Wyoming Legislative update - Feb. 21, 2013
by Representative Albert Sommers, House District 20
February 21, 2013
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers coming to you from Cheyenne. On Thursday, we passed two Compressed Natural Gas bills out of the house, and those were Senate Files 23 and 52. SF23 provided a mechanism by which the state of Wyoming can provide limited economic development loans for the construction of Compressed Natural Gas fueling stations. SF 52 requires state agencies to purchase a limited amount of vehicles which operate on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) when buying new fleets. There is a great deal of flexibility written into this bill to ensure that agencies can opt out of the requirements if the availability of CNG or CNG vehicles is too limited, and if the economics does not make sense. I believe natural gas, through the use of CNG, will eventually eliminate our nation’s dependency on foreign oil, and will help us become energy independent. In process we will be burning a relatively clean, efficient fuel, which is readily available in Wyoming, the United States, and North America. I believe it is important to incentivize these emerging technologies in their start up, but then government must back away and let private industry succeed or fail on its own.
Two bills died today in the House in committee of the whole, and they were Senate Files 110 and 135. SF 110 was attempting to clarify how horse trailers with living quarters are to be treated with respect to registration fees. Currently, some folks get them registered under house trailer fees, which is cheaper than horse trailer fees. This bill was supported by county treasurers on our side of the state, but died because members felt it needed more work. I voted for the bill, because it could have been fixed on second reading with some thoughtful amendments.
Senate File 135 was a bill creating regulations around assisted living facilities, but was not supported by the association of those facilities. Many of the issues raised are being dealt with in another venue, and I felt those folks needed an opportunity to find the solutions, so I voted against the bill.
On Friday, we will hear Senate File 118, an eminent domain revision bill, in committee of the whole. This bill has generated a lot of discussion as it has pitted landowners against industry and state agencies. The guts of the bill simply states that if a condemnor does not prove his case by a preponderance of the evidence, then the condemnation case will be dismissed from the court, and he will have to reapply, rather than just being able to amend his lawsuit. The bill also would require the condemnor to pay the landowner’s attorney’s fees if the court dismisses the lawsuit. I believe this a good bill and gives landowners better footing in these condemnation proceedings. This should prove to be a hotly debated bill, and should be a close vote on the floor.