The 2021 Legislative Session adjourns on Tuesday April 7.
Here are some of the bills we’ve been watching.
Wyoming Senate killed Medicaid expansion, again.
Facing enormous political pressure, and failing to agree on verifiable facts, the Wyoming Legislature declined to close the Medicaid gap in Wyoming, which advocates have pushed for years. Read the article on Wyo File: https://www.wyofile.com/how-the-wyoming-senate-killed-medicaid-expansion-again/
Bill to reduce Dem participation on Management Council heads to Senate for concurrence
Sponsored by Rep. Dan Laursen (R-Powell), House Bill 36 – Management council membership reduces the overall number of positions on the Legislature’s Management Council and effectively reduce the proportion of minority-party lawmakers that must be included by making several of the seats available to “at-large” candidates. Read the article on Wyo File: https://www.wyofile.com/bill-to-reduce-dem-participation-on-management-council-nears-passage/. If the Senate concurs, the bill will head to Gov. Mark Gordon for a signature.
Legislature strips Game and Fish of elk feedground closure power.
This bill creates a politicized process that the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission would have to follow before being able to close an elk feedground. Legislators are hindering Game and Fish from making science-based decisions in the best interest of Wyoming wildlife and communities. Supporters say feedground decisions impact cattle and the bill will ensure those interests are considered. Critics contend the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is once again being shackled by politics. Read the article on Wyo File: https://www.wyofile.com/legislature-strips-game-and-fish-of-elk-feedground-closure-power/
Education funding bill passes Senate, heads to House for concurrence.
Voter ID bill passes Wyoming Legislature.
A bill requiring Wyoming citizens to present specific forms of photo identification when casting their ballots in elections sailed through the Senate on Thursday and will now head to the governor’s desk for review. Read the article on Casper Star Tribune: https://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/voter-id-bill-passes-wyoming-legislature/article_3d70bce0-2802-5271-a199-ce9256ddc207.html
Transfer of Federal Lands.
One win: HB 141, Transfer of federal lands, sponsored by: Representatives Wharff, Baker, Eklund and Laursen was not considered for introduction in the House. This marks the upteenth time that a group of Wyoming legislators, flying in the face of public opinion and the will of Wyoming people, has tried to advance the idea of unconstitutionally seizing federal public lands in Wyoming. Read the text of the bill here: https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2021/HB0141
Net Metering Systems.
Another win: Net Metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for electricity they add to the grid. This reduces their electricity bills. Opponents of the legislation fear that it could harm the solar industry in the state. The Senate narrowly passed the bill 16 to 13 but it died in Committee in the Wyoming House. Read the text of the bill here: https://wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2021/SF0016
A slate of anti-choice, anti-abortion rights bills.
Bills that have passed in the Legislature and are headed to the Governor’s desk for signature include proposals such as “Born alive infant-means of care” (Senate File 34), “Homicide amendments” (Senate File 96), and “University of Wyoming-ban on funding for abortion” (House Bill 253).
Naral Pro-Choice Wyoming has a synopsis of each bill here: https://prochoicewyoming.org/2021/03/04/legislative-bill-filing-way/
Several more bills thankfully did not pass:
- HB0197 – “Abortion-48 hour waiting period.” Was not considered in Committee.
- Senate File 133 – “Prohibiting abortifacients and chemical abortions.” Passed Senate but was not considered by the House.
- House Bill 70 – “Abortion-informed consent.” Passed committee but was not considered by the House.
- House Bill 134 – “No abortion after heartbeat.” Passed committee but was not considered by the House.
- House Bill 161 – “Human life equality-prohibiting discriminatory abortions” Passed House but was not considered by Senate.
- House Bill 235 – “Human life protection act” Was not considered in Committee.
To see read the bills, watch the legislature in action, and provide input to legislators, visit the legislative website (wyoleg.gov).