Religious schools of all denominations will be able to receive taxpayer money under Wyoming's proposed "education savings account" program. (Image: Josh Reynolds for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Session preview: Wyo. lawmakers want to send taxpayer money to schools with no accountability

Public schools are overseen by boards elected by their communities. But more and more Wyoming legislators want to divert public education funding to “education savings accounts” that fund private, religious, and home school operations with no oversight or accountability—a model that has failed in other Western states.
Wyoming teachers have been leaving the profession at historic rates in part because their salaries have remained flat while the cost of living rises.

Session preview: Facing a lawsuit, Wyo. legislators look to increase teacher pay

Lawmakers are looking to reverse years of K-12 budget cuts in hopes of convincing the Wyoming Supreme Court to look kindly upon them in June, when the court will hear arguments in a lawsuit brought by the state teachers union and several school districts. A committee has proposed a $68 million funding increase aimed at providing teachers raises in hopes that the court will rule that they have met their constitutional obligation to properly fund schools.
Providing relief to those who actually need it will be among lawmakers' biggest challenges.

Session preview: Somehow, some way, Wyo. property tax relief is coming

Although Wyoming has among the nation’s lowest property tax rates, sharp increases in home values have driven up tax bills to the point where relief has become politically unavoidable. Will the Legislature manage to enact it without gutting funding for public services or giving the state’s ultra-wealthy residents an undue handout?
More than 90 percent of the Department of Health's budget passes through to local communities.

Wyo. Dept. of Health to face funding challenges during 2024 session

State lawmakers gutted the health agency in 2021 to the tune of $100 million in cuts, but then restored much of the funding using federal pandemic aid dollars. Now, the federal funds are expiring, and legislators will decide whether to backfill the agency’s funding or let the deep cuts return to mental health programs, senior services, provider reimbursement, and more.
Long travel for medical care is always time consuming and costly, but for some people who need treatment it's simply impossible.

REPORT: Distance to care and lack of transportation prevent Wyomingites from accessing healthcare

For many Wyoming residents, going out of state for healthcare is a familiar, if troublesome and expensive exercise. For folks without reliable transportation, huge distances to doctors can prove a serious threat when they need medical help.
Without other resources for support, many Wyomingites suffering from mental illness turn to self-medication.

REPORT: Sputtering mental health efforts in Wyoming are not enough

The problems of mental illness, suicide, and substance abuse have plagued Wyoming communities for decades. Lawmakers have taken baby steps in recent years to address the issues, but according to most state residents, much more must be done.
Many Wyomingites skip primary care visits because they cost too much, only to end up in the ER—with much higher bills

REPORT: Wyoming’s sky-high insurance and treatment costs are residents’ number one healthcare concern

Nearly half of people who responded to Better Wyoming surveys named affordability the number one healthcare issue for them and their families. Meanwhile, a new report confirms that the cost of care in Wyoming is nearly the highest in the nation. While other states enact laws to increase price transparency and decrease uninsured rates, Wyoming lawmakers have done little.
One third of survey responders said lack of healthcare providers was the most pressing healthcare problem in their Wyoming community.

REPORT: Wyoming's physician shortage is a serious concern

Everybody knows that Wyoming is a rural state, and so we can’t expect to have every kind of specialist. But we should be able to expect better than what we’ve got.
Wyoming politicians hoard money instead of offering market rates to state workers. As a result, we all pay.

Stingy lawmakers leave Wyoming stranded

Dozens of snowplow driver positions remain vacant because the Wyoming Legislature refuses to fund WYDOT enough to pay competitive wages. Thanks to their stinginess, we can all expect closed roads as winter approaches.
Older people are Wyoming's fastest growing demographic, and many communities don't have the resources to care for them.

Can Wyoming care for its aging population?

A new report demonstrates the healthcare and other challenges Wyoming’s seniors face, showing a rapidly aging state without the infrastructure needed to care for our 65+ residents. But the report also offers boatloads of data that can help policymakers find solutions.
Before threatening to strike, some ambulance workers earned less than fast food employees.

Fremont Co. EMS workers show the power and benefits of organized labor

Tired of dismal pay and awful conditions, workers for the company that provides ambulance services to Fremont County organized and took action. Their success winning better pay and jobs can be an inspiration for others around Wyoming.
Losing health coverage can mean interrupting care for life-threatening illness.

SAVE OUR CHILDREN: Wyo. lawmakers allow thousands of kids to lose healthcare coverage

Wyoming lawmakers—many of whom often claim to want to “save our children”—are standing by as a bureaucratic boondoggle strips 7,500 kids of their Medicaid health insurance.