March | April 2017



Wyoming Governor Signs Lottery Bill

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead in March signed House Bill 77 into law, allowing the creation of a state lottery corporation, the Casper Star Tribune reported.
“This is a way to keep Wyoming money in Wyoming,” Mead said. “Right now we are seeing many people cross the border and spending their dollars in out-of state businesses. I want to keep those dollars here.”
After the law takes effect July 1, Mead will appoint a nine-member board to oversee the lottery corporation, according to a press release issued by his office. The board will be responsible for hiring the corporation’s CEO, who will be responsible for recommending budget items and personnel.
While the state is facing budget cuts and the loss of Abandoned Mine Lands reclamation money, a lottery would bring much-needed revenue to the state, Mead said.
The lottery is expected to generate profits up to $6 million. Those funds will be distributed to cities, towns and counties. Anything beyond that amount will be put toward education, according to the Casper Star Tribune. After six years, the legislature will assess how the money is being spent.
Mead has publicly stated his hesitation to create a state lottery and has promised to observe the social impacts of the lottery.
“This is a form of gambling and I commit to keeping a close eye on any social impacts of the lottery when it gets up and running to see if there are ways to address those,” Mead said.
It is expected to take up to one year before Wyoming residents will be able to purchase lottery tickets. The lottery board will determine whether the state will set up its own game, participate in a multi-state lottery or choose both options.
California Sen. Mark Leno in March introduced a bill to extend the last call for alcohol until 4 a.m. in some cities, the Los Angeles Times reported. The state currently permits the sale of alcohol from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. in bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Leno believes the extension would allow cities to expand their night life, providing an economic boost to the state through increased jobs, tourism and sales.
The New Mexico House in March passed House Bill 465 that would reduce certain marijuana possession penalties, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. Under the bill, possession of up to 4 ounces would be reduced to a civil penalty with fines. It also would eliminate potential jail time for possession of any amount up to 8 ounces. Under current state law, possession of any amount of marijuana has the potential for jail time.
Nevada Sen. Donald Gustavson in March introduced legislation to raise the maximum speed limit on Nevada freeways from 75 to 85 mph, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Gustavson said studies show more people are killed in 45 mph zones than on high-speed thoroughfares. His theory was backed by state Department of Transportation Assistant Director Tom Greco, who said during testimony in March before the Senate Transportation Committee that most fatalities occur on rural, two-lane roads.
The Montana House in March shot down a measure intended to protect the social media privacy of employees and potential employees. Under Senate Bill 195, employers would have been banned from requesting usernames and passwords, The Associated Press reported. The bill passed easily in the Senate, but did not make it out of the House Business and Labor Committee.
The Arizona House in March passed House Bill 2533, a measure that would allow cities to run public notices on their own websites instead of in newspapers, as current law requires. Proponents of the bill argue that cities would save money and make notices easier to find, the Arizona Republic reported. Opponents argue it would be a step backward in government transparency by removing the impartial third-party role played by newspapers.