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2018 News Releases

Wyoming Continues Work on Government Savings and Efficiency Projects

posted by Chris Mickey


The state of Wyoming recently signed a contract with consultants Alvarez and Marsal to continue work on government savings and efficiency projects identified last year. In 2017, the Government Savings and Efficiency Commission contracted with Alvarez and Marsal to study several areas of state government. The goal was to find potential changes to government that would result in general fund savings or ways to conduct state operations more efficiently. Results of the study were incorporated into a final report to the legislature.

Senate File 120 advances the efficiency effort and includes several recommendations from the Alvarez and Marsal report. Savings and efficiency projects are determined by the Governor with the consultation of the Commission.

“Several good recommendations came from Alvarez and Marsal’s first report and the Legislature provided me the opportunity to pursue many of them,” said Governor Matt Mead. “Wyoming will continue working towards greater efficiency and spending our dollars wisely. Streamlining government has been one of the foundations of my administration from the beginning.”

Governor Mead has identified these initial projects:

  • Integrate technology across State agencies;
  • Develop regional service centers for school districts;
  • Implement and expand shared services throughout State agencies;
  • Conduct a statewide organizational and line of service review of state operations to reveal overlapping state agency responsibilities and recommend opportunities to streamline;
  • Conduct a strategic sourcing review with the State’s procurement system and implement sourcing solutions as practical and appropriate;
  • Explore Medicaid billing for school-based special education services;
  • Establish a project management office; and
  • Other projects as approved by the Governor.

“It was important to leave room in the contract for the next Administration to evaluate the ongoing projects and determine which ones will continue, which projects to adjust and the ability to propose new projects based on their own priorities,” Governor Mead continued. “Projects need to be prioritized since they cannot be funded simultaneously.”

Alvarez and Marsal will utilize their subject matter expertise to: establish a Project Management Office, implement project management tools, develop a framework to identify and quantify savings associated with projects, assist with project execution, develop a means to monitor and report on progress and identify additional projects the state should pursue.

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Wyoming Opens Trade Office in Taiwan

posted Oct 10, 2018, 8:23 AM by Chris Mickey

Governor Matt Mead has completed a successful trade mission to Taiwan, where he opened the Wyoming – Asia Pacific Trade Office. The goal is to establish and grow trade between Wyoming and Taiwan in agriculture, manufactured goods, minerals and tourism. He was joined by a number of Wyoming legislators, agriculture producers and state leaders. The process of establishing this office and naming a trade representative was outlined during the 2018 Legislative session.

The Wyoming delegation’s activities included dinner at one of Taiwan’s top restaurants, which served Wyoming beef. The export of Wyoming beef to Taiwan is one of the goals of the trade effort.

“This was my third trip to Taiwan, and I’ve learned that people in Taiwan and the Asian Pacific region in general, love Wyoming,” said Governor Matt Mead. “They like the products that come from our state and admire Wyoming’s culture. Opening a trade office there will provide Wyoming companies many opportunities to grow in international markets starting with Taiwan and expanding into other Asian countries.”  

Wyoming agricultural companies were present in Taiwan to explore market opportunities. This included: Murraymere Farms and GF Harvest both of Powell; True Ranches of Casper; and Wyoming Malting Company of Pine Bluffs. Representatives from these companies visited wholesalers, grocers, import companies, meat processors and restaurants during their four-day trade mission. This was funded by the Wyoming Business Council and the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program, a federal initiative to increase United States exports.

The Wyoming delegation also included President of the Senate, Eli Bebout, Senator Ogden Driskill, Representatives David Miller and Bob Nicholas, Wyoming Business Council CEO, Shawn Reese, Director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Doug Miyamoto, Executive Vice President of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Jim Magagna and Business Development Assistant Director for the Wyoming Business Council, Brandon Marshall.

After a competitive process, the Wyoming Business Council (WBC) selected Chester Chu as Wyoming’s international trade representative. He helped initiate the meetings and events as part of his role in helping Wyoming companies establish a presence in Asian markets.

Chu is tasked with establishing and building relationships between Asian buyers and distributors and Wyoming businesses, assisting Wyoming exporters traveling to Asia and attending trade industry events. He will also educate Wyoming businesses on exporting to Taiwan and identify market demand that Wyoming can fulfill.

“The Business Council is working to increase Wyoming’s prosperity by helping establish international markets for our established commodities like coal and soda ash, but also food and manufactured goods,” Business Council CEO Shawn Reese said. “Besides new markets, there are many opportunities in Taiwan to increase technology, research and development, and educational exchanges.  Taiwan is a focal point for the rapidly growing Asian market that wants the kinds of products and ideas Wyoming businesses can provide.”

