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The Wyoming Legislature’s 67th Budget session ends on closing day with a unified budget. It now goes to Gov. Gordon

Wyoming Legislature House Floor 2024
David Dudley
/
Wyoming Public Media
Wyoming Legislature House Floor 2024

The Wyoming House and Senate have passed a unified budget. It now goes to the Governor’s desk.

On the last scheduled day of the session, the House and Senate were able to come to an agreement over a $1.1 billion difference between their original budgets.

The evening before, Gov. Mark Gordon sent out a strongly worded letter to the President of the Senate Ogden Driskill (R-Devil’s Tower) denouncing that he has yet to see the budget.

“That was the only constitutionally-mandated job this Legislature was required to do in the 2024 session. However, despite your efforts that duty is not yet fulfilled,” wrote Gordon. “To be blunt, the 67th Legislature had one job to do. It is not done yet.”

By the next afternoon, the House and Senate passed a final budget for two years.

The House voted 41-21 in favor of the budget.

“Our primary job in the Budget session is to pass a constitutional budget,” said Speaker of the House Albert Sommers (R-Pinedale). “I am proud of the work we did. This budget takes the long view, ensuring we meet community and state priorities while delivering on conservative, sound fiscal policy. That includes investments in suicide prevention, increased support of law enforcement families, property tax relief and funding for schools. It’s a budget our children and grandchildren will benefit from in the years ahead.”

It was a much closer vote in the Senate of 17-14.

“This is a hard-fought compromise,” said Driskill. “We want Wyoming to continue to be a place where families live, work and thrive. A Wyoming where industry is growing and creating jobs and those jobs are plentiful and high paying. We want communities that afford its residents the lowest cost of living possible,” Driskill added. “We want Wyoming to be a place where our freedoms are valued above all else. You will see these priorities fought for and delivered on in this budget.”

What’s in it?

The final budget spends $209 million less than the Governor proposed in November. The budget fully funds nursing homes, preschool for developmentally disabled children, and Wyoming home services for senior centers.

Further, the bill invests in mental health and funds energy projects. Additionally, and importantly, the final budget restored more than $300 million for the construction of new schools. The Legislature has also allocated $253 million for property tax cuts and refunds.

It also includes funding for Gov. Gordon’s Energy Matching Funds program.

And as part of the Department of Health’s budget, the 988 suicide hotline trust fund will be funded about $10 million, reduced from the $40 million proposed at the beginning of the session.

It keeps funding for the University of Wyoming’s gender studies course and reduced money going to the university’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

It also includes authorization to sell the Kelly Parcel to the federal government for no less than $100 million. But it includes a provision that would only allow the sale of the Kelly Parcel if the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Resource Management Plan(RMP) outcome does not include certain elements in the federal agency’s preferred option, Alternative B.

The 640 acre land sits right next to Grand Teton National Park and state officials proposed putting it up for auction to the open market a few months back. It sparked mass opposition from conservationists across the state who wanted to see it joined with the national park.

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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