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Pinedale Online > News > February 2023 > Wyoming Legislature update Feb. 6, 2023
Wyoming Legislature update Feb. 6, 2023
by Albert Sommers, House District #20 Representative
February 7, 2023

2/6/2023
Hello Sublette County and LaBarge, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you on February 6, the 19th day of the General Session of the 67th Legislature. We spent most of the day working through bills in Committee of the Whole, because today was the last day to hear bills in Committee of the Whole, in the house of origin.

I will highlight four bills that were discussed today:
HB0108 - Sale of THC vaping devices and edibles to minors-prohibited I drafted and sponsored this bill. It was brought to me by the Sublette County Suicide and Substance abuse work group. Years ago, when the Legislature passed a hemp farming bill, it legalized THC of less than .3 percent to be used in CBD oil and other products. What wasn't envisioned at that time was that the THC would be concentrated into forms that would be given to our youth. This bill makes it illegal to sell edibles and vapes with any THC to anyone under the age of 21. There are penalties associated with this bill that would be placed on the seller. A parent or guardian can still make a purchase of these products for their children if they deem it appropriate. This bill passed the Committee of the Whole.

HB0116 - Prohibiting foreign property ownership in Wyoming This bill would restrict foreign ownership of land and other interests in Wyoming. Foreign ownership was defined in the bill as Russia, China, or any country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism under federal law. While I understand the intent of the bill, there are significant Constitutional concerns related to taking provisions of the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This bill failed the Committee of the Whole, and I voted against it. I support the spirit of this bill, but it clearly violated Article 1, Section 29 of the Wyoming Constitution, which states, "No distinction shall ever be made by law between resident aliens and citizens as to the possession, taxation, enjoyment and descent of property."

HB0152 - Life is a Human Right Act This bill would ban all abortions in Wyoming except in cases of death or severe injury risks. Last year, the Legislature passed the abortion trigger ban, which effectively bans abortion in Wyoming with some exceptions. I supported that bill and that law is currently working through the courts. HB152 aims to address some of the questions the courts have raised. Today's House floor debate focused on various provisions of the bill and whether they are constitutional. Several significant constitutional concerns arose, including a separation of powers issue between the legislative and judicial branches by authorizing legislators to intervene in court challenges against the law. Another concern is the reliance on the religious clauses of our state constitution to ban abortion. This bill would repeal the existing trigger ban law and I worry this bill may have the unintended effect of prolonging pending litigation. This bill passed the Committee of the Whole and will likely have more debate.

HB0004 - Medicaid twelve month postpartum coverage This bill extends existing coverage for postpartum mothers who qualify for Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months. Children born on Medicaid already have one year of coverage, and this bill gives the mother the same length of coverage. Twelve-hundred Wyoming mothers are eligible for this program, and this coverage number would remain the same. The federal government matches this program 50/50 with the State. The federal match dollars would expire in 2027, and in this current bill draft, this extension would end at that time. Those mothers eligible for this Medicaid extension make less than $16,000 a year. Providing this extended coverage helps create a safety net and stable home environment for these families. I voted in support of this bill, and I look forward to continued debate.

I can be reached at albert@albertsommers.com with questions or comments. Thank you.


Pinedale Online > News > February 2023 > Wyoming Legislature update Feb. 6, 2023

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