Senate Debates Data Trespass Bill

Jan 21, 2015

Wyoming Senators had a lot of debate over how stiff penalties should be for those who trespass on private land while collecting data for research purposes. 

Wyoming agriculture interests are supporting the bill to thwart environmental researchers, who, they claim, often collect environmental data to support their legal efforts. The penalties for conviction would include heavy penalties and time in jail. 

Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss tried to reduce those penalties, arguing that it would be easy for someone to trespass by mistake. Baggs Republican Larry Hicks strongly objected to any weakening of the bill. 

“I want to remind the body that this is information, this data, is private information. In a lot of ways it is no different than your social security number.  It has some of the same ramifications if that resides in the public domain.”

Hicks says there would still be judicial discretion in sentencing.  The bill will be debated for a final time on Thursday.