Wyoming governor: There will be no mask order
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon says there will be no statewide mask order despite record-high reported cases of the coronavirus. Gordon’s remarks Tuesday follow a two-week extension of public health orders that prohibit most gatherings of over 250 people. Neighboring Montana and Colorado have instituted statewide mask-wearing orders amid a summertime surge in the virus. Wyoming stays with Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota by continuing to rely on people to wear masks on their own. Wyoming recorded 64 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, the most on any day since the pandemic began.
LAWSUIT CAMPAIGNING RESTRICTIONS
Wyoming libertarian group sues to campaign near poll centers
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s leading libertarian think tank is suing the state for the right to campaign near polling centers. The Casper Star-Tribune reports the Wyoming Liberty Group will sue state Secretary of State Ed Buchanan and several Laramie County officials. The state currently prohibits campaigning of any kind within 100 yards of a polling place and within 100 feet of absentee polling locations. The law is intended to prevent voter intimidation. Similar restrictions are in place in every U.S. state. The libertarian advocacy group argues that the size of the buffer zones restricts free speech. A spokesman for Buchanan was not immediately available for comment.
Wyoming to distribute 500,000 face masks to schools
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming officials plan to distribute 500,000 face masks to school districts around the state to help schools reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. State officials said Monday the cloth face coverings will be washable and help school districts to meet safety standards for reopening schools this fall. The Wyoming Department of Health and Wyoming Office of Homeland Security obtained the face masks through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Schools will get the face masks in early August. State health officials urge people to use face masks in public where it’s not possible or reasonable for people to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart.
New acting director named for Wyoming Corrections
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Corrections has a new acting director. Gov. Mark Gordon said in a statement that deputy director Dan Shannon would replace Bob Lampert, who announced his retirement this week after serving as director since 2003. KTWO-AM radio reports Shannon has 34 years of experience in corrections and has been with the department since 2007. Lampert retired after a 46-year career in corrections, starting in 1974 in the Marine Corps in military police corrections. He also served with the Texas Department Criminal Justice and worked in Oregon before coming to Wyoming.
Trump administration agreement gives more help to US uranium
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Two U.S. government agencies have agreed to keep state regulators primarily in charge of regulating groundwater pollution from uranium mining. It’s the latest move by President Donald Trump’s administration to bolster the ailing domestic uranium industry. The agreement was signed in Wyoming, the top uranium-producing state, and says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency won’t stipulate how uranium mines should comply with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements. The commission has agreements giving 39 states including Wyoming primary oversight of uranium mining. The EPA under President Barack Obama was poised to take over groundwater regulation at uranium mines, a proposal rescinded under Trump.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MASK PUSHBACK
As mask rules get tighter in U.S. West, opposition gets loud
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana county became the latest battleground in the debate over face masks after residents pushed back against stricter rules in a virtual face-off with local health officials. The scene in Gallatin County located near Yellowstone National Park echoed confrontations seen in other Western states. Local officials moved to impose new mask rules to fight rising infections, only to be met with defiance from those who say the Constitution shields them from the “medical tyranny” of health mandates. That didn’t keep health officials from approving measures that go further than a statewide rule handed down last week.