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Pinedale Online > News > March 2022 > Wyoming Legislature update – March 2, 3 & 4, 2022
Wyoming Legislature update – March 2, 3 & 4, 2022
by Albert Sommers, House District #20 Representative
March 5, 2022

Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you from Cheyenne on March 2. Today, we heard bills on 2nd Reading, had the final vote on bills in 3rd Reading, and voted on bills in Committee of the Whole.

SF0066 - American rescue plan act recovery funds appropriations, was discussed again today on 2nd reading, with many amendments. If you recall from yesterday’s press release, this bill appropriates money from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) to cover COVID-related expenses. One amendment I brought forward that would have positively affected Sublette County was SF0066H2001. This amendment appropriated $15 million in ARPA funds toward improving broadband, which would have helped connectivity in Sublette County. We saw the increased need for reliable high-speed internet during the pandemic. Improvement of broadband infrastructure would mean more employment, economic growth, better education access, and healthcare access. Access to reliable internet is one of the important utilities of this century.

Unfortunately, this amendment did not pass, but some money for broadband remains in the bill. Another amendment to SF66 was SF0066H2009, which also has the potential to positively effect Sublette County. This amendment appropriates additional money for health care infrastructure projects. There is a tremendous need for improved health care infrastructure, clearly demonstrated during the pandemic. As our community continues the effort to build a new hospital, this money could be a key piece of the puzzle. These funds would require a 1 to 1 match, and would allow for a maximum of $10 million per project. This amendment was adopted.

SF0067 - state-funded capital construction, was also discussed today on 2nd reading through amendments. To recap, this bill sets forth appropriations for capital construction project needs of the state. Although none of the amendments passed, one interesting amendment proposed was SF0067H2001. This amendment would have removed $54 million that was appropriated to the University of Wyoming for three projects, including improvement of the law school, improvement of the west side stands at War Memorial Stadium, and improvement of Corbett Pool. These projects need to be addressed because the current infrastructure is either failing or is inadequate. The amendment failed, and I voted against it. We must take care of our aging infrastructure.

SF0058 - Wyoming council for women’s issues - workforce services, passed the Committee of the Whole today. This bill will transfer the Wyoming Council for Women’s Issues from the Wyoming Business Council to the Department of Workforce Services. This is where it was originally housed, and I believe that the Department of Workforce Services is better equipped to manage this council.

SF0059 - Game and fish fund – investments, passed the committee of the whole. This bill holds that the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission may designate money in its bank account to be transferred into the "pool A" investment account. The rationale is that rather than leaving it in the Game and Fish bank account to accumulate minimal interest, the money can earn a greater rate of return and revenue for the department through conservative investments.

I can be reached at with questions and comments.

Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you from Cheyenne on March 3. Today we heard bills on 2nd Reading, had final vote on bills in 3rd Reading, and voted on bills in Committee of the Whole.

SF0066 - American rescue plan act recovery funds appropriations, was voted on today in 3rd reading, and passed with many amendments. One beneficial amendment that passed is SF0066H3015 - healthcare staffing and stabilization. Our hospitals and other healthcare facilities have been under a lot of pressure and have struggled to maintain staff throughout the pandemic. Maintaining quality healthcare staff is crucial. This amendment appropriates $3 million to help stabilize medical services. I believe this is a good use of ARPA COVID relief funds and I voted in favor of this amendment.

SF0006 - Aquatic invasive species-inspection enforcement, passed Committee of the Whole today. This bill states that if someone fails to stop for a conveyance inspection of watercraft for aquatic invasive species, as required by law, they will be charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to $5,000. Additionally, violators will not be allowed in any state parks or in any state recreation area for 3 years. Aquatic invasive species is a growing threat to our waterways, and I believe that measures such as these are necessary to protect our ecosystems and water facilities.

SF0049 - Repeal of Specified State Boards and Commissions, also passed Committee of the Whole today. This bill comes from a recommendation by the Efficiency Commission, in a recent efficiency study of state government. One conclusion from this study was that Wyoming state government had too many boards and commissions. This bill is an attempt to eliminate unnecessary boards, like the palliative care advisory council, which has completed its assigned work. I support this bill.

SF0009 - Revenue Bonds for Agricultural Endeavors. This measure is designed to recruit and retain agriculture processing businesses in the state of Wyoming. Wyoming citizens want a more diversified economy. This measure is in service to that goal. In short, this bill adds bonding authority that will enable agricultural processing businesses to locate in Wyoming. Businesses must be headquartered in Wyoming. Additionally, Shoshoni and Arapaho tribes have also been permitted to participate. This bill intends to encourage Ag businesses to locate and operate here. I support this bill, but am not convinced that it will attract the Ag businesses its supporters hope for.¬

I can be reached at with questions and comments.

Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you from Cheyenne on March 4. Today, the Legislature heard bills on 2nd Reading, had final vote on bills in 3rd Reading, and voted on bills in Committee of the Whole.

The house had the pleasure of welcoming home U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso, both of whom served terms in the Wyoming Legislature. They highlighted some of their work in D.C. and applauded our efforts here in the Wyoming legislature.

Not everything we legislators do at the session is exciting or sensational. A considerable amount of time is spent during the legislative session working on small and mundane policy.

SF0034 - Inheritance tax fees - repeal, passed in 2nd reading today. Although inheritance tax in Wyoming has already largely been eliminated due to changes in federal law, this bill would terminate any remaining fees related to the inheritance of property after the death of the prior owner. I supported this bill as it simply eliminates fees that are no longer needed.

SF0046 - Solid waste cease and transfer program funding, passed the house in 3rd reading today. This bill helps protect public safety. In an ongoing effort, we revisit and continue the cleanup of solid waste disposal areas. Animal carcass disposal is a growing concern in Wyoming, particularly with the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. Carcass management is a key part of what is funded in this bill. The state has learned a lot about landfills in the past century. To protect groundwater from leachates, we have funded closure and transfer efforts.

SF0032 - K-3 reading assessment and intervention program, passed Committee of the Whole today. Three years ago, we created legislation requiring kids to be screened for dyslexia and other reading disabilities. This bill aims to ensure that the tools used to assess students for reading difficulties do in fact identify children with the same reading challenges across the state. The amendment that passed with this bill requires that parents of students must be notified when a student is found to have reading difficulties and the amendment requires professional development for all district employees who provide instruction in K-3. This bill also requires a study to determine the appropriate assessment tools for diagnosing reading difficulties and the appropriate level of professional development for teachers. I voted in favor of this bill. By making sure we are catching reading difficulties early, we avoid costs associated with remediating students in the future. The ability to read opens the door to all educational pursuits.

SF0027 - Dissolution of county boards - authority, passed Committee of the Whole. From time to time, a county board outlives its usefulness and must be dissolved. This bill sets forth a process for dissolving boards and disposing of the assets and debts of a board. Wyoming law allows for county commissioners to create boards and requires boards to be created under certain circumstances, but does not allow commissioners the ability to eliminate certain boards. I brought a successful amendment to keep the current statute in place for Museum boards. Wyoming law requires a county commission to create a museum board, if the county owns, constructs, or acquires any museum or collection of exhibits. I believe that having a museum board that advocates for and protects county historical collections is important.

I can be reached at with questions and comments.

Pinedale Online > News > March 2022 > Wyoming Legislature update – March 2, 3 & 4, 2022

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