During the trip, Governor Mead also had the opportunity to visit Cheyenne’s sister city, Taichung City and attended several meetings and events between the Taiwanese and Wyoming’s delegation. For the attendees not part of the STEP program, most of the trip expenses were funded by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Governor's Business Forum set for November 13-15 in Cheyenne

posted Oct 8, 2018, 3:38 PM by Chris Mickey


Governor Matt Mead will kick off the 2018 Governor's Business Forum, which takes place November 13-15 at the Little America Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne. This year's forum focuses on how Wyoming can chart a new course by pioneering technology frontiers, pursuing international trade and looking for ways to revolutionize the way the state does business.

"Wyoming must evaluate ways to strengthen, diversify and expand its economy," said Governor Mead.  "This forum provides a chance to discuss opportunities for Wyoming to improve the lives of our future generations. It also brings together business leaders from all over the state to foster collaboration, share best business practices and network with new and old colleagues."

The Wyoming Business Alliance and the Wyoming Heritage Foundation will co-host the Governor's Business Forum. The 2018 forum includes nationally recognized speakers such as best-selling author and tech pioneer Michael Rogers, national fiscal experts Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene and author Sam Western. There will also be a panel discussion with Governor Mead, past Wyoming Governors and legislative leadership who will provide insight for the upcoming 2019 legislative session.

"Cutting-edge technologies like cryptocurrency, blockchain and advanced robotics will change how Wyoming industries do business," said Cindy DeLancey, President of the Wyoming Business Alliance/Wyoming Heritage Foundation. "To stay relevant and competitive, Wyoming needs to better understand the opportunities and challenges we are facing, so we can decide how to move forward."

A banquet on November 14th will be a celebration of this year’s winner of the Daniels Fund Ethical Leadership Award, a joint venture among the Wyoming Business Alliance, the Daniels Fund and the University of Wyoming College of Business.

For more information and to register, please go to www.wyomingbusinessalliance.com.

Wyoming Becomes "Agreement-State" Giving Authority to License and Inspect Mining and Milling of Uranium in State

posted Sep 25, 2018, 11:37 AM by Chris Mickey   [ updated Oct 4, 2018, 8:55 AM ]


CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Today, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed an agreement with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) which gives the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) the authority to regulate uranium recovery operations within the State.

The NRC has previously maintained this authority. By managing the program at a state level, permitting redundancy will be eliminated and better oversight will be provided as Wyoming is closer to industry activities.

“Wyoming will regulate uranium using the same high standards set by the NRC,” said Governor Matt Mead. “Wyoming DEQ has done a great job ensuring that all the program requirements have been met and will continue to be effectively implemented. I thank the NRC and DEQ for standing this program up quickly and cost efficiently.”

“Wyoming had to develop a program that would meet the NRC compatibility requirements to become an Agreement State," said Kyle Wendtland, Land Quality Division Administrator. "In order to accomplish this goal, Wyoming had to implement new governing statutes, rules and regulations, guidance, and policies and procedures compatible with NRC's requirements."

Wendtland added that the program also had to be staffed with employees that meet the NRC qualifications, such as expertise in health physics.  

"The department met all of the program standup requirements in about a three-and-half-year time frame. This was two years ahead of the original proposed schedule and $2.5 million under budget," said Wendtland.

According to Todd Parfitt, DEQ Director, much of the success in obtaining the agreement ahead of schedule and below budget, was the timely and high-quality responses from the NRC staff to DEQ.

"This was a cooperative effort, and thank you is simply not enough for the appreciation of the NRC staff involved in this effort," said Parfitt.

With this approval, Wyoming will become the 38th state to receive "Agreement State" authority. Additionally, Wyoming will become the first state to obtain limited agreement for radioactive materials solely involved in uranium recovery operations. NRC will continue regulating the other radioactive material in the state used in settings such as laboratories, hospitals, and universities.

DEQ will assume "Agreement State" authority on September 30, 2018.

 

Historical Information

The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 as amended (AEA), Section 274, authorizes the NRC to enter into agreements with the states to allow them to assume regulatory functions that would otherwise be the responsibility of the NRC. States that choose to assume this regulatory authority over some or all of the radioactive materials within the state are therefore known as “Agreement States”.

In 2013, a feasibility study for becoming an "Agreement State" was completed for the Wyoming Legislature. This study provided a clear view of the process to become an "Agreement State", the strategic decisions involved in that process, and an understanding of the regulatory issues and responsibilities associated with the maintenance of an "Agreement State" program after receiving approval from the NRC.

In 2015, the Wyoming Legislature and Governor Mead officially gave DEQ the authority to begin the process of becoming an "Agreement State".

