2019 legislative session

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. 

Rachel Girt

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said the state's best years are ahead and outlined several plans during his state of the state message to move Wyoming forward.

Wyoming Legislature

Wyoming House Minority Floor Leader Cathy Connolly urged members of the House of Representatives to support anti-discrimination legislation.

Wyoming State Legislature

During speeches kicking off the start of the 2019 legislative session, the Senate and House Republican legislative leaders say it's time to look closely at expanding Wyoming's tax base.

Wyoming State Legislature

The Wyoming legislative session gets underway today. Wyoming Public Radio news director Bob Beck - who has covered lawmakers since 1985 - joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to discuss what might happen this year.

State of Wyoming Legislature

A State Senator has proposed a bill that would no longer let people change political parties close to the primary election.

Last year, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the state can't force air ambulance companies to charge the same rate as a ground ambulance. The cost of a ride in an ambulance is about $5000 while a helicopter ride can cost nine times more.

Cartoon sketch field pumpjack
sapunkele

Minority owners of oil and gas rights are seeing excessive profits from a certain practice, according to Gillette Senator Michael Von Flatern. He plans to introduce a bill that would limit some of the benefits minority owners receive in January’s full legislative session... specifically when some landowners with minimal property rights are draining oil and gas owned primarily by other operators.

Safe2Tell Wyoming

Wyoming's Safe2Tell program has received over 1,500 tips from students since its implementation two years ago.

Wyoming Legislature

Wyoming's Joint Revenue Committee will not change how ad valorem taxes are collected just yet. The one-time mineral property tax has left counties over $50 million in the hole, as of July, due to systematic issues like an 18-month wait for tax collection and prioritizing creditors in debt collection. An agreeable solution is still out of reach, with legislature cycling through the same options year after year.

Bob Beck

Wyoming's prisons are overcrowded and the problem is predicted to get much worse. The Wyoming Department of Corrections was forced to place 88 prisoners out of state this year and so the state brought in the Council of State Government's Justice Reinvestment program to try and find some solutions. The reason for the growth is that too many people are being returned to prison for probation and parole violations. 

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Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming Legislature's Management Council has voted to change and weaken its anti-discrimination and harassment policy.

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