Apr 4, 2013 The Associated Press

Supreme Court accepts Hill lawsuit

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Supreme Court has agreed to hear the lawsuit filed by state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill.

Hill is suing the state and Gov. Matt Mead over a new law that took away many of her powers and duties.

Laramie County District Judge Thomas Campbell last month asked the Supreme Court to take up the lawsuit because it raises constitutional questions.

A law passed by the Legislature this winter replaced the superintendent as head of the state Education Department with a director appointed by the governor. The superintendent remains a statewide elected official.

Hill contends the law is unconstitutional.

Advocates of the law say the change was necessary because Hill was hindering school reform and doing a poor job of running the department.

Company pitches coal-to-liquids

CASPER -- An Australian company that owns a coal mine in Wyoming says it may build a plant that would convert coal into liquid fuels.

Ambre Energy is looking at the Rock Springs area to build the plant. The same company owns the Decker coal mine north of Sheridan.

Company spokeswoman Liz Fuller says the plant remains in the "exploratory phase." She says the company also is considering locations in Montana, Texas and Colorado.

No contest pleas in spice-illness case

CASPER -- Two Casper women have pleaded no contest to distributing synthetic marijuana that sickened four people in Wyoming last year.

The illnesses triggered a health alert that eventually led to the discovery of 12 similar cases in five other states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they were the first documented cases of synthetic marijuana causing kidney problems.

Kari Steelman and Julia Cox pleaded no contest to dealing the drug known as spice. They entered their pleas Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Casper.

Each defendant would serve three to five years in prison under the terms of their plea agreements.

The 16 people who were hospitalized after using the synthetic marijuana experienced symptoms ranging from nausea to kidney failure. All 16 have recovered.

G&F issues new boat regulations

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has devised new regulations on boat inspections intended to keep harmful aquatic invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels from entering the state.

The regulations require any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1 through Nov. 30 to be examined by an authorized inspector prior to launching in any water in the state.

Any watercraft that has been in water infested with zebra or quagga mussels within the prior 30 days is required to undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching in Wyoming year-round.

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