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Grizzly Bear Rule Vacated

posted Sep 25, 2018, 11:29 AM by Chris Mickey


Yesterday, a Federal District Court Judge in Montana vacated a 2017 rule promulgated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that ended Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Effective immediately grizzly bears are again listed as threatened under the ESA. Accordingly, the grizzly bear hunting season authorized for this fall is cancelled.

“I am disappointed with yesterday’s decision,” said Governor Mead. “Grizzly bear recovery should be viewed as a conservation success story. Due to Wyoming’s investment of approximately $50 million for recovery and management, grizzly bears have exceeded every scientifically established recovery criteria in the GYE since 2003. Numbers have risen from as few as 136 bears when they were listed in 1975, to more than 700 today.”

“Biologists correctly determined grizzly bears no longer needed ESA protections,” he noted. “The decision to return grizzly bears to the list of threatened and endangered species is further evidence that the ESA is not working as its drafters intended. Congress should modernize the ESA so we can celebrate successes and focus our efforts on species in need.”

“This is unfortunate,” said Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Game and Fish is a strong proponent of all wildlife management being led by people who live in this state and having management decisions made at the local level. We will do our part to ensure the shift back to federal management will be seamless, just as we did in 2009 when grizzly bears were returned to the endangered species list after having been under state management for just over a year.”

History of grizzly delisting:

In 2007, the FWS delisted grizzly bears in the GYE. A federal judge reinstated protections in 2009 after finding that the FWS did not adequately consider the impacts of the decline of whitebark pine nuts – a grizzly bear food source. In 2013, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team determined that the reduction in whitebark pine nuts did not significantly impact grizzly bears and again recommended delisting. In 2017, the FWS published a rule delisting grizzly bears in the GYE. States gave additional assurance regarding long-term viability. Wyoming has adopted a Grizzly Bear Management Plan, that is has been implementing since delisting in 2017. That document is available on the Game and Fish Department website.

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Wyoming Experiencing Heavy Wildfire Activity

posted Sep 25, 2018, 9:26 AM by Chris Mickey


CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming currently has four large fires burning. The Roosevelt fire near Bondurant, the Ryan fire in Carbon County, the Marten fire East of Afton and the Irish fire Southeast of Boulder.

The Roosevelt fire has burned 48 thousand acres. It is classified as a Type 1 fire and is a national priority. There are 1,000 personnel fighting the fire. The number of homes evacuated is currently 300. It is 22% contained. The Ryan fire is at 20 thousand acres and is 0% contained. The Marten fire is at 6,300 acres and is 20% contained. The Irish fire is being managed by local resources.

Wyoming is experiencing high fire danger statewide with red flag conditions common. These fires are extreme and dangerous because of terrain, fuel and weather conditions. Firefighters from across the nation are working to protect lives and property.

“Public safety and firefighter safety are the top priority,” said Governor Matt Mead. “I have asked that all resources necessary to fight these fires be made available. My heart is with those whose property and homes are in harm’s way and the firefighters working to protect them.”

Red Cross shelters are open in Pinedale to provide assistance to those who need help.

Further information on these fires can be found at: www.inciweb.nwcg.gov      

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Wyoming to Team up with NeuroVigil’s “Brain Accelerator”

posted Sep 25, 2018, 9:20 AM by Chris Mickey


CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and Wyoming Department of Health Director, Tom Forslund joined Chairman and CEO of neurotechnology innovation company, NeuroVigil Inc., Dr. Philip Low today in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at utilizing the technology and innovation being worked on by NeuroVigil, Inc and its brain accelerator to help solve challenges for Wyoming residents to access timely and reliable healthcare.

The announcement was made at the 5th annual Wyoming Global Technology Summit in Jackson Hole. The goal of the MOU is to pursue an agreement between Wyoming and NeuroVigil to become the first state in the US to receive statewide access to Dr. Low and his neurotechnology accelerator’s disruptive innovations.

“Access to healthcare is a challenge in rural parts of Wyoming,” said Governor Matt Mead. “Technology, like the accelerator Dr. Low and his team at NeuroVigil are working on, is starting to offer us tools to address some of the challenges in providing healthcare to all Wyoming residents.”

“If a butterfly can create storms across other continents, Wyoming can lead the entire world into a more effective, ethical, human-based way of tackling human suffering which does not rely on non-human animals and is more efficient and cost effective than what is currently available,” said Dr Phillip Low. “I thank Governor Mead for his leadership and look forward to working with Wyoming and the Wyoming Department of Health in the years to come to turn our vision into reality.”

The MOU outlines a timeline in which the state and NeuroVigil will identify resources and mutual opportunities by November 27, 2018.

