Legislative update Feb. 11-14


Feb. 11

We welcomed Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner,

adjutant general of the Wyoming National

Guard. He presented three servicemen and

women who have done outstanding work. I

would personally like to thank all members of

the Wyoming National Guard for their service

to the state and country.

During second reading today, the House

passed, on a voice vote, seven bills including

SF37 – Wyoming Energy authority, SF63

– LSRA investments and SF43 – Hathaway

scholarship eligibility.

The House considered eight bills on third

reading – passing seven and defeating one.

Bills that were passed included these I supported:

SF50 – State Amphibian and SF51

– Tobacco tax equivalence. This is a bill that

will allow the state of Wyoming to enter negotiations

with the tribes to equalize tobacco

tax throughout Wyoming. Also SF93 – Grizzly

bear hunts.

The lone bill to fail on third reading was

SF6 – Personal property tax reporting. There

were concerns about this bill hurting small

businesses and agricultural producers.

We considered 10 bills on General File,

nine of which passed. Bills of note included

SF54 – Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy

endowment and SF78 – Archaeological

human burial sites.

Senate File 76 – Warrants for digital records

failed on a vote of 18-39-3. I voted against the

bill. The House was concerned that this bill

would allow law enforcement to access too

many digital records, and could jeopardize

citizen’s constitutional rights to privacy.

Today, the Joint Conference Committee

on the supplemental budget began to work

through the differences between the House

and Senate.

Feb. 12

Hello Sublette County,

In Joint Conference Committee on the budget,

the House and the Senate made the final

compromises between the two chambers. Staff

will prepare the final version of our report and

then the JCC will take a final vote. I believe we

came to an agreement that is beneficial for the

state and the people of Wyoming.

During second reading today, the House

passed 12 bills including:

SF78 – Archaeological human burial sites.

This is a bill that puts in place a process to address

the circumstance when a human burial

site is discovered during construction.

SF90 – Nonvested member accounts. This

bill would help make the Wyoming state retirement

plans more sound, by not allowing

members to accrue interest on their accounts

when they are not vested and not working for

the state.

The House passed all seven third-reading

bills on a consent list, meaning they were relatively

noncontroversial. Six of the bills were

Legislative update Feb. 11-14

committee bills that were debated heavily during

the interim. Bills that were passed include

these I supported:

SF37 – Wyoming Energy authority. This

bill combined two state agencies into one

agency.

SF63 – LSRA investments. This bill would

allow a portion of our “rainy day” account to

be invested in higher yielding assets.

SF43 – Hathaway scholarship eligibility.

This bill provides more emphasis to career

and Technical education programs in the Hathaway

Scholarship, and CTE is critical to satisfying

workforce needs in Wyoming.

We debated a wide range of bills on General

File including:

SJ10– Multiple use of public lands

SF83 – Real estate appraisers-licensing

amendments

SF113 – Retail purchases of alcohol liquors

for resale

SF127 – Felony fleeing or eluding police. I

have struggled to support this bill the last three

sessions, because I worry that it could create

felons out of scared youth who try to evade

law enforcement and are charged with reckless

driving.

Feb. 13

We are deep into considering Senate bills

and giving them due consideration in the

House. Vigorously debating bills is what gives

us the best possible legislation.

During second reading today, the House

passed 10 bills, including:

SJ10 – Multiple use of public lands

SF83 – Real estate appraisers, licensing

amendments

SF3 – Retail purchases of alcohol liquors

for resale

SF27 – Felony fleeing or eluding police. I

amended this bill to exclude reckless driving

from being the cause of someone qualifying

for a felony when they flee law enforcement.

I believe the charge of reckless driving is too

subjective to create a felony, even in conjunction

with eluding police.

The House passed on third reading 12 bills.

Bills that were passed included these I supported:

SF54 – Wyoming Cowboy Challenge

Academy endowment

SF89 – Death benefits – Wyoming retirement

plans

SF129 – Education reporting requirements.

This bill eliminated some reporting requirements.

I amended the bill to ensure that the

Hathaway Success Curriculum is reviewed

every two years. We continue to tinker with

this curriculum, and I believe it has been to the

Rep. Albert Sommers, House District No. 20

detriment of small school districts and student

choice.

House Members heavily debated four Senate

files today in Committee of the Whole. We

passed three bills and failed one. Bills passing

included:

SF80 – Passing stopped school bus, recorded

images. Much of the debate surrounding

this bill had to do the difference between

proving a vehicle passed a bus and proving

who the driver of the vehicle was at the time

of the offense.

SF151– Judicial salary increases

Senate File 16 failed to pass on a vote of

25-31-4. This bill would have allowed municipalities

to create special community development

districts. I voted against this bill, because

it seemed to create special districts that are not

of a critical or specific nature.

Feb. 14

Happy Valentine’s Day.

During second reading today, the House

passed two bills including:

SF80 – Passing stopped school bus-recorded

images. This bill drew a lot of debate,

as the body considered whether we should

head down the road of other states that utilize

cameras to issue vehicle violations.

SF151– Judicial salary increases

The House laid back SF131 – Spending

policy amendments for further consideration

during second reading as well.

The House passed on third-reading consent

list, 10 bills. Bills that were passed include

these I supported:

SJ10 – Multiple use of public lands

SF113 – Retail purchases of alcohol liquors

for resale

SF127 – Felony fleeing or eluding police.

I voted against this bill, although it was

amended into a better form. One of the last

amendments was not clearly written, and I

remained concerned that a felony could have

been given for a stupid mistake.

We considered on Committee of the Whole

10 bills, passing all of them on a voice vote.

Interesting bills included:

SF41 – County Fair Endowments

SF68 – Meat from harvested livestock or

poultry. This bill is designed to prevent cultured

proteins from being labeled as meat in

Wyoming. These new cultured products are

being developed, and those of us in the meat

business want the consumer to understand

what they are purchasing.

SF 72 – Sexual assault biological evidence

reporting

SF 82 – Wyoming Medicaid Fraud Control

Act

For details and status of all 2019 bills, see

https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019

I can be reached at [email protected]

com with questions or concerns.

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