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
• 20LSO-0297 (assigned as HB0024):
Medicaid birth costs recovery-amendments.
• 20LSO-0295: Criminal justice-mental
health-substance use programming.
• 20LSO-0291: Psychology Interjurisdictional
• 20LSO-0285: Child welfare-QRTP accreditation
• 20LSO-0273: Behavioral health services
• 20LSO-0254: Health-care claims database
• 20LSO-0132: Senior health-care special
• 20LSO-0209: Prescription tracking program
The primary focus of bills from Labor,
Health and Social Services this interim had
to do with mental health, addiction and Wyoming’s
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
• 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
• 20LSO-0263: Medicaid expansion-authorization.
• 20LSO-0266: Sales and use tax-definitions
• 20LSO-0274: Property tax exemption.
• 20LSO-0280: Nicotine products: thirdparty
• 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
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
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
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
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
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