About NeuroVigil

NeuroVigil, Inc. is dedicated to the betterment of the human condition. By merging neuroscience, non-invasive wireless brain recording technology and advanced computational algorithms, an accurate and automated reading of brain wave data is rapidly generated. This information is being used to assist with the monitoring of a myriad of medical conditions. The Company successfully went to market in 2009. 

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Registration for the 2018 Wyoming Global Technology Summit Still Open

posted Sep 12, 2018, 10:25 AM by Chris Mickey


CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The 2018 Wyoming Global Technology Summit will take place next week, September 19-20 at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts in Jackson and registration remains open. The 2018 Summit features globally recognized thought leaders and technology pioneers gathering to help Wyoming’s entrepreneurs, innovators and state officials understand the coming wave of revolutionary technologies and how Wyoming can ride that wave into the future.

“The Wyoming Global Technology Summit focuses on new generation technologies and the opportunities and challenges they present,” said Governor Matt Mead. “This event is a place for some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, financiers, scientists and thought leaders to gather and address topics, ideas, innovations and solutions to challenges for the benefit of Wyoming.”

Topics at this year’s summit include: biotech, blockchain, artificial intelligence, financial technology, venture capital, healthcare, telemedicine and telecommunications.

For more information, visit www.jacksonholetechpartnership.org/wyomingglobaltechsummit/ and register atwgts2018.eventbrite.com.

First Lady Mead Partners with Corporate Sponsors to Give Books to Fourth Graders

posted Sep 6, 2018, 3:41 PM by Chris Mickey


CHEYENNE, Wyo. – First Lady Carol Mead has partnered with several corporate sponsors to provide a copy of her second children’s book, Blazing Wyoming Bonnets, to fourth graders throughout Wyoming.

“Advancing early childhood literacy has been and continues to be a passion of mine,” Mrs. Mead said. “Putting books into the hands of Wyoming’s children provides an opportunity to cultivate a love for reading and to establish a habit of reading at home.”

Mrs. Mead wrote Blazing Wyoming Bonnets, co-authored and illustrated by Centennial artist, Melanie O’Hara, to celebrate some of the trailblazing women in Wyoming’s history. The book features 25 women with ties to Wyoming, from its territory days to the present. Full-color illustrations, rhyming poetry and brief biographical sketches bring to life the contributions of these women to our state and its history.

“I am grateful for the generosity of our corporate partners, which makes it possible to share this book with fourth graders in every Wyoming county,” said Mrs. Mead. “Their commitment to education and childhood literacy is having a very real impact in our state.”

Sponsoring companies are: Cheyenne Regional Medical Center/ Cheyenne Children’s Clinic, Ciner Wyoming, CIGNA Healthcare, Genesis Alkali, Puma Steel, Tata Chemicals, Union Pacific, Warehouse Twenty-One, and Xanterra Parks and Resorts.

Over 7,500 copies of Blazing Wyoming Bonnets will be distributed to fourth graders through individual school districts this fall.

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Governor Appoints New Justice to the Wyoming Supreme Court

posted Sep 4, 2018, 4:05 PM by Chris Mickey


CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead has appointed Kari Jo Gray to the Wyoming Supreme Court. Gray replaces Justice E. James Burke who has served on the Court since 2005 and retires effective October 8, 2018.

A native of Lusk and long-time Douglas resident, Gray has served as Governor Mead’s Chief of Staff since the Governor first took office in January 2011. Previously, in partnership with Frank D. Peasley, she was in private practice for twelve years in Douglas. Under Governor Geringer, she served as Director of the Wyoming Department of Family Services from November 1999-November 2000. She served as Vice President and Trust Officer at Converse County Bank for many years and owned and operated Howard’s General Store in Glendo for more than a decade. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and a law degree from the University of Wyoming. At UW, she was comment editor of the Law Review and was admitted to the Order of the Coif, a high academic honor.

“The Wyoming Supreme Court, being the highest court in Wyoming, is extremely important, and the selection of a Supreme Court justice is always a weighty decision for me.  As I have come to expect, the Judicial Nominating Commission provided three outstanding candidates for me to choose from and I thank them,” Governor Mead said. “Kari has had a long, distinguished career. Her experience includes the private practice of law, public service at a high executive level, and business ownership. She has an outstanding academic record and great work ethic. She is a dedicated public servant with a brilliant legal mind and will serve our state and its citizens well on the Supreme Court.”

In reacting to her appointment, Gray said: “I felt privileged to be on the list of three provided to the Governor for this position and am honored to have the opportunity to be a part of Wyoming’s great judiciary. I have long admired the Wyoming Supreme Court for the work that it does and respect the Justices who sit on it. I look forward to serving the people of Wyoming and will give my all to meet the responsibilities of this key position.”

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