DOWN to members of the Laramie County School District 1 Board of Trustees who want to distance the district from the National School Boards Association.

On Dec. 20, some local school board members said they disagree with a letter the NSBA sent in September to President Joe Biden. It asked for federal law enforcement support, as well as state and local investigations into threats of violence and acts of intimidation against school officials. The letter cited a previous LCSD1 meeting as an example of the kind of behavior the group was concerned about.

That meeting was ended abruptly due to failure to follow the rules of debate and rising tensions in the board room. But some LCSD1 trustees said it is inappropriate to classify this kind of behavior as dangerous. “I think it’s heavy handed and can have a chilling effect on the free speech rights of our community,” Trustee Christy Klaassen said.

We don’t necessarily disagree, although we certainly wish all constituents could address the board with more respect for the process of engagement, as well as their volunteer service to the schools and local community. But to go so far as to consider asking the Wyoming School Boards Association to leave the national organization and its training resources behind over a single letter is a gross overreaction.

UP to eight of the 12 members of the Legislature’s Joint Revenue Interim Committee for voting to sponsor a county option real estate transfer tax bill in the upcoming budget session.

If it’s passed later this year, it would let voters in each county decide whether to impose a 1% tax on real estate sales over $1 million. Teton County supporters say it could generate the funds to create badly needed affordable housing. (Although Laramie County doesn’t have nearly as much high-dollar real estate as Jackson and the surrounding area, we could see a smaller-scale benefit here.)

It will surprise no one that the Wyoming Association of Realtors is opposed to the tax due to concerns that it will suppress property values. But there is no proof that will happen. And at least one of the concerns of the Wyoming Farm Bureau is addressed by the bill itself, which exempts transfers between a parent and a child of property worth less than $1 million.

The only downside we can see at this point is the bill includes a stipulation that if local voters approve the optional tax, the amount of money distributed by the state to local governments would be reduced by half of the amount collected through this tax. Since this is an effort to raise additional funds at a time when state funding is flat or being reduced, we see no need to punish cities, towns and counties in this way.

Otherwise, we applaud the Revenue Committee for proposing this optional tax, and we encourage the full Legislature to pass it.

UP to Adam Van Der Hoeven and his sons, Carter and Cyler, for maintaining Kristy Van Der Hoeven’s tradition of “25 Days of Kindness” following her passing earlier this year.

What began as a way to teach her oldest son how to lead a life of goodwill when he was in elementary school quickly turned into a tradition for the Cheyenne family. It included such acts as leaving letters of encouragement on car windshields and donating blankets to the animal shelter. This year, the family she left behind gave warm beverages to Salvation Army bell ringers and cookies to first responders, as well as hiding dollar bills under some children’s toys in a dollar store.

While we know it’s a way to stay connected with their beloved wife and mother, it’s also a legacy of service to the community that more of us should emulate in the years to come.

DOWN to U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, both R-Wyo., for introducing the Preventing Mandates on Toddlers Act.

If approved, the legislation would “nullify an interim final rule (IFR) published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that requires universal masking for all individuals in Head Start facilities above the age of 2. The IFR also requires masks for toddlers while they are outside, and mandates staff and volunteers to be vaccinated by Jan. 31,” according to a news release from Wyoming’s senators.

This bill is a blatant political statement about vaccine mandates and other so-called “federal overreach,” not an attempt to protect the lives of young children in the nation’s Head Start programs. Both senators should be ashamed of themselves for not doing more to protect the lives of those too young (so far) to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

They won’t be, of course, but they should – especially the one who calls himself a doctor.

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