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State Briefs


July 4, 2019

Jackson man confirmed to Interior slot

JACKSON (WNE) — A Jackson Hole man breezed through his U.S Senate confirmation on Thursday to fill a high post in Washington, D.C., overseeing the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Rob Wallace was confirmed unanimously as the next U.S. Department of Interior’s assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, becoming the first Senate-confirmed nominee in that job in eight years. He’ll answer to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who lauded the Senate’s approval.

“I look forward to working with him in his new capacity to advance the President’s agenda,” Bernhardt said in a statement.

Sen. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican who has known and worked with Wallace for 35 years, spoke fondly of the Teton Village resident shortly after the Thursday vote on the Senate floor.

“Without question, Rob is the right person for the job,” Barrasso said. “Throughout his long and distinguished career, Rob has struck the proper balance between wildlife management, habitat management and the use of our public lands.”

Wallace is a veteran of federal employment, putting in time early in his career as a Grand Teton National Park climbing ranger. In the following three decades, he had stints as a chief of staff and a legislative aide for former Wyoming Sen. Malcolm Wallop, worked as a chief of staff to former Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer, and worked on legislative issues at the Park Service under Interior Secretary Donald Hodel.

There was broad bipartisan support for Wallace’s nomination, including from conservation-oriented groups such as the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and the National Parks Conservation Association.

Legislators reject statewide gaming commission

GILLETTE (WNE) — After spending most of Friday morning listening to testimony from law enforcement and gaming industry representatives in support of a statewide gaming commission, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources decided not to support a draft bill to create it.

Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, co-chairs of the committee and polled the group.

Driskill was one of only two of the 13 legislators who voted in favor of moving forward with the proposal.

“We’ll be back next year, and we’ll talk about what we do when we have a thousand [illegal] machines,” he said after the vote.

As it was written, the draft bill called for the creation of a commission to regulate gaming across Wyoming and authorize local law enforcement to ban certain types of gaming.

Games of skill are allowed under Wyoming statute, while games of chance are illegal. But if someone from out of state brings an illegal game and puts it in a Wyoming bar, it could take a while for law enforcement to catch up.

Charles Moore, executive director of the Wyoming Pari-Mutuel Commission, said he gets five to 10 calls a week from people wanting to know about different types of gaming, who to call and how to get licensed, as well as complaints about a certain machine in a bar.

He said his staff refers the calls to local law enforcement or the state Attorney General’s Office, which in turn refer people back to the Pari-Mutuel Commission.

“There’s no hub, no place for people to go, the people who voted for you all, when they have questions,” Moore said.

No charges to be filed in June traffic death

SHERIDAN (WNE) — Deputy County and Prosecuting Attorney Christopher LaRosa filed a motion in Sheridan County Circuit Court on Friday indicating that no charges would be filed against Angela Marie Livingston.

According to initial reports, Livingston had stopped in the middle of the road during a verbal altercation with a male and female riding a motorcycle June 9 near Brundage and Connor streets in Sheridan. During the argument, Livingston’s husband exited the vehicle and moved to the front of the vehicle. The motorcyclists reported that Livingston was looking at them when she accelerated and did not see her husband in front of the vehicle. He was struck by the Ram 2500 Livingston was driving.

The man was treated at the scene by Rocky Mountain Ambulance and Sheridan Fire-Rescue before being transported to Sheridan Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Livingston was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond at her initial hearing in Sheridan County Circuit Court earlier this month.

The motion LaRosa filed in court Friday — a motion to dismiss citation and quash order of release — indicated that “no charges are forthcoming against Ms. Livingston regarding the events of June 9, 2019.”

LaRosa said during a phone call with The Sheridan Press on Friday afternoon that there was insufficient evidence to charge Livingston for the crimes indicated at the time of her arrest.


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