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Letter To The Editor: SF104 disrespects the voters

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 31st, 2013

Editor's note: This letter has been edited for length.

Who are we? We are voters from the last state wide election.  We aren't a lot unlike the over 250,000 other voters who cast their ballot for Superintendent of Public Instruction. SF104 overturned our votes.

Something frightening is going on in Wyoming. Legislators who voted to strip a duly elected State  official of all but a few insignificant duties and responsibilities believe they are superior to the voters  and disregard the Constitution. Where is our democracy?

SF104 was not the product of careful interim committee study.  There were no meetings around the state to gather public input.  It was not part of a government reorganization study.  This was sprung on legislators at the outset of the 2013 session.  Until the media brought attention to it, it was kept quiet.  Speaker Tom Lubnau did not refer the measure to the House Education Committee, but it was referred to an unrelated committee — House Appropriations – a committee comprised of those Speaker Lubnau could be sure would pass it out of committee. The Appropriations committee held one hearing on the bill and took three hours of testimony.  Five people, friends of Hank Coe through Leadership Wyoming, testified in favor of the bill. The rest of the allocated time was taken by citizens opposed to the bill, who flooded the hearing room, spilled out into the halls and occupied an overflow hearing room.  By the account of all legislators, they received hundreds of calls against the bill and very few in favor.  Legislators reported there was intimidation going on to vote for SF104, including threats that legislators would be taken off committees or not get committee assignments and would not get bills advanced to the floor.  The bill was rushed through in record time, not through a deliberative process.Several things happen when legislators do not respect the voters: They stop listening to the voters, they  think they know more than the voters about what is best for the state, they manipulate legislative processes and they use intimidation to get their way.

Why does this happen?  It’s about character.  Those who don't listen are not statesmen.  They are about the acquisition and abuse of power.  The elite can say what will or will not happen in Wyoming.  These legislators engaged in intimidation of other legislators and lied about Superintendent Hill,  all with the blessing of an ambitious agenda-driven Governor.

Kerry and Clara Powers


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