Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

Bill to privatize Pioneer Home dies in Senate


A collective sigh of relief could be heard from Cheyenne all the way to Thermopolis last Friday as word came down that the Senate had killed SF112 and the House had approved funding through the biennium for the Wyoming Pioneer Home.

A great effort between Representative Nathan Winters, Senator Wyatt Agar and local residents as well as folks from across the state ensured the home would be safe from privatization and funded through the next two years.

The fight really began in the background a few years ago when a study group, none of which were Wyoming residents, determined the state could save a lot of money if they were to allow a company to come in and privatize the Pioneer Home.

While it may have saved the state a little cash, the real issue was the costs of living in a privately run facility would have been double what the residents currently pay, a cost that could have left many of the residents with nowhere to go.

The push to privatize became more intense over time, putting the residents and the employees in a constant state of turmoil.

As things came to a head last week, the community began to push back, sharing the phone numbers to various legislators and even the governor's office encouraging people to contact them. It was a topic of discussion at the grocery stores and even in church.

Phone calls from Thermopolis and the Big Horn Basin burned up the lines between here and Cheyenne and email boxes filled up as email after email headed that way, begging the legislators to stop and think about what they were considering.

The fight, however is far from over as the issue is bound to come up again in the future as belts need to be tightened even more and the legislature starts looking for ways to cut back.

The bill would have also allowed an outside company to take over the Wyoming Retirement Center in Basin.


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