Legislative Update: December 2019


It is hard to believe that 2019 is drawing to

an end, and I am already looking forward to

the 2020 Legislative Budget Session. These

last few months have been busy ones with

meetings, visits and holidays. As we go into

the 2020 session, I would like to recap what

has been happening in my legislative life.

Labor, Health and Social Services had its

very first committee meeting during session

in Cheyenne in February, followed by meetings

in Riverton in June, Evanston in September

and Cheyenne in November. Of the

15 bills that came through this committee in

the interim, nine passed on to be sponsored

as committee bills during the 2020 session:

• 20LSO-0298: Health insurance costsbundled

payment study.

• 20LSO-0297 (assigned as HB0024):

Medicaid birth costs recovery-amendments.

• 20LSO-0295: Criminal justice-mental

health-substance use programming.

• 20LSO-0291: Psychology Interjurisdictional

Compact.

• 20LSO-0285: Child welfare-QRTP accreditation

assistance program.

• 20LSO-0273: Behavioral health services

task force.

• 20LSO-0254: Health-care claims database

reporting.

• 20LSO-0132: Senior health-care special

districts.

• 20LSO-0209: Prescription tracking program

amendments.

The primary focus of bills from Labor,

Health and Social Services this interim had

to do with mental health, addiction and Wyoming’s

aging population.

Joint revenue

Joint Revenue had its first meeting also

during session in February, followed by

meetings in Lander in May, Cheyenne in

July, Pinedale in September and Cheyenne in

November. Of the 26 bills that came through

our committee in the interim, 16 passed on to

be sponsored as a committee bill during the

2020 session:

• 20LSO-0073: National corporate tax recapture.

• 20LSO-0086: Fuel tax.

• 20LSO-0087: Agricultural land qualification.

• 20LSO-0095: Nicotine products-taxation.

• 20LSO-0107: Nicotine products-lawful

age and penalties.

• 20LSO-0109: Oil and gas reporting provisions.

• 20LSO-0110: Nicotine products-mail

and online sales prohibition.

• 20LSO-0084: Local sales and use taxes.

• 20LSO-0089: Reporting of property.

• 20LSO-0092: Statements of Consideration.

• 20LSO-0258: Tax exemption governmental

property.

• 20LSO-0263: Medicaid expansion-authorization.

• 20LSO-0266: Sales and use tax-definitions

update.

• 20LSO-0274: Property tax exemption.

• 20LSO-0280: Nicotine products: thirdparty

age verification.

• 20LSO-0281: State board of equalization:

direct county appeal.

In my opinion, the Revenue bill listed in

the number one slot is important because

with the expected decline in state revenue,

this bill is the only meaningful attempt to regain

revenue for state services such as education.

It is designed to capture a tax that we

already pay but do not receive. Other states

have legislation in place, which allows them

to receive this revenue; Wyoming does not.

The Revenue bill listed in slot number

two is important because it will provide revenue

to maintain our roads and provide for

snowplowing. More than 40 percent of this

tax will be paid by out-of-state drivers. The

average driver in Wyoming would pay less

than $40 a year for this maintenance of our

roadways.

The bills in the slots 4, 5, 7 and 15 are

all bills concerning vaping. Their intent is

to keep vaping products out of the hands of

minors.

The bill in slot number 12, Medicaid expansion-

authorization, is important because

it allows Wyoming to accept money from the

federal government. Wyoming has lost out

on $100 million a year in federal monies by

not expanding Medicaid. We can no longer

afford to turn our back on this money.

The Joint Revenue committee was given

projections of coal, oil and gas revenue and

those projections are bleak. Our trust fund income

this year is $145 million less than last

year. We have cut just under a billion dollars

from our state budget over the last three

years, and have spent $623 million dollars of

our savings. Unfortunately, Wyoming must

accept the reality that it must generate revenue

if we want our basic infrastructure to

remain sound.

While I have mentioned just a few of the

bills I see as important, all bill drafts can be

located on the Wyoming Legislature website

and meeting minutes for interim committee

meetings can be located there as well at

https://www.wyoleg.gov/.

All bills that come from committees will

be reassigned either as House or Senate bills

by the time session begins and so will have

different headings, such as the Medicare

Birth Costs Recovery, which has already

been assigned as HB0024.

I am also a member of the select committee

Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource

Trust. We met once this summer in Pinedale

and reviewed proposed projects in the

area. The WWNRT has done a tremendous

amount for Wyoming’s agriculture, wildlife

and hunting. Only one-third of its costs

are footed by the state; the other two-thirds

are funded by outside organizations such as

the Wyoming Stock Growers Association,

Muley Fanatics, Trout Unlimited and Ducks

Unlimited.

I was appointed as an alternate to the Select

Water Committee, which I served on

from 2008 to 2012. This summer’s meeting

focused on water projects including the Laramie

Canal Breach. Tunnel No. 2 on the main

supply canal collapsed on July 17, causing

a canal breach and disrupting service to

more than 100,000 acres of irrigated crops

in Scottsbluff County, Neb., and Goshen

County in Wyoming.

In June, I attended a DEQ meeting in

Boulder. In August, I attended the Wyoming

State Treasurers’ annual conference. In December,

I visited Lincoln County schools,

attended a Convention of States meeting

in Thayne with Sen. Dan Dockstader and

attended a fundraiser for Pinedale High

School’s music department where I got to

listen to their Jazz Choir sing.

As we wind our year down, I wish everyone

a wonderful holiday season filled with

family and loved ones and a Happy New

Year. This year’s legislative session convenes

on Feb. 10 in the newly remodeled

Capitol Building. I will post weekly updates

as I did last year.

– Jim Roscoe, House District No. 22

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