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Feb 5, 2013 - The Associated Press

Committee approves Hathaway bill

CHEYENNE -- The Senate Education Committee has endorsed a bill that would add to the requirements for applying for the top tiers of the Hathaway Scholarship.

House Bill 177 was approved unanimously by the panel on Monday. It now goes to the full Senate for debate. The measure has already passed the House.

The bill would require applicants for the Hathaway honors and performance level scholarships to take either two years of career and vocational education or two years of fine and performing arts courses.

The proposed requirement would be in addition to the other mandatory courses needed to get a Hathaway Scholarship, such as the foreign language requirement.

Changes begin at WDE

CHEYENNE -- The interim director of the Wyoming Department of Education has already made some changes since taking over administration of the agency last week.

Jim Rose was appointed interim director of the agency by Gov. Matt Mead after a new law removed state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill as head of the department.

Rose will oversee the department until a permanent director can be appointed later this year.

Rose says five of the agency's top level administrators have left the agency and joined Hill under her new role outside the department.

In addition, Rose has suspended a teacher professional development program that caused a rift between Hill and some lawmakers because it wasn't authorized by the Legislature.

The Education Department has a two-year $1.9 billion budget and about 150 employees.

State's credit rating still AAA

CHEYENNE -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services will continue to give Wyoming its AAA credit rating.

It is the highest credit rating possible.

S&P said the outlook for Wyoming is stable and that its financial management practices are rated as "Good."

The credit rating agency noted that the state's economic strength in recent years, with above-average population growth, lower-than-average unemployment, and above-average income levels.

It also noted Wyoming's large general fund balances and its permanent minerals trust fund, whose interest earnings are available for general fund expenditures.

Owners of unclaimed funds sought

Wyoming wants to give you your money back. The state has released its annual "Wyoming Windfall" list, the catch name for the Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer's Office.

Funds that have been held by a company or by another state for a specified number of years and have not or cannot be paid to the owner are then placed in protective custody by the state treasurer. The Unclaimed Property Division safeguards and makes an effort to return the funds to the rightful owner, at no cost to the owner.

The money can include uncashed money orders, oil and gas royalties, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

State Treasurer Mark Gordon says the average claim is less than $100, but some owners have claimed $100,000 or more.

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