Wyoming legislative leaders say they will delay the bulk of the 2021 legislative session until the state's COVID-19 outbreak is under control.
The legislature's Management Council plans to have staggered swearing-in ceremonies in early January and then will have a virtual opening day on January 12, 2021. That day will include the governor's State of the State message. The rest of the session will be delayed.
Legislative Service Office Director Matt Obrecht said with large numbers of legislators, staff, lobbyists and others who are involved in a legislative session, it's better to wait.
"It just became apparent to me, fairly early on, that there was no way we could hold a typical session in January with the virus rates we see right now," said Obrecht.
Obrecht added that they will need to pass a budget by sometime in May, but there are numerous options on how to finish the session including adding days to the 2022 session.
Some lawmakers complained that delaying the session could infringe on their jobs, especially those in the agriculture industry. But Sen. Bill Landen of Casper said the session impacts more than just legislators and he worried about the safety of staff, including the large numbers of retirees who help with each session.
It remains to be seen what safety mandates will be imposed. Speaker of the House Steve Harshman said that decision will be made by the legislature when they finally meet.