Wyoming Legislative Coverage

Wyoming Public Radio will bring you coverage of the 2020 legislative session. Read and listen to our coverage from the session. You can also follow our coverage on Twitter using the hashtag #wyleg.

The 2020 Budget Session begins February 10th.

Keep updated with this session:

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Wyoming is one of just five states without laws pertaining to the parental rights of perpetrators of sexual assault. House Bill 107 would change that.

Stephanie Joyce

A controversial bill that some say infringes on first amendment rights has passed a Wyoming legislative committee and will move to the House floor.

A bill that would abolish the Death Penalty easily passed the Wyoming House Friday. Supporters say it's time to end government-sanctioned killing and they argue that it's a waste of taxpayer money.

DAVE PARKER / FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS

Women would have to wait 48 hours to have an abortion under a bill that was approved Friday by the Wyoming House of Representatives.

https://ecigarettereviewed.com/ / Pixabay

The American Lung Association's new State of Tobacco Control report gave Wyoming failing grades for its tobacco policies. Among the criteria was funding for prevention programs, smoke-free workplace laws, tobacco tax rates, services to help quit and the minimum age to buy tobacco. In Wyoming the minimum is 18.

Pexels

A bill passed out of a legislative committee yesterday that would make it easier for counties to collect ad valorem taxes. A report last year found counties were missing out on over $50 million in delinquent ad valorem taxes, often due to bankruptcies.

Since the legislature might once again be considering Medicaid expansion for those who can't afford insurance, the Senate is considering a bill that would pay for a study.

ideastations.org

The Wyoming Senate is taking another crack at requiring those on Medicaid to get a job, perform community service, or take college or job training classes in order to receive benefits.

Wyoming Legislature

Speaker of the House Steve Harshman convinced the House to take another step towards school safety.

Wyoming State Legislature

The Wyoming Senate voted to restore $1.5 million it removed from the state breast and cervical cancer program. The cut was made earlier in the week after members of the Appropriations Committee complained that it allowed non-poor people to access the funds.

Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

Leadership from the Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee announced plans to update and modernize oil and gas regulations. They plan to work with the public and private sector along with Governor Mark Gordon during the interim session. The committee will study how to better align rules with current practices.

Wyoming State Legislature

A bill that would require a 48 hour waiting period before someone can get an abortion has received initial support in the Wyoming House. Opponents of the bill call it government overreach and an intrusion on reproductive rights. Cheyenne Representative Sue Wilson said she struggled with the bill initially, but now fully supports it.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A number of people packed a large legislative committee room testifying on a bill that would create criminal offenses, including murder, for the harm of what the bill calls an unborn child. Senate File 128 is the Unborn Victims of Violence act.

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For the second year in a row, Wyoming lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase penalties for interfering with critical infrastructure, focusing on oil and gas facilities. It was vetoed last year by former Governor Matt Mead.

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The State Senate has voted to reduce a spending increase that's used for teacher pay. The External Cost Adjustment is part of the school-funding model and the governor supported an $18 million increase to keep the model constitutional. Tuesday night, the Senate cut that increase in half. Senators Chris Rothfuss and Jeff Wasserburger says the cut to an increase that's used for teacher pay could put the school funding model in jeopardy of being unconstitutional.

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The Wyoming Senate has cut all the funding for the state's breast and cervical cancer program. The cut came during a debate over the state budget. Sheridan Senator Dave Kinskey added that the program is not just for poor people, so people without insurance can access those funds.

Tennessee Watson

A bill that would increase penalties for interfering with the operation of critical infrastructure like pipelines or oil and gas facilities is held up in the Minerals Committee. Wyoming legislators gathered Monday to discuss the Crimes Against Critical Infrastructure bill and delayed a vote until Friday after hearing considerable public comment.

Illustration of a person vaping an e-cigarette
Consumer Reports

The House Revenue Committee voted not to adopt an additional tax on tobacco products including e-cigarettes. It would have attached one more dollar on the end of tobacco sales.

Enbridge Uranium Cartoon
Enbridge Inc.

A bill that would exempt uranium producers from a severance tax has passed through the House Revenue Committee. The goal is to ease the financial burden for companies when the market is particularly weak. The general counsel from Cameco, the state's largest uranium producer, said money saved would be used to improve operations and provide good paying jobs.

Cut Out From Rocky Mountain Power's Presentation On Its Integrated Resource Plan
Rocky Mountain Power

More and more coal-fired power plants are setting retirement dates and the next steps for them are unclear. The Senate Minerals committee heard a bill attempting to deal with these power plants. It aims to create a process allowing decommissioned plants to continue under new ownership.

Logo is courtesy of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition

A bipartisan bill that would make Wyoming the first state to legally classify digital assets as property, is heading to the Senate floor.

Wyoming lawmakers are considering a bill that would add a work requirement to those who receive Medicaid.

 

The new state auditor, Kristi Racines, promises to bring better transparency to the state's expenditures.

Bob Beck

This week the legislature's Senate Corporations and Elections Committee entertained a couple of bills that would change how people vote in the primary election. One was a Republican Party driven bill that would keep people from changing parties after a specific date.

It was crafted in response to last year's GOP gubernatorial primary where some think democrats helped determine the outcome by crossing over and voting in the Republican primary. Committee Chairman Bill Landen of Casper was not convinced that something needed to be done.

Tennessee Watson


For years Wyoming lawmakers have been grappling with how to ensure kids are safe at school. In 2009 they passed anti-bullying legislation. Last year they granted districts the right to decide whether to arm teachers and staff as a defense against violent intruders.

This session school violence is once again on the docket. Senate File 64  School Safety and Security passed out of the Senate this week and is now being considered by the House. The legislation would require all districts to develop comprehensive school safety and security plans.

Wyoming Public Radio's education reporter Tennessee Watson sat down with Cheyenne Senator Affie Ellis to discuss why she thinks this legislation is needed.

screenshot from Will Caldwell's video on Vimeo

While many school districts across the state already create safety and security plans, there's nothing currently in statute requiring them to do so. A school safety and security bill moving through the state legislature would make such plans mandatory.

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Legislatures across the region are considering heavy restrictions to abortion. Activity by opponents of abortion rights at the state level could be related to the recent shift at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Wyoming Senate has defeated a bill that would have allowed the state to explore an alternative voting method. Laramie Senator Chris Rothfuss was proposing that the state switch to an open primary where voters could vote for all candidates seeking a particular office and the top two vote-getters could advance to the general election, no matter their party affiliation.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Cheyenne Senator Anthony Bouchard said gun free zones create confusion for those with concealed carry permits about where they can legally take their weapons. He added that those with concealed carry permits could help keep members of the public safe.

layout by Tennessee Watson

A bill restricting women's access to abortion received initial approval Tuesday from the House Judiciary Committee.

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