Better Wyoming conducted a series of interviews on important state issues throughout 2016. Below is an interview with Bill Henderson.
Do you support the proposed transfer of federal public lands to state management or ownership?
HB 209, the Transfer of Federal Lands (TFL) was considered and passed the House (36-22-2) and timed out in the Senate during the 2015 session. I’m a strong supporter of our state sovereignty and state rights. I have questions on process management, proceeds, access and property rights and am continuing to learn more about the transfer of federal lands.
Do you support raising the state minimum wage of $5.15 per hour, which is the lowest in the nation?
I’m open to having a conversation on raising the state minimum wage. With a rising cost of living, and when a person’s wage stays fixed, the real value of the wage declines over time. In effect there’s a “pay cut” year over year. So we need to consider when, how and how much.
We should also respect the dialogue between employee and employer. As a supporter of the free market and limited government, I believe a fair question is: How do we protect from abuse? In Wyoming, employers want to keep good employees and they pay accordingly. It seems more about having a starting wage for the employee rather than a minimum. Many employers pay above the current minimum so market effect is in play.
What are the biggest challenges ahead for the Legislature to curb state spending?
Our governor executed significant across-the-board budget cuts just weeks out of our last budget session–how can that happen? The governor also warns state department heads more cuts may be required. We must get our fiscal house in order. We must prioritize people and jobs across Wyoming ahead of “blank check” spending projects. Having said that, we need a plan for our state LSRA (Rainy Day Fund). I would like to help develop legislation, as necessary, for procedures to use and maintain our state rainy day fund.
Please explain your position on Medicaid expansion, which the Legislature has rejected four years in a row.
Many people in Wyoming consider the federal government the problem, not the solution-–consider the not-so-affordable ACA. Another problem is that Medicaid expansion is a short-term action that arguably does little to solve a long-term problem–access to healthcare. Having health insurance does not guarantee access to healthcare.
We need a solution for Wyoming that supports a well-run state Medicaid program that’s cost-effectively administered and provides assistance to those who need help. I’ve met with key leaders, including: Department of Health Director Tom Forslund and Terri Green, Wyoming State Agent for Medicaid, healthcare providers, doctors and nurses (ER, hospitals and clinics). Wyoming is now spending $1.66 billion (state share of 50/50 Medicaid) for 85,000 people involving over 3 million transactions. How much will Wyoming actually be required to pay for the state share (10 percent) of incremental costs of expansion for an initially estimated 20,000? An incremental cost share that will be ongoing indefinitely and could likely increase.
Let’s also be open to helping our people with access to affordable care by investing in state health infrastructure. We should look closer at Tele-Health and promote primary care clinics like the UW Family Medicine Residency Program in Cheyenne. We have a shortage of primary care physicians.
The issue is access to healthcare. Helping people with access to timely primary care can help lower the cost of healthcare. Medicaid expansion died in the Senate and the House never got to vote on it this year, which is a shame because another year passes without a solution. I am looking forward to that discussion. As a priority I will fight for a solution that serves all people with good access to affordable healthcare in Wyoming.
Bill Henderson answered a 2016 survey by WyWatch, a conservative nonprofit unaffiliated with Better Wyoming. Unfortunately, the WyWatch website is no longer available, but Better Wyoming had downloaded his responses and provide them here as a public service.
Many states are passing legislation banning abortions where an unborn child is ripped apart limb by limb by a dismemberment procedure. Would you sponsor or co-sponsor and willingly support such legislation if you are elected?
Would sponsor or co-sponsor.
Knowing that the abortion recording laws in Wyoming are not enforced due to the lack of penalties for failure to report, would you sponsor or co-sponsor and support legislation to enhance penalties for failure to report abortions in Wyoming?
Would sponsor or co-sponsor.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification (SOGI) laws are actively being used across the country to silence those who have religious convictions opposing same-sex marriage. If elected to office do you support or oppose SOGI laws?
Do you support or oppose a parent’s right to homeschool their children without any government interference?
Do you support or oppose national standardized tests forcing teachers at all local levels to teach to a national standard, therefore creating a national curriculum without parental or local school board control?
Do you support or oppose legislation to teach the Bible in public schools not as a theology course but as an elective for history, literature, social studies, etc.?
Do you support or oppose legislation that would give a business owner (photographer, baker, wedding planner, etc.) the ability to refuse to participate in a same-sex union in Wyoming?
Do you support or oppose legislation opening the doors of a female restroom to “anyone” claiming to “feel” like a female at that particular moment, therefore endangering the safety and security of women and children?
What actions would you be willing to take in order to protect all women and children in restrooms and locker rooms in the state of Wyoming if you are elected?
“Safety and privacy of women and children in such public rooms must be assured. Upgrading security devices/procedures is a start.”
Do you support or oppose any state, federal or local Medicaid taxes funding Planned Parenthood in Wyoming or in the United States?