Legislative update 3-4-22
March 4, 2022
An Update on 66th Budget Session of the Wyoming State Legislature from the desk of Representative Newsome
Cheyenne, Wyo. – The Wyoming Legislature is more than halfway through the 2022 Budget Session. Wednesday, March 3rd marked the crossover period for the body, meaning it was the last day for third reading in the house of origin. Any legislation that did not successfully pass third reading in the primary house on March 3 did not go on for further consideration in the opposite chamber. As I write this column, 133 bills are no longer active and 116 remain in play.
HONORING RYLEE McCOLLUM AND OTHER WYOMING FALLEN HEROES
On Wednesday, March 3rd, the Wyoming Legislature joined together in passing a resolution honoring fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum and 21 other military members who have lost their lives since September 11, 2001. A poem that was written by Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum’s father, Jim McCollum, was read during the commemoration. The poem honored his son, Rylee, and received a standing ovation. It was a touching event and a stark reminder of the incredible sacrifices our men and women in uniform make for our freedom. Today and everyday we must remember the incredible bravery of our Wyoming heroes. If you are interested in watching the joint convening, visit wyoleg.gov.
This week the Senate passed the redistricting bill – HB100. Every ten years the State is required to redraw the state’s legislative districts based on population changes. The bill originated in the House starting with the Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions committee bill. The interim committee worked for months, meeting with the public and working with county clerks to get a draft bill ready.
The House debated the bill and passed it with a few amendments during the first week of Session. That bill version expanded representation in the House by three members – two in the House and one in the Senate, taking the House to 62 members and the Senate to 31. After hearing and working the House bill, the Senate made additional amendments, the most notable was keeping each body at the same number of members, 60 in the House and 30 in the Senate.
The bill now comes back to the House for a vote. If it’s not passed, it will trigger a conference committee with three representatives and three senators. This committee will be tasked with addressing the major differences between the two versions and will bring a new map for each chamber to vote on.
The Senate and House passed have passed their own versions of budget bills for the 2023-2024 biennium. The proposed budget for traditional state resources of approximately $2.8 billion is dollar-for-dollar ten percent lower than a full decade ago – and that’s not considering inflation. Funding for education is essentially flat for school year 2022 and school year 2023. A conference committee is slated to meet to bring the two together and send the bill off to the Governor.
HB44 Mobile home and vehicle titles and transfers. This is a clean-up bill that defines a more efficient process for the title transfer of mobile homes. HB44 is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee.
BY THE NUMBERS
269 bills were filed in the House and Senate this session.
● 155 bills in the House
● 114 in the Senate
As of 3/04/22
● 51 bills remain in the House
● 60 bills remain in the Senate
HB31 Wyoming’s tomorrow scholarship program would provide scholarships for nontraditional students. This bill failed in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
HB32 Vaccine requirements-limitations would require employers to accommodate unvaccinated workers. This bill did make the cut-off deadline.
HB100 Redistricting of the legislature - the redistricting bill, discussed above, awaits a vote in the House. If passed, it will be discussed further in conference committee.
SF97 Change in Party Affiliation would limit party affiliation changes ahead of the Aug. 16 primary election - this bill is being worked on the Senate side. This bill is waiting to be heard by the House Appropriations Committee.
SF0102 Second Amendment Protection Act blocks any state official or agency from enforcing laws deemed to violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This bill is awaiting debate in the House of Representatives.
SF103 Education-limitations on teaching critical race history-2 prohibit schools from teaching critical race theory - this bill is being worked on the Senate side. This bill is waiting for discussion in the House Education Committee.
As a business owner in Cody for over 30 years, Sandy has worked on budgets, financial projects and personnel issues. Her businesses have survived in bad times and thrived in good times. Sandy and Bob have always balanced their budgets and saved money during good times to offset the downturns they knew were coming. This experience has served Sandy well as she has taken on the challenges of the state’s economy.
Sandy is a member of the board on the Forward Cody Board and continues to serve as chairman for three years. Sandy has been an investor since the beginning of this great organization. First and foremost, Forward Cody is focused on retention and expansion of existing Cody businesses. They strive to maintain and enhance our economic status as a community.
Sandy serves on the House Education, Travel, Recreation, Wildlife & Cultural Resources Committees. She also serves as a member of the Wyoming Gaming Commission.
Sandy has lived in Cody with her husband Bob since 1982. They have one son, Wiley.
Citizens interested in following the work of the Wyoming State Legislature can listen online, track bills and contact their legislators at www.wyoleg.gov.