Wyoming Legislature Updates – Feb. 14 & 15, 2018
by Albert Sommers, House District #20 Representative
February 16, 2018
Wednesday, February 15, 2018
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you from the 2018 Budget Session. The process for a bill during the budget session begins with a vote to see if it will be introduced. If introduced, the bill is assigned to a standing committee, and if it survives scrutiny by the committee, it comes back to the floor of the body for debate in Committee of the Whole (COW). If the bill survives a vote in COW, then it will return for second reading, and finally third reading, with the final vote in the body occurring then. The bill can be amended in committee, in COW, and during second or third reading. In other words, a bill must survive several rounds of votes and amendments just to make it to the other body (the Senate), where the process begins again. It is not, and should not, be easy for a bill to become law.
Today, my bill, House Joint Resolution 5, made it through Introduction and is headed to committee. This resolution would ask the National Park Service to work with the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho to create a wildlife conservation fee for Yellowstone National Park visitors, which would support wildlife management efforts in the three states.
HB157 passed an introductory vote today. This bill is defined to protect medical patients from sexual assault by medical practitioners. I voted for the bill. I also voted for introduction of HB25, which would change law on gravel pits. I do not like parts of this bill, but I do like the part that allows landowners to determine how they want to reclaim their private property. The bill failed introduction.
I supported HB155, which I also co-sponsored. This bill will consolidate prevention services, including suicide prevention, by giving more control to local entities. The bill would put $2 million towards prevention efforts, to replace the many cuts that have been made to these programs. The bill passed introduction. I also supported HB168, which is the Stand Your Ground legislation designed to protect those who protect themselves. This bill is controversial, and I have not taken a final position on it, but the bill passed introduction.
I voted against introduction of the edible marihuana bill, because it would have made a felon out of someone who had possession of 3 ounces of edibles. This seemed like too harsh a penalty for such a poorly defined crime, and the bill failed.
We voted on 40 bills for introduction today; I have given you just a small sample of them. I have had some good feedback from you folks back home, and I appreciate your e-mails. If I do not respond to you, please resend, in case I missed it. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you from Cheyenne on Wednesday , February 14. Today, HB44 failed introduction. This bill would have increased the tax on liquor. I voted against this proposed tax increase. I also voted against HB94, which was an attempt to position Wyoming to receive the transfer of federal lands to the state. This bill also failed. I have yet to see a proposal for the transfer of federal lands to the state that makes sense. For instance, a proposal that protects those of us who work, graze, and recreate on those federal lands.
I also voted against HB105, which failed on an introductory vote. This bill would have prohibited the implementation of immigration sanctuary policies by cities, towns and counties. I do not believe counties or municipalities should declare themselves sanctuary cities or counties, but this bill was not the answer because it was too loosely written. HB105 required cities and counties to certify that they were not protecting illegal immigrants before they could receive state money. However, there was no process in the bill for such certification.
I voted for introduction of HB138 and HB75, which would have carved off a portion of the lottery and pari-mutuel revenues, respectively, for use by the state. HB138 passed introduction; HB75 failed. I also voted for HB141, which would remove the prohibition for carrying a concealed weapon in a place of worship, but allows the place of worship to restrict the ability to carry in its building. The bill passed Introduction. I voted against HB48, which would have significantly increased the fines for cruelty to animals. I based this vote on the fact that the penalty would have been greater for assaulting an animal than for assaulting a spouse. The bill failed. I voted for HB146, which would increase the penalty for violating the State’s equal pay provisions, and make the fine similar to other related penalties. This bill passed.
If you have comments or questions, I can be reached at email@example.com