The 2019 Wyoming legislative session is in full swing which means the time is now to be an engaged citizen! The following is a compilation of helpful resources, updates on selected bills, and notes on what your elected representatives have been up to in this session.
The Legislative Service Office website lists 499 bills and joint resolutions filed by representatives and senators by the final House deadline on January 29 (Senate deadline January 24). Important deadlines in the coming week are:
- February 1: Last day for bills to be reported out of Committee in house of origin
- February 4: Last day for Committee of the Whole (COW) in house of origin
- February 5: Last day for Second Reading in house of origin
- February 6: Last day for Third Reading on Bills in house of origin
Not all bills will make it out of their house of origin. Keep an eye on the list of inactive bills (those that have failed, missed a cut-off deadline, or will otherwise not move forward in the legislative process) by using the “Inactive Bill” filter.
10 Steps to the Legislative Process (from A Citizen Guide to the Wyoming Legislature)
A general summary of the legislative process in Wyoming for a bill to become law is below. A bill can fail or be amended at any point during these steps.
- A bill is drafted by LSO for a committee or individual member.
- The bill title is read aloud and assigned to a committee by the presiding officer. (A 2/3 vote is required during a Budget Session.)
- The committee hears the bill and votes whether to: Pass, Do Not Pass, or Pass with Amendments.
- Members in the Chamber of Origin debate the bill for the first time during Committee of the Whole and vote to support or oppose.
- The bill is debated and voted on in the Chamber of Origin during second and third readings.
- If passed by the Chamber of Origin, the bill moves to the second Chamber and the process above is repeated.
- If passed by the second Chamber, with no changes the bill is sent directly to the Governor for his/her signature or veto.
- If the Senate and House versions of the bill differ, a Joint Conference Committee is appointed to reconcile the differences.
- If a compromise is reached, the bill is sent to the Governor.
- The Governor can sign or veto the bill. The bill can also become law without the Governor’s signature. The Legislature can override a Governor’s veto with a 2/3 vote by the House and Senate.
Become Informed / Take Action:
- Track a bill’s status, read the full text along with any amendments, see votes here. The Digest tab shows detail of votes.
- Wyoming Manual of Legislative Procedures Very informative for answering questions like “What is a Committee of the Whole (CoW?” and “What happens on the first, second, and third readings?” More detailed than A Citizen Guide to the Wyoming Legislature.
- ACLU of Wyoming Legislative Advocacy Toolkit A great infographic of how the legislature works and suggestions for calling, writing, and meeting your legislators.
- During the session, use the Online Hotline to recommend support for or opposition to a specific bill. A short comment (140 characters) can be included. The information you submit will be sent to the representative and/or senator you select. When viewing a bill, use the “Comment” tab to open a comment form for that bill.
- Read and listen to news coverage of the legislature. Several sources offering in-depth coverage are:
- Wyoming Public Media (includes links to video and audio feeds from the session)
- Casper Star Tribune
- Much of the legislative work is accomplished in committees throughout the year. During session, standing committees review bills, hear testimony and recommend action on legislation for the consideration of the full body of the Senate or House (A Citizen Guide to the Wyoming Legislature, p. 19). Committee recommendations have a lot of influence on a bill’s passage (or not); knowing which committees your legislators are on is important.
- Sign up for email notice of committee meetings scheduled that day here or view the Session Schedule Calendar online.