A company that operates a major natural gas hub in southwest Wyoming has yet to pay thousands of dollars in fines imposed for safety violations after a 2014 fire because state regulators failed to send the final bill.
Regulators are investigating why the bill was never sent, but they've determined the company was not at fault, said John Ysebaert, the Department of Workforce Services standards and compliance administrator.
It is clerical and on our end, on my end," Ysebaert said Wednesday. [The company] has not paid any of the fines, but to be fair they have not been given notice of This is what you owe for all those citations.
Wyoming regulators do not expect an appeal from Williams Field Services Company, which operates at the Opal plant, because the company already agreed to the final fine amounts in 2014, Ysebaert said.
Read more: http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming/opal-fire-penalties-went-unpaid-due-to-state-clerical-error/article_84993f53-e88c-5228-9e6d-1a30c732f11b.html
Embattled Casper Rep. Gerald Gay, who clouded his re-election chances after making controversial comments about working women, tried to clarify his stance Wednesday by accusing the media of twisting his words.
I would never disparage any working woman, Gay said during a brisk news conference at a Casper hotel. Agenda-based articles written recently have portrayed me differently.
The Republican lawmaker offered no apology to working women in Wyoming and across the country, who expressed outrage online when he told Better Wyoming and later the Star-Tribune that women have a dependability problem by taking too much maternity and sick leave to attend to their children, therefore contributing to their lower wages.
He did, however, apologize at the news conference for any misunderstanding of my words.
Read more: http://www.wyomingnews.com/news/casper-s-gerald-gay-says-media-twisted-words-on-women/article_cc8b0656-86cd-11e6-bd31-d3cefb7521ec.html
Puerto Rico's governor turned over the reins of his government's finances to a federal control board and outlined what he considers priorities during a televised address Thursday to prepare the U.S. territory for a historic change.
Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said his administration had tried everything to ameliorate a decade-long economic crisis before accepting that the creation of a federal control board was necessary.
"We should all be aware of the repercussions of this process that starts now," he said. "Like many of you, I didn't agree either with the excessive power granted to the board, and with some of the people named to it. But the truth is we had no alternative."
Established by U.S. legislation enacted in June, the seven-member board is scheduled to have its first meeting Friday in New York. It is expected to choose its president as well as outline the first steps it will take to help restructure a portion of a nearly $70 billion public debt that Garcia has said is unpayable.
Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/governor-prepares-puerto-rico-control-boards-takeover-42461205
A Chipotle spokesman said the restaurant chain is investigating a report that a razor blade was found inside a burrito prepared Friday at its Topeka location.
A photo of the burrito and what appears to be a large razor blade was posted Friday afternoon in the Topeka Real Time News/Police Scanner Facebook group. The accompanying post said the burrito was part of a to-go order placed for an office, and the woman eating the burrito was able to pull the blade out of her mouth without injury.
Topekas Chipotle is located at 2040 S.W. Wanamaker Road.
Chris Arnold, communications director for the Denver-based chain, confirmed via email that Chipotle was looking into the report.
Read more: http://cjonline.com/news/2016-09-30/chipotle-investigating-after-topeka-report-razor-blade-found-burrito
A bipartisan council of top legislative leaders and Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday approved payment of $100,000 of a total $412,000 settlement inspired by a lawsuit against a state agency and a subcontractor alleging culpability in child-custody decisions leading to the beating death of a 4-year-old boy.
The State Finance Council voted unanimously to authorize the payment to the mother of Mekhi Boone, who was killed by his father in 2013. The deal between lawyers for Naomi Boone and the Kansas Department for Children and Families was reached in July, but DCF declined to reveal financial details.
Its just a tragic case, Brownback said. Just everything about it makes you sad. Hope there can be some resolution as the families move forward.
Boone accused DCF in the federal lawsuit of not doing enough to prevent TFI Family Services, one of the states foster care contractors at that time, from placing the boy with his father, Lee Davis, despite the mans history of domestic violence.
Read more: http://cjonline.com/news/state/2016-09-30/kansas-contractor-pay-412000-settlement-death-4-year-old-boy#
A federal appeals court has upheld an order blocking Secretary of State Kris Kobach from requiring voters to show proof of citizenship if they register to vote at the DMV.
Federal Judge Julie Robinson ordered Kobach in May to register these voters under the federal Motor Voter Act, but he appealed that decision.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit issued an order Friday night affirming the earlier decision, saying that the National Voting Rights Act preempts the Kansas proof of citizenship requirement and that no constitutional doubt arises as to whether the NVRA precludes Kansas from enforcing its voter qualifications.
Its the latest legal setback for Kobach, who served as the states attorney in the case and championed the proof-of-citizenship policy as a way to prevent voter fraud.
Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article105308301.html
LINCOLN At least six candidates for the Nebraska Legislature have signed a pledge promising to never vote for an increase to the state gas tax.
A Facebook posting by Concerned Conservatives of Nebraska includes a second pledge to support open votes for speaker and committee leadership. Those votes have traditionally been by secret ballot, a policy that some Republicans believe helps Democrats win leadership roles despite a conservative numbers advantage in the officially nonpartisan Legislature.
Concerned Conservatives of Nebraska has not filed with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission nor has it listed a contact name on the page, prompting speculation about who is behind the pledges. Late Wednesday, former Lancaster County Republican Party Chairman Matt Innis came forward in response to inquiries by The World-Herald.
We get a lot of people who talk about transparency and holding the line on taxes, and then they get in office, and they dont, Innis said, adding that he was working alone.
Read more: http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/some-legislature-candidates-sign-pledge-never-to-vote-for-increase/article_789f6dea-85ef-11e6-ac18-03c1a54c25ae.html
PIERRE | The South Dakota Supreme Court has removed the final obstacle for a $150 million ethanol plant in Sully County.
Justices this week denied the appeal of 11 Onida-area residents who oppose the plant's location, according to the Capital Journal and KCCR radio.
The neighbors had sued, saying county officials improperly rezoned the site for commercial agriculture processing to make way for the plant.
The county maintained the argument was technical and lacked substance, and a state district judge late last year affirmed the zoning decision.
Read more: http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/latest/state-supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-m-ethanol-plant/article_e53b4585-d798-5ba1-b1db-de0df96fee2b.html
A federal loan program that's helped thousands of lower- and middle-class South Dakotans pay for college will go away next year if Congress doesn't act.
That means whoever voters send to Washington next year will have a say in the future of financial aid.
The need-based Federal Perkins Loan Program helped more than 3,100 South Dakotans pay for college in 2014-15, with an average of $1,843 per student.
All four of South Dakota's congressional candidates Sen. John Thune, Rep. Kristi Noem, and their Democratic challengers Jay Williams and Paula Hawks want to renew the federal loan program in some form, but their views on how government should help students pay for college vary from there.
Read more: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/politics/2016/09/30/sd-candidates-split-how-pay-college/91167230/
A man who works security at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport was arrested on Thursday for threatening to shoot employees at the airport.
Connor Raysby Park, 22, was charged with making a terrorist threat, police spokesman Sam Clemens said. Park is employed by a private security company that is contracted by the Transportation Security Administration at the airport.
On Friday afternoon, Judge Sara Pokela set Park's bond at $50,000 cash-surety, with the conditions that he not have any contact with the airport or its employees. He is also not allowed to have contact with any weapons.
"In light of the current climate in our country ... a high bond is appropriate," Pokela said.
Read more: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2016/09/30/airport-employee-arrested-terrorist-threats/91323334/
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