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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Bill for 30-day waiting period to trigger ballot access stalls

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Monday, February 26, 2024   

Voting is a fundamental right in American democracy, but some Wyoming lawmakers want to restrict that right to people who can prove they have been Wyoming residents for at least 30 days.

Antonio Serrano - advocacy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming, one group opposing House Bill 38 - said decisions made on school boards, in city halls, the state legislature and Congress affect the lives of all Wyomingites regardless of their move-in date.

He said there is only one way to determine who those officials will be - by voting.

"People move to Wyoming because they love Wyoming," said Serrano. "They love the opportunities here, they love the culture, they love the people here, and they want to be part of that. And this is just a way of excluding people from having equal representation at the ballot."

The bill, which has not advanced to a House floor vote, would require voters to be bona fide Wyoming residents for no less than 30 days before election day, but would make exceptions to vote for U.S. President and Vice President.

Proponents argued HB 38 would protect Wyoming from any outside source that may not hold what they see as the state's core values.

Serrano noted that 30 days may not seem like a long time, but voters could have to wait years to participate in the next election.

Serrano said he believes HB 38 is trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist, and is a waste of the legislature's limited time and resources.

He pointed to a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision, in Dunn v. Blumstein, ruling that durational residency requirements violate the 14th Amendment.

"The US Constitution guarantees equal access to the ballot," said Serrano, "and when you're passing any law that infringes on that equal access to the ballot in any way - including preventing somebody from voting in the next election - that's infringing on the vote, plain and simple."

Serrano said he hopes efforts by the legislature to limit access to the ballot will cause more Wyoming residents to pay attention and get involved.

He said contacting your representative is as easy as entering your zip code online at 'Wyoleg.gov.'

"And one thing that is really unique about Wyoming is we have access to our lawmakers," said Serrano. "If we lived in any of our surrounding states, you might get a chief of staff when you call. But here in Wyoming, you get the lawmaker's cell phone."

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.





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