The News Editorial: What have we learned through the pandemic?


November 4, 2021

As I write this Tuesday night there is much uncertainty regarding the two bills still being worked by the Wyoming Legislature during its special session to address COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

There were 20 bills filed. Of those, the House and the Senate only introduced four and one of those was not even related to COVID-19 or the mandates. Now a week later and more than $100,000 spent (estimated cost for each of the session is $25,000) it is uncertain at this writing on whether any legislation will get passed. Or, if legislation is passed will it do anything to help businesses or individuals.

Our local legislators are trying and have their hearts in the right place.

They want to do right by the individual constituents but they also do not want to hurt businesses. As Rep. Mike Greear said it is a balancing act, a delicate one at that.

Some have even noted the irony of the situation in that trying to protect individuals and businesses from federal mandates that tell businesses what they must do, the Wyoming Legislature would like to tell businesses what they must NOT do.

The governor is working on the issue through litigation and Sen. Ed Cooper said this week that litigation is probably going to be the more successful route.

He said he also has seen two important things, some of the votes mirror how split Wyoming and the country is on vaccines and mandates, case in point the nearly 50-50 vote on Senate Bill 1003 on vaccine passports and vaccine waivers for children.

One thing the pandemic has shown us is the reliance the United States has on other countries and manufacturing from other countries, including pharmaceuticals, as we saw last year, and as we see with many concerned about shipping containers awaiting to be unloaded.

But in Wyoming, Cooper said he noticed during this session that many industries in the state have become reliant (at different levels) on the federal government and federal funding.

As they try to prevent businesses from mandating vaccines, businesses from a variety of sectors, not just health care, have expressed concern about losing federal funding.

No matter what happens this week in Cheyenne, let’s hope the state, businesses and the country can learn something from the pandemic that has wreaked havoc on all of our lives the past 18 months.

Businesses, industry and local and state governments need to remember there is no such thing as a free lunch, if you accept federal funding for anything it will eventually come at a cost and you must be prepared to accept that.

And, it is time that the United States of America look to herself for help first before looking elsewhere for help.

Canadian politician Norm Kelly said, “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

So, let’s fill that COVID pandemic cup up with some knowledge we’ve learned from the past 18 months.

—Karla Pomeroy


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