Guide to the 2020 Wyoming Legislative Session

The 2020 Wyoming legislative session convened on February 10.  As a budget session, it’s a short 20 days, so things move quickly. Wyoming Rising is here to help you stay involved. We’ll track a handful of bills and let you know when and how to contact your legislators. To receive our Action Alerts, subscribe to our mailing list.

In a budget session, non-budget bills require a 2/3 vote before introduction. This means bills can die a quick death without ever going to committee.

The first two dates to note are  (see session schedule for all the deadlines):

  • Day 5 Friday, February 14: Last day for bill introductions.
  • Day 11 Monday, February 24: Last day for bills to be reported out of Committee in House of Origin.

Between the 5th and 11th pay attention to committee work. If a bill is in committee and your representative or senator is a member, contact them. Otherwise, contact a member(s) of the committee.

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 on the 2020 Legislation listing.

Contacting a Legislator:

Call:

  • Senate Receptionist: 307.777.7711 (messages for Senators)
  • House Receptionist: 307.777.7852 (messages for Representatives)
  • Telephone Hotline: 866.996.8683. Use to recommend a vote for/against pending legislation or to obtain the status of a bill in process. Available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on days the Legislature is in session.

Submit Online Form:

  • Online Hotline: During the legislative session, you can recommend support, opposition or leave a comment on legislation using the Online Hotline.

Email:

Northwest Wyoming Legislators

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.

  1. A bill is drafted by LSO for a committee or individual member.
  2. 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.)
  3. The committee hears the bill and votes whether to: Pass, Do Not Pass, or Pass with Amendments.
  4. Members in the Chamber of Origin debate the bill for the first time during Committee of the Whole and vote to support or oppose.
  5. The bill is debated and voted on in the Chamber of Origin during second and third readings.
  6. If passed by the Chamber of Origin, the bill moves to the second Chamber and the process above is repeated.
  7. If passed by the second Chamber, with no changes the bill is sent directly to the Governor for his/her signature or veto.
  8. If the Senate and House versions of the bill differ, a Joint Conference Committee is appointed to reconcile the differences.
  9. If a compromise is reached, the bill is sent to the Governor.
  10. 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 the Online Hotline for that specific bill.
  • Read and listen to news coverage of the legislature. Several sources offering in-depth coverage are:
  • Sign up for email notice of committee meetings scheduled that day here or view the Session Schedule Calendar online.

Standing Session Committees / Northwest Wyoming Legislators:

The Senate and House have 12 parallel standing committees. You will see these referred to as S01 Judiciary, H01 Judiciary and so on. The standing committee assignments of senators and representatives from Northwest Wyoming for the 2020 session are:

  • 01: Judiciary: Senator Kost
  • 02: Appropriations: Senator Agar
  • 03: Revenue: Rep Laursen
  • 04: Education: Senator Coe (chair), Rep Flitner, Rep Northrup (chair)
  • 05: Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources: Senator Kost, Rep Laursen, Rep Winter
  • 06: Travel, Recreation, Wildlife & Cultural Resources: Rep Newsome, Rep Flitner, Rep Winter
  • 07: Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions
  • 08: Transportation, Highways & Military Affairs: Rep Newsome
  • 09: Minerals, Business & Economic Development: Senator Coe, Rep Greear
  • 10: Labor, Health & Social Services
  • 11: Journal
  • 12: Rules and Procedure: Rep Laursen, Rep Greear

Following a legislator’s work during the session is one of the best ways to know how well they are representing you, their constituent, and their positions. Look at the digest version of a bill to see how legislators vote in their standing committees, on CoW votes, and on third reading votes. Bills sponsored can be found on each legislator’s profile.

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