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:

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.

www.publicdomainpictures.net

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.

Pexels

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.

Creative Commons CC0

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.

DAVE PARKER / FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS

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.

An all-Republican legislative committee voted to reject a bill that would have prevented people from switching political parties prior to the primary election.

Uranium, coal, oil and gas, and wind energy are all being discussed this legislature -- and the word of the hour is revenue
Cooper McKim/Wyoming Public Radio

The big hitters in the energy industry are all back on the docket this session: coal, wind, uranium, and oil and gas. Unsurprisingly, the focus is on revenue for all of them. Here’s a look at a few of the bills still under discussion.

Bob Beck

A private school with some notable political ties has gotten into a fight with Teton County over whether it can build a new campus to accommodate a growing population. The Jackson Hole Classical Academy teaches a back-to-basics curriculum with a slight religious bent. After repeatedly being denied a chance to build to a scale school officials say is needed, the fight has come to Cheyenne and legislators are involved.

Wyoming Legislature

A bill that would have taken away local zoning policies when it comes to private schools was changed to place private facilities on equal footing with public schools.

Two bills are currently moving through the legislature that would give the Wyoming Game and Fish Department more flexibility to manage the collecting of antlers on the landscape. Right now, people can collect them anytime between January 1 and May 1 in designated areas of the state.

Wyoming State Legislature

A group of Wyoming legislators is hoping this is the year that they repeal the death penalty. Douglas Senator Brian Boner and Cheyenne Representative Jared Olsen are sponsoring the bill. They note that no one has been executed in Wyoming since 1992, yet the state still has to pay nearly a million dollars a year to defend cases. 

Public Domain

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon asked the legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee to fund a $10 million carbon capture test project. Gordon said the money would be provided to the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources.

Leonard J. DeFrancisci via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Wyoming legislature is considering a bill that would raise millions to support the state's tourism economy.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Three bills that are intended to help fix Wyoming's wage gap are headed to the House Floor. Wyoming ranks 50th in the country when it comes to how much women earn on the dollar compared to men.

Bob Beck

If you walk the halls of the Jonah Building where the Wyoming legislature meets you will see lawmakers discussing hot topics related to education, health care, elections and what to do about Wyoming's growing prison population. But like most years the main focus is on money. For several years now lawmakers have worried about unstable revenue sources. 

Pages