2019 legislative session

Corporations Committee hears from its first public commenter
Cooper McKim

A crowd lined a room in the Wyoming Liquor Division as the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee heard testimony on two bills that would affect the solar industry. After nearly four hours of impassioned speaking, both bills died on split seven to seven votes.

Naughton Power Plant; Rocky Mountain Power's coal-fired power plant looking at early unit closures
Pacificorp

Wyoming's Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee tabled a bill that would have changed how the Public Service Commission (PSC) oversees coal-fired power plants that are closing early. The bill considered requiring the PSC to consider socioeconomic factors, reliability impacts and any other information deemed necessary when looking at early retirement.

Agenda of topics to be discussed in the coming committee
Legislative Service Office

Wyoming's Management Council has started a new, one-year legislative committee in response to the recent spate of bankruptcies in the coal industry. The hope is to produce legislation that puts Wyoming in an improved position in future reorganizations.

Catherine Wheeler

The Wyoming Legislature's Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee met in Gillette this week to discuss potential closures of coal power plants in the state. Rocky Mountain Power's parent company is considering early retirements of its coal plants finding many of them are uneconomic.

Catherine Wheeler

The Wyoming Legislature's joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee met for an interim session in Gillette this week.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Gov. Mark Gordon said a bill that takes away a county's ability to apply zoning regulations to private schools can become law without his signature.

Wikimedia.org

A new law passed in the Wyoming government gives the University of Wyoming approval and funding for new student housing construction. This bill came about after years of discussion about developing new student housing.

Bob Beck

While the Wyoming legislature was busy fighting about private schools, the budget and a few tax issues, it also passed legislation that continues to make the state the place to be for Blockchain technology.

Flickr Creative Commons/Jason Carter

Governor Mark Gordon has signed into law a bill that approves funding for a regulatory program to grow and sell hemp.

Tennessee Watson

A bill to address the financial challenges faced by poor Wyomingites who are elderly or totally disabled did not make it out of this year's legislative session.

CC0 Public Domain

Back in September, a federal judge ruled the Greater Yellowstone grizzlies should be put back under Endangered Species Act protections, which means the federal government has the last say in the bear's management. But during Wyoming's legislative session, Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill that authorizes the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to manage grizzly bears. If the commission does decide to manage the bears, would it be legal?

Rachel Girt

With the end of the legislative session, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon is spending most of his time reviewing bills. He takes a break to join Bob Beck to discuss the past legislative session. 

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming legislature has passed a bill that makes it legal to grow hemp in Wyoming, and legalizes the sale of products made from hemp, including CBD oil.

A bill that would have imposed a 20-hour work requirement on those who receive Medicaid has been defeated.

Bob Beck

Community Colleges may soon be able to offer bachelors degrees of applied sciences. The House gave final approval to a bill that supporters say will help economic development and can improve the number of four-year degrees in Wyoming.

Stephanie Joyce

The Wyoming House and Senate went well into the morning hours and adjourned without reaching a deal on a bill that provides a severance tax break for closed in oil and gas wells.

The disagreement was over the price when the tax kicked in. Earlier in the day Cheyenne Representative Bob Nicholas feared that the legislation would let some companies take advantage of the state by re-starting wells and paying small amounts of severance tax money at a point where the wells are the most productive.

Wyoming State Legislature

  

The Wyoming legislative session has technically adjourned, though there are still some loose ends to wrap up. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to discuss Medicaid, tax measures, and what could carry into the interim session.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Senate has passed a bill that would allow the Board of Medicine to sanction doctors who don't tell the state that they performed an abortion. Supporters say they are trying to put teeth into a law that currently exists.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given final approval to a bill that will allow a private school to be built in Teton County without interference from local officials.

Senate Defeats Lodging Tax

Feb 26, 2019
Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The last major revenue raising measure for the state has failed. The Senate defeated a 5 percent lodging tax increase, with 3 percent of revenues going towards statewide tourist promotion and the rest going to counties.

Dwayne Reilander via CC BY-SA 4.0

Environmental groups filed a notice to sue the state of Wyoming. This comes after Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill that allows the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to authorize a grizzly bear hunt in the state.

Senate Considers Hemp Bill

Feb 22, 2019
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

A bill that would finally allow Wyoming farmers to grow industrial Hemp has made its way through initial debate in the State Senate.

Falmouth Public Library

The Wyoming Senate has given initial support to a five percent lodging tax that could provide over $20 million to Wyoming's tourism industry. Three percent of the tax would go towards state tourism promotion and the other two percent would go to counties to promote local tourism. Senator Hank Coe of Cody said during floor debate that the tax is important.

DAVE PARKER / FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS

A Senate committee has voted 4-1 to approve a bill that would require doctors who perform abortions to document how many times they have performed the procedure.

Oil and gas drilling on Butler’s property.
Cooper McKim

A bill that would give a severance tax exemption to encourage oil and gas producers to re-open shut down wells will go to the House Floor.

People listen to proceedings in the Wyoming House of Representatives
Bob Beck

A bill that would remove county zoning authority from over private schools has received initial support from the Wyoming House of Representatives.

Falmouth Public Library

The Wyoming Senate will soon get a chance to debate a 5 percent statewide lodging tax proposal that supporters say will raise $32 million. Most of the money will go to fund tourism promotion in the state.

Public Domain

Wyoming is a step closer to having a new public records law. The House passed Senate File 57 that sets up deadlines for governmental agencies to respond to a public records request and puts in place an ombudsman whose job is to make sure those requests are met.

Strong opposition to a proposed corporate income tax that was targeted at large-box stores will likely die this session without a vote. After a lot of opposition, the bill started to lose support in the Senate.

Screenshot from SF 118
wyoleg.gov

A bill under discussion in the Wyoming legislature called tax liability mineral production may not sound important, but Sheridan Representative Cyrus Western, and other legislators, assure that it is. Counties see it as a step towards recovering taxes owed to them from mineral companies - ad valorem taxes.

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