Wyoming Supreme Court rules SF 104 unconstitutional
Rules in favor of Wyoming Department of Education Superintendent, Cindy Hill
January 29, 2014
On January 28th, in a 3-2 split decision, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Senate File 104 is unconstitutional The 82-page ruling pertains to Powers v. State, 2014 WY 15, Senate File 104 litigation. The justices ruled in favor of Wyoming Department of Education Superintendent, Cindy Hill, who filed suit against the State of Wyoming and Governor Matt Mead for signing Senate File 104 into law nearly a year ago, stripping many of her duties of her elected office and put those duties into the hands of a Director of Education appointed by the Governor. The case heads now for further proceedings in Laramie County District Court. Click on the links below for more information.
Comments on Supreme Court SF 104 decision:
Governor Mead’s Statement following Supreme Court Decision
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead issued the following statement on the decision of the Wyoming Supreme Court: "This is a lengthy decision and we are still evaluating what it means. I have asked the Attorney General to provide an analysis of the legal and practical implications of the decision. We understand there will be no changes in the current structure at the Department of Education until the District Court has officially received the Supreme Court decision and further proceedings occur. The Attorney General will evaluate the opinion and provide options."
Representative Albert Sommers, HD20:
"Hello Sublette County, on Tuesday morning the Wyoming Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision, ruled that Senate File 104 was unconstitutional. Senate File 104 stripped the powers of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and placed those powers in the hands of a Director of Education, to be appointed by the governor. This bill passed the legislature last session, without my support, became law, and was implemented. The justices’ decision will be remanded back to the district court for a final ruling, and then the governor and the legislature will likely have to examine legislation and positions which were created after the bill became law. It appears clear to me that if Wyoming wants an appointed director of education, then that must occur through a constitutional amendment, a process decided by the vote of Wyoming’s citizens. We are fortunate in this nation and state to have the checks and balances created by the founding fathers to ensure that government does not over step, and the two most important of those are the courts and the voter. Wyoming should avoid splitting further apart after this decision, lay down old grievances, and work together on the important task of educating children. This news should not overshadow the unfortunate news that a passionate, articulate legislator from Campbell County passed away on Tuesday, Representative Sue Wallis, and my condolences go out to her family." Statement on Cindy Hill by Representative Albert Sommers (mp3 audio file, 1.53MB)