Wyoming Liberty Group
In the 2015 Wyoming General Session, a bill to limit use of drones—or unmanned aerial surveillance—by the law enforcement failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee after passing the House. The bill was sponsored by the Joint Judiciary Committee following the 2014-15 interim, but underwent amendments on its journey through the legislature that ultimately kept it from going before the Senate. In its original format, the bill would have required police to get a warrant before using drones to conduct searches in criminal investigations. The bill was not considered in the recent 2016 Budget Session, but the topic is certainly not going away.
Boyd Wiggam discussed how one Cheyenne resident had to fight to protect her wooden bear statute from a city enforcement officer who called it a stump and demanded she remove it—even though the City of Cheyenne spends taxpayer money for other statues of wildlife around the city, with Chuck Gray on KVOC. November 25, 2015
CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Liberty Group published its latest Liberty Brief today, “Downing the Drones? Limiting Law Enforcement Use of Unmanned Aerial Surveillance in Wyoming.” The brief, authored by WyLiberty staff attorney Steve Klein, discusses current protections against drone surveillance and suggest reforms that the Wyoming Legislature may adopt into state law.
So it’s not just here in Cheyenne; if only that were comforting. Liz Goodwin reports at Yahoo! News that 600 MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles have been transferred to local law enforcement agencies across the United States since 2013, and there are 27,000 or so more where they came from. In Wyoming, police agencies have at least three, and Natrona County Sherriff Gus Holbrook says his department is “still finding out all the ways that [they] might be able to use it.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. Sadly, no, as the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports:
Short for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, MRAP weighs nearly 14 tons and is built to survive a blast from an improvised explosive device.
The Cheyenne Police Department got its own MRAP last month, and the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department is on a waiting list for another.
Of course the sheriff’s department wants one, too.
Last Friday was the final day for first reading of bills in their house of origin in the 2014 Wyoming Budget Session. Due to the priority of budget amendments, even extended hours could not provide the time needed to consider first reading of every bill that survived introduction and came out of committee. This spelled death for dozens of bills. In some cases this was a welcome development: I incorrectly predicted that an attempt to restrict the use of a “wearable computer with head mounted display” (i.e., Google Glass) while driving would not survive introduction, but Senate File 35 made it all the way to General File before its demise thanks to the first reading cutoff.
by JP Eichmiller
Hanging on the wall of Capitol room S-1 is the prison booking photo of Annie Bruce, a former inmate of the Wyoming State Penitentiary convicted in 1908 of murdering her father by slipping a massive dose of strychnine (rat poisoning) into his pie. Of the crime, Bruce stated, “While I was in the act of making the pies, a feeling or a wish came over me to kill someone and this feeling, I could not resist.” Only 14 at the time of the crime, Bruce received a pardon in 1911 and passed away a free woman in 1975 at the age of 86.