Wyoming Education Reform Bill Clears Legislature

Marion Herbert's picture
Friday, March 9, 2012

It came down to the final day and an unusual closed-door meeting by the entire House of Representatives, but the Legislature approved an education overhaul bill continuing Wyoming’s effort to help better prepare its public school students.

Senate File 57, which now goes to Gov. Matt Mead for his approval, was one of the last bills acted on by the Legislature before it adjourned Thursday evening.

The overall proposal starts to establish the nuts and bolts of an education overhaul process initiated by the 2011 Legislature. Lawmakers say the effort probably will require additional work by the Legislature next year.

“Everything we’re doing here is a work in progress,” said Sen. Hank Coe, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

The bill won Senate approval on a 27-3 vote, and then passed the House 38-18.

However, the overwhelming majorities belied what Coe, R-Cody, described as an “alley fight” over differences between the versions of the bill that came out of both chambers earlier in the session.

A conference committee composed of members from each chamber haggled into Wednesday evening over the measure before coming back Thursday morning and settling on a compromise version.

After the Senate approved the compromise measure, the entire House took the unusual step of meeting behind closed doors in a large Capitol committee hearing room outside its chamber to discuss the revised bill before approving it on the floor without debate. The Legislature is exempt from the state open meetings law.

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