Wyoming Legislature update
by Majority of the Wyoming State Legislature
January 14, 2021
Thursday, January 14, 2021
House Bill Count: 66
Active House Bills: 66
Senate Bill Count: 63
Active Senate Bills: 63
LSO General Session FAQ Sheet
New Forecast Lowers Revenue Shortfall for Wyoming, but Education Funding Still a Challenge KPVI | Camille Erickson, January 13, 2021
An amended financial forecast released by the State on Tuesday presents a better revenue outlook for the Equality State compared to previous estimates calculated during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Back in May, state experts predicted Wyoming could face a $1.5 billion revenue decline through June 2022 in light of the pandemic and downturn in energy. But dramatic cuts to the state budget, coupled with better-than-expected oil and coal activity over the past several months, led state forecasters to scale back their forecasts for the revenue shortfall. In the latest report, estimates for the fiscal years 2021-22 budget cycles improved by about $132 million, compared to forecasts made in October.
Lawmakers Begin Work with Positive Revenue News Wyoming Public Media | Bob Beck, January 13, 2021
The Wyoming Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) said the state's revenue picture looks brighter. The latest CREG forecast shows an $82 million improvement from October. The news came as the legislature held an opening day session.
A lot of focus has been on budget cuts, especially to programs in the Wyoming Department of Health. Cheyenne Rep. Jared Olsen said the revenue picture is trending in the right direction.
Wyoming Legislature 2021: Fuel Tax Increase, Per-Mile Fee Eyed to Fund Highway Work Cowboy State Daily | Jim Angell, January 13, 2021
Wyoming’s Legislature is looking at two ways to raise money for maintenance and repair of the state’s roads, a fuel tax increase of 9 cents per gallon and a proposal to charge vehicles for every mile they drive in the state.
The two bills, both sponsored by legislative committees, have both been pre-filed for consideration by lawmakers when they reconvene on Jan. 27 for an eight-day virtual session.
The majority of state lawmakers who attended the kickoff of the 66th Wyoming Legislature in person Tuesday defied public health orders by not wearing face coverings.
Gov. Mark Gordon and Public Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist issued health orders Dec. 7 that require Wyoming residents to wear face coverings in indoor public settings. Gordon signed the mask mandate after months of appealing instead to residents’ personal responsibility failed to slow COVID-19 case counts, hospitalizations and deaths. The order, extended on Jan. 9, applies to state government buildings including the Capitol.
Gov. Gordon Tells the Legislature that He’s Focused on Energy and the Budget Wyoming Public Media | Bob Beck, January 13, 2021
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said the state is prepared to protect its energy industry against the Biden administration, but he is concerned that regulations could continue to hurt the state's bottom line.
During an opening day address to legislators, Gordon said Wyoming needs to find new ways to even out its revenue picture.
Governor: Wyoming Will Fight Any Biden Regulations on Energy Buckrail | Associated Press, January 13, 2021
Wyoming will push back against any federal regulations brought by the Biden administration that hinder development of fossil fuels and other resources, Gov. Mark Gordon told state lawmakers kicking off their annual session Tuesday.
"There is good reason to be concerned the actions of the next administration will further dampen the economic outlook for energy here in Wyoming," Gordon said in a video address.
Gordon Backs Fossil Fuel, Talks Need to Stabilize Revenue Cody Enterprise (Republished from Wyoming Tribune Eagle) | Tom Coulter, January 13, 2021
In a message delivered Tuesday to state lawmakers as they convened virtually for the start of this year’s general session, Gov. Mark Gordon promised to continue his defense of Wyoming’s fossil fuel industries while reiterating the state must find a way to stabilize its revenue streams.
The governor typically delivers a State of the State address at the onset of the Legislature’s session, but the message delivered Tuesday was not a State of the State address. This Gordon plans to deliver when the Legislature reconvenes sometime later this spring.
School Districts to Undergo Routine Facility Study Sheridan Press | Ashleigh Snoozy, January 13, 2021
Wyoming legislators introduced a bill Tuesday to conduct a study on all public school facilities in the state, determining suitability, capacity and condition. Sheridan County schools facilities are looking good ahead of the potential study.
House Bill 2 was introduced in Tuesday’s short, virtual first day of the legislative session and referred to the education committee for review. The bill allows the state construction department to contract with a consultant to assist with the study, allocating $6 million from the strategic investments and projects account to the state construction department.
State Capitols Tighten Security amid Threat of Armed Protests ahead of Inauguration Wyoming Public Media | Greg Allen, January 13, 2021
States are taking steps to tighten security at their capitol buildings following a warning by the FBI to prepare for armed protests in the days leading up to the the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. Many state capitals have already seen protests by people upset by President Trump's loss in the election.
Legislature Convenes for One Day, Faces Challenges in Adjusted Session Sheridan Press | Kristen Czaban, January 13, 2021
Wyoming’s 66th Legislative Session convened Tuesday and recessed several hours later after electing its leadership, referring bills to committees and hearing an address from Gov. Mark Gordon.
The accelerated pace of the day reflected the era in which legislators find themselves operating — a country battling the COVID-19 pandemic, a state facing budget challenges and cities and counties struggling to keep businesses and schools open.
In a one-day session Tuesday marking the start of the 66th Wyoming Legislature’s business, lawmakers in both chambers agreed to delay much of the general session as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, despite a few objections from some far-right members of the body.
Legislature Opts to Adjourn Gillette News Record (Republished from Casper Star-Tribune) | Nick Reynolds, January 13, 2021
The first day of the 66th Wyoming Legislature was anticipated to be quick and simple, focused on assigning bills and swearing in legislative leadership before adjourning for a largely online session until the body reconvenes in person in March.
Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill signed onto a letter with dozens of attorneys general from around the United States this week denouncing a violent mob that overtook the U.S. Capitol last week, describing the events as a "direct, physical challenge to the rule of law and our democratic republic itself."
Gov. Mark Gordon has ordered the Wyoming state flag be flown at half staff at the Capitol and in Laramie County from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, Jan. 14, in honor and memory of Donald Lawler. