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Wyoming Speaker of the House responds to national critique of not introducing certain bills

Bob Beck
Wyoming Public Radio

Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives Albert Sommers released a statement Sunday Feb. 26 saying he is focused on Wyoming solutions, not out of state influences. He said bills that are duplicates, unconstitutional, not well vetted, negate local control or restrict the rights of people should not become law. He said this is why he has not allowed some bills to be heard on the House floor. As Speaker of the House, he has the job of deciding whether a bill is considered by a committee or not at all.

This came after Sommers was targeted by the President of the State Freedom Caucus Network Andy Roth, on Friday in a tweet. Roth posted a picture of Sommers accusing him of blocking three specific bills. Wyoming U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman retweeted Roth’s post.

The Freedom Caucus Network is a national network of states that provide staff and strategy to states in the network to push their agenda. Those values include strengthening pro-life protections, restoring parental rights in education, decreasing property taxes and ensuring election integrity…to name a few. The Wyoming Freedom Caucus launched right before the state’s 67th legislative session with a few Wyoming policy makers announcing their membership.

In the press release, Sommers highlighted a couple of bills that he has not brought forward and explained his reasoning specifically. One would allow Wyomingites to use their concealed carry permits as voter ID. Sommers said he did not introduce it because there is a mirror bill that already passed this session.

Another was one that would have created an education savings account. He said he believes the bill is unconstitutional.

He also explained why he kept two anti-LGBTQ bills in his drawer. One bill would not allow elementary teachers to teach sexual orientation and gender identity to children. Sommers said this type of teaching is not happening in Wyoming schools and it strips local control, plus he added that he believes it is unconstitutional.

The second bill would have criminalized anyone who allowed someone under the age of 18 to do any surgery or drug that changes their sex. Sommers said he sent a similar bill known as ‘Chloe’s Law’out to a committee and he did not see the need to spend time debating two similar bills.

This past Friday, Feb. 24 was the last day for bills to be reported out of committee.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. She has won a regional Murrow award for her reporting on mental health and firearm owners. During her time leading the Wyoming Public Media newsroom, reporters have won multiple PMJA, Murrow and Top of the Rockies Excellence in Journalism Awards. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.

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