Wyoming Legislature update – Feb. 2, 2015
by Albert Sommers, House District #20 Representative
February 4, 2015
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting from the Capital on Monday. Bills which passed Second Reading included one to allow and regulate a hemp extract for epilepsy, the omnibus water bill, a resolution supporting local food production, and my bill, HB87, dealing with the K12 standard setting process.
Bills which passed third reading headed for Senate that I supported included a bill to assess a fee for 911 services for pre-paid wireless, a bill establishing a new pension account for volunteer firefighters and EMTs, and a bill ensuring student religious liberties.
I did not support HB83, the Religious Freedom Act. The bill was improved with an amendment I co-sponsored, which would ensure that governmental employees would still be required to perform their duties, regardless of their religious viewpoints. Civil servants are not forced to apply for these jobs, but they should be required to serve all of the public once they take the job. I still could not support the bill, because I remain concerned about the unintended consequences of the bill. The "Jim Crow" laws of the old south allowed businesses to post signs forbidding African Americans from entering their establishments. Do we want signs posted on businesses stating "No Muslims Allowed" or "No Christians Allowed"? This is America, and our religious liberties are protected by the Wyoming and US Constitutions. The bill passed the House.
I also did not support HB114, which would repeal all gun-free zones in Wyoming, including k12 schools. I co-sponsored an amendment which would have allowed local school boards to determine who could carry a gun in the schools of their district. I believe the best government is that closest to the people, and I believe those boards should be allowed to make this decision. The amendment was narrowly defeated, and so I voted against the bill. The school districts in Sublette County have told me they do not support this bill. I have been a gun enthusiast since I was a small child, but I could not support repealing the gun free zone in K12 schools, without some local control.
Some of the bills we heard that I supported in Committee of the Whole today, included a bill to create a task force to examine the development of career-technical scholarships, a joint resolution to ask Congress to better manage the expanding wild horse problem in Wyoming, a bill to eliminate the SAWs writing test, a joint resolution asking the feds to finalize their draft EIS on the Bear Lodge rare-earth mining project in a timely manner, and a couple of bills expanding opportunities for disabled hunters. If you have any questions or concerns please reach me at email@example.com and my updates will be posted on my website at albertsommers.com.