The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming has named Sabrina King as its new Policy Director in hopes of increasing its presence in Wyoming, after financial pressures forced the organization to shrink about a year and a half ago.
Since the American Civil Liberties Union office in Cheyenne closed in April of 2015, the few remaining ACLU staff in the state have been working specifically on LGBT rights issues, including the passage of non-discrimination resolutions in a number of communities. King said they will now take on other civil liberties issues criminal justice reform. But King said Wyoming’s financial crisis may present challenges to the organization’s efforts.
“We’re going through a down budget cycle. The state is struggling with funding,” said King. “So, the question is how do you do something like, get criminal justice reform passed? Which, in the long run, is going to save the state money. It’s going to do a lot of good for the department of corrections.”
King grew up in Utah and previously worked in South Dakota and western Colorado, and said those experiences uniquely outfitted her for advocacy in rural areas, like Wyoming.
“Because some of the challenges that are aced in rural, western states are unique, I think it’s important to have people in those states, who are on the ground, who are talking to local policy makers, who have a face here,” King said.
King will be responsible for keeping an eye on issues during the Wyoming Legislative session in January. She said they are expecting to see some social issue bills, like the anti-transgender “bathroom bill” in North Carolina.