and then live by them. It's going to be a tough road, but it is time we get behind it and do it." Concluding the session, Representative Kendell Kroeker, stepped in and expressed his position against Medicaid Expansion in Wyoming and felt that the cutting government spending was key to helping out the rainy day fund. ​ "We need to take a good hard look at the programs we are funding in Wyoming and see what can be cut." Following the words for the Legislatures questions were asked and answered and the legislatures were asked about two bills coming up in the session. Including the possibility of raising the minimum wage to $9.15 and prohibiting certain interview questions during a work interview. The Senators and Representatives did not feel that these two issues would get very far during this session. To contact the Representatives and Senators please click HERE . #oilcity #news