Governor Matt Mead has vetoed a bill aimed to make new criminal classifications for those damaging or slowing down critical infrastructure like oil and gas facilities or pipelines. In a public letter, he said it was imprecisely crafted with some crimes already covered under other statutes.
Senate File 74 faced controversy during the past month’s legislative session with many concerned it could impact free speech and peaceful assembly with overly broad language.
Governor Mead wrote the bill’s broadness could adversely impact ranchers and farmers, who have facilities listed as critical infrastructure. Fenced dams, for example, which are used for irrigation, are common and ordinary facilities.
Head of Wyoming’s Sierra Club Chapter Connie Wilbert said the governor’s concerns reflected the same ones of her organization. She said there were so many amendments in the end, some legislators didn’t even understand it.
"That was really the best reflection of the fact the bill was not carefully drafted from the beginning to meet Wyoming's needs and serve the people.” Wilbert said, "If we need to strengthen our laws, we should take the time to do it right and this bill just didn’t do that.”
The Senate overrode the veto today, but the attempt failed in the House 20 to 33. Governor Mead wrote he would like to see the bill come up again in the next session.