Wyoming News Update

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Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

Wyo. House and Senate deadlock over local government funds

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming House and Senate remain deadlocked over how to allocate $105 million in state funds to counties and local governments.

A conference committee of lawmakers failed to agree on a proposed distribution formula on Tuesday night.

Senate President Phil Nicholas, a Laramie Republican, didn't appoint a new negotiating team on Wednesday. Lawmakers say it remains unclear how the issue will be resolved.

The House team on Tuesday objected to provisions of the Senate's proposed distribution formula that would give a greater share of the funds to so-called hardship communities that have limited tax revenues. The Senate proposal would reduce funding for Casper and other larger cities.

Both the House and the Senate agree with taking the local government funding out of the state's $1.8-billion "rainy day" fund.

Wyoming GOP energized to take part in presidential race

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming Republicans energized by strong turnout for precinct caucuses look to carry that momentum to the county conventions, where 12 delegates will be chosen for the presidential contest.

If turnout at GOP precinct caucuses Tuesday in Laramie County is any indication, Republican voters in Wyoming are motivated like no time in recent memory. Almost 800 people lined up to crowd inside Laramie County Community College.

That's more than twice as many people as local officials were expecting. Caucus-goers appeared to lean toward Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Republican officials even report heavy turnout as far afield as tiny Lysite, where 11 of the town's 50 or so people showed up to caucus Monday.

The county conventions held statewide on March 12 will select 12 delegates and 12 alternates.

House approves amended student privacy bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The state House has approved a bill that would prohibit teachers and school officials from prying into students' private personal social media accounts.

Representatives voted 36-22 Wednesday for the bill, which had passed the Senate earlier. However, the House made changes to the proposal that the Senate must approve before it can be sent on to the governor.

Under the bill, school district employees could not require a student to provide his or her login information for access to private emails, text messages or other social media belonging to the student. School officials would have to ask parents first in order to gain access to a student's private social media account or cellphone.

The bill also seeks to protect data that has identifying information about individual students.

DAY AT THE LEGISLATURE

Developments at the Wyoming Legislature

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Developments at the Wyoming Legislature on March 2, the 18th day of the 2016 budget session:

PROPERTY: The Senate defeated a bill that would have called on law enforcement to return property to crime victims as soon as possible if a photograph of the property would be enough to prosecute a criminal case against a suspect.

OSHA PENALTIES: The Senate president signed a final version of a bill that would increase penalties for violations of workplace safety regulations in the state. The bill now heads to the governor.

SPEED LIMITS: The House gave final approval to a bill that would increase the speed limit on some state highways to 70 mph.

STATE PRISON: The House gave final approval to a bill that calls for legislative oversight of how to address structural problems at the state penitentiary in Rawlins.

Cheyenne man on probation for child abuse lashes out at dog

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A Cheyenne man on probation for child abuse has decided not to challenge his new charge of felony animal cruelty.

25-year-old man is currently on probation for striking his 3-year-old son about a year ago. He said in court that he lost his temper and hit the boy after the toddler threw a tantrum.

According to court documents, the man threw a newspaper at his girlfriend's 6-pound Chihuahua from about 5 feet away because the dog relieved itself in the house.

He pleaded no contest to the animal cruelty charge in district court last Thursday. The plea avoids admitting guilt but has the same effect as a guilty plea.

Court documents indicate that he has a chance of staying on probation after the animal cruelty charge.

Woman who stole from Casper Youth Baseball gets prison

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A Casper woman who failed to pay restitution after embezzling from Casper Youth Baseball is headed to prison.

Judge Catherine Wilking rejected lighter sentencing recommendations from attorneys on both sides and sentenced Caitlyn Jo Tolliver on Wednesday to 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 years in prison.

Tolliver was an office manager for Casper Youth Baseball when she used the organization's funds to make personal purchases and issue herself additional paychecks over a span of nine months.

Wilking sentenced Tolliver in August to five years of supervised probation, but did so begrudgingly.

The judge also ordered her to pay $35,000 in restitution, although prosecutors at the time said police believed Tolliver stole closer to $65,000 from the organization.

Sentencing in Hitching Post arson case pushed back

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The sentencing for a New Jersey man charged in a 2010 arson fire that destroyed the landmark Hitching Post Inn in Cheyenne has been postponed for the second time.

Falgun Dharia was supposed to be sentenced Friday in federal court in New York. A prosecutor assigned to the case says his sentencing is now set for June 3.

Dharia is charged with conspiring to commit insurance fraud in connection with the September 2010 fire.

Dharia was a principal in CJM Hospitality LLC, which bought the Hitching Post at a bankruptcy proceeding. Prosecutors say the blaze was set to defraud an insurance company of $13 million.

Dharia has admitted to knowing about the arson when filing an insurance claim, but denies responsibility for the fire.

2 who died after Diversion Dam fall identified

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) - Authorities have identified two Wind River Indian Reservation residents who died after falling about 40 feet from a bridge at a Wyoming dam.

17-year-old Tab Noline and 46-year-old Virginia Perry-Noline died Friday. Their obituaries say they were mother and son.

Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen has ordered toxicology tests for both victims, but no autopsies have been scheduled.

Investigators have not yet been able to determine how the two fell from the Diversion Dam bridge, which is about 35 miles northwest of Riverton.

Stratmoen says it appears the incident was accidental.

Fremont County Search and Rescue crews along with Wind River police and the county sheriff's office had responded to the area and helped recover both bodies.

An investigation remains ongoing.

Wyoming 2016 football schedule is set

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming's football schedule for this fall is now complete in terms of opponents and dates.

The Cowboys open at home against Northern Illinois on Sept. 3. They travel to Nebraska the next week and then return home against UC Davis on Sept. 17.

The Pokes spend the next two weeks on the road at Eastern Michigan and Colorado before returning to Laramie to face Air Force on Oct. 8.

Wyoming has a bye week on Oct. 15, followed by a road game at Nevada and two straight home games against Boise State and Utah.

The Cowboys go to UNLV on Nov. 12, return home on Nov. 19 against San Diego State and the closed out the season at New Mexico on Nov. 26. Game times will be set later

Wyoming will play Illinois in football

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming will play at Illinois of the Big Ten Conference in Champaign, Illinois, on Sept. 17, 2022.

It will be the first meeting in football between the Cowboys and the Fighting Illini. Illinois will be the eighth member of the Big Ten Conference that Wyoming will have faced in its history.

The Cowboys have previously played current Big Ten members Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Before to its 2022 trip to Illinois, Wyoming is scheduled to play at Big Ten members Nebraska this coming Sept. 10 and Iowa on Sept. 2, 2017.