MLK, Jr. Day in Wyoming

No MLK holiday for Wyo legislators

State Legislature should take Day of Service to honor King

Marches planned in Casper, Cheyenne, and Riverton

It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. Here in Wyoming, we refer to it as Martin Luther King – Wyoming Equality Day, a title that some say detracts from the honor intended for the great civil rights leader.

King at the March on Washington, 1963

The name is less troubling to me than the fact that the Wyoming Legislature continues to ignore the holiday and works on MLK Day. They do, after all, take off Presidents Day. Perhaps the leadership views the Legislature’s operations as homage to the MLK Day of Service. But they do get paid for the day, even if the wage is low. Putting in some time at the Cheyenne Habitat for Humanity Store (1805 Ames Avenue) or some other direct service to the community seems more in keeping with the spirit of the day. Meanwhile, there will be marches several communities: in Cheyenne, departing noon-ish from the old UPRR depot to the Capitol; in Casper starting at City Park, 7th and Center at 11 a.m.; and in Riverton statomg at 1 p.m. at Riverton’s City Park. The Riverton march is being organized by Rez Action, a local grassroots organization led by Micah Lott.

Human trafficking bill

As for the Legislature, tomorrow the House Judiciary Committee again will consider Rep. Cathy Connolly’s human trafficking bill, House Bill 133, on the noon recess. The measure is aimed at prohibiting trafficking, a modern form of slavery that traps people as sex workers or in unpaid, abusive labor conditions and keeps them there through threats and intimidation. The House Committee Meeting notice says the committee will consider a substitute bill, though its unclear why. Rep. Connolly did offer a clean-up amendment correcting some of the references to specific statutes. Advocates will need to watch this closely. Gov. Mead’s representative at the initial hearing of the bill said the governor supported the measure as introduced. The introduced version of the bill also has the support of prominent legislators, and many citizen groups. “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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