(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – The Wyoming Senate Labor, Health and Social Service Committee Wednesday morning adopted several amendments to HB68-Life Resource Center that St. Sen. Cale Case of Lander said “improved the bill.”
Although no testimony was offered at this morning’s committee meeting, Case said a number of Wyoming Life Resource Center (WLRC) supporters were in attendance, including Friends group President Paul Debock and representatives from the Wyoming Public Employees Association, plus others.
Case did not have a copy of the approved amendments, but said he would provide them later today after the Legislative Service Office publishes them.
“They did not go quite as far as we would have liked, but they certainly have made the bill better than what (it was when it) arrived in the Senate,” he said in an email to County10.com.
Case, who is the guardian of a WLRC client, said that it was obvious that the committee members had been lobbied by Community Programs. He said the Protection and Advocacy report “about not putting anyone else in the WRLC” was referenced by at least one committee member. “We were able to report that, even under the terms of the (Anna Marie) Weston lawsuit, the Center could have 161 clients.” There are currently 90 clients at the WLRC.
Case said that Committee Chairman Charles Scott of Natrona County “also supported the notion that choice is important and that for some the WLRC is the most least restrictive environment.” He also said that Wyoming Department of Health officials said the WLRC could accept new clients.
“One very bright spot is that the committee added language to see if we can market WLRC to other states,” the Lander lawmaker said. “As it stands now, we can take heart in our progress. We have taken a very biased bill, obviously aimed at paving the way to closing the WLRC, and made it into a more balanced study that will consider efficiencies and possibly more services for some new people.”
Case closed the email by reporting that,”except for a few die-hards, the notion of closing the WLRC is fading from legislators thinking.”
The Center is Lander’s largest single employer with 420 employees.
Once passed out of committee discussion on the bill will shift to the Senate floor and, if approved, a conference committee will have to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions.