Wyoming News Briefs Jan. 23
January 23, 2020
Local police can’t enforce new smoking age
CHEYENNE (WNE) — The Cheyenne Police Department announced Wednesday in a Facebook post that it can’t take any enforcement action relating to the new federal law that raises the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21 years old.
That’s because state law enforcement, such as CPD, cannot enforce federal law. CPD can only legally enforce Wyoming state laws and Cheyenne city ordinances, CPD Public Information Officer David Inman said.
Inman said only federal agencies, such as the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, can enforce federal laws in Wyoming. However, Inman did note that just because CPD can’t enforce the new change, people are still breaking federal law if someone under 21 buys tobacco products.
This includes any products with tobacco or nicotine in them, such as flavored e-cigarettes or vapes, cigarettes, cigars and more.
“(It’s the) same concept as you think with Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana statewide. Police can’t do anything federally, you know,” Inman said. “We’re not trying to tell people, ‘Yeah, you know, do what you want,’ because federal law says you can’t. We just can’t enforce it. That’s what makes it different is we can’t take action on it.”
There is currently a proposed bill in the Legislature that would raise the age for someone to buy or possess nicotine products from 18 to 21 in Wyoming. Inman said if this passes, he also anticipates a city ordinance with the same rules would follow, which CPD would then have the power to enforce.
High school graduation rate up for sixth straight year
SHERIDAN (WNE) — Wyoming’s high school graduation rate increased for the sixth year in a row and local school districts posted rates above the state average, according to data published by the Wyoming Department of Education Tuesday.
The growth was slight, the state rate increasing from 81.7% in 2018 to 82.1% in 2019, but continued the state’s steady improvement since 2013, when the rate was 77.6%.
“We know that is statistically significant,” said State Superintendent Jillian Balow during a press conference Tuesday. “And certainly 82.1% isn’t 100%, but it is trending in the right direction.”
Sixteen of Wyoming’s 48 school districts posted rates higher than 90% in 2019, including Sheridan County School District 1, whose 96.72% rate was the fourth highest in the state. SCSD1 has seen it’s graduation rate improve each of the last three years, from 84.3% in 2017 to 85% in 2018 and jumping to 96.72% last year. SCSD1 Superintendent Pete Kilbride attributed his district’s improvement to the development of more resources for students who may struggle to meet graduation requirements without staff assistance.
Cody gypsum plant to close in April
CODY (WNE) — A major Cody manufacturing facility is set to close this spring.
Last week, CertainTeed told its 50 local employees the gypsum manufacturing plant on 2AB would be closing its doors April 3.
The company, owned by France-based Saint Gobain, is working to sell the facility, said spokesperson Lauren Howe.
The plant was first commissioned in 1961.
“The business made this very difficult decision after analyzing current business and market conditions,” the company said in its announcement. “We understand and appreciate that this decision affects the livelihood of our employees in Cody.”
The company said it will help bridge the gap to new employment by offering support to the affected employees as well as an opportunity to pursue open positions in the organization.
“We will continue to service our customers through our network of gypsum plants and foresee no change in product availability,” the company said.
Howe said mining operations would also be affected by the closure.