THE 2021 WYOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION
The 2021 Wyoming legislative session convened remotely on January 12th. Because of Covid-19, the session schedule is different than most general sessions, with the first eight-day virtual session adjourning Feb. 5. Committees will start up again on Feb. 22, and the regular session will reconvene on March 1 with a hybrid session of remote and in-person.
This gives constituents a two-week window to familiarize themselves with all the introduced bills that are still active. Wyoming Rising is here to help you effectively engage with the legislative session. 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.
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 2021 Legislation listing.
10 Steps to the Legislative Process
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 the Online Hotline for that specific bill.
- Read and listen to news coverage of the legislature. Several sources offering in-depth coverage are:
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, Senator French, Senator Cooper, Rep Laursen, Rep Rodriguez-Williams
- 02: Appropriations
- 03: Revenue: Rep Laursen
- 04: Education: Senator Coe (chair), Rep Flitner, Rep Newsome
- 05: Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources: Senator Kost, Senator French, 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 Cooper
- 10: Labor, Health & Social Services: Rep Flitner
- 11: Journal
- 12: Rules and Procedures
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.