Wyoming Legislature update Ė January 8 & 9, 2019
by Albert Sommers, House District #20 Representative
January 10, 2019
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting from Cheyenne after Governor Gordonís State of the State report. A highlight of all State of the State speeches that I have been fortunate enough to see are the individual Wyoming citizens that governors introduce. These citizens have provided an extraordinary service to the State of Wyoming, and it helps reinforce your belief in the humanity of mankind. Governor Gordonís speech spoke to the fact that we need to close the gap on our budget shortfalls through efficiencies to state government and by modernizing our revenue flows. These are points that the Leadership of the House and Senate emphasized again when they met with the press after Governor Gordonís address. Governor Gordon seemed to support many of the supplemental budget requests that past Governor Mead placed into his budget, including an inflationary adjustment to K12 education, an increase in salaries for state employees, and initiatives at UW.
We started Committee of the Whole today, and passed five bills to second reading, including a bill that simplified the cigarette tax code, a clean-up bill dealing with the Nuclear Regulatory Agreement, and a bill that designates lands for a National Guard Museum.
Tomorrow, my Joint Appropriations Committee will begin three-a-day meetings, in preparation for finalizing the budget that will be presented to the full Legislature. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Tuesday, January 8, 2018
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you on the eve of Governor Gordonís State of the State and Chief Justice Davisís State of the Judiciary report. This gives the two co-equal branches of government, the executive and courts, the ability to present their positions to the Legislature, which is the third co-equal branch of government. The checks and balances created by the founding fathers of this state and nation are incredible to watch in action. It really gives you a renewed faith in the process.
Today, January 8th, members of the Legislature were sworn into office by members of the Wyoming Supreme Court. In the House of Representatives, Steve Harshman of Casper was elected to his second term as Speaker of the House and I was elected to the position of Speaker Pro Tem. It was a great honor to be unanimously elected by my peers to a leadership position, and even more so because it was a vote by all members from both parties of the Wyoming House of Representatives. My speech to House members was about maintaining decorum and civility as we work for the people.
After the "pomp and circumstance" the House began work, and the Speaker began introducing bills into the session. We wasted no time, and by this evening the House Appropriations Committee was debating bills in committee. This included two bills that were related to reimbursing legislators for their expenses. We have not had an increase in our per diem rate for several years, and the current $109/day often does not even cover the cost of a hotel room. The new rate would go to the federal standard rate, and would start at $149/day. We also passed a bill out of committee that would allow legislators to submit lodging and mileage expenses for traveling to constituent events, or legislators could opt for the current $750/quarter year allowance. We also passed a bill out of committee that would allow a transportation fund account to be invested in a manner that would generate more dollars over the long haul. Goodnight for now.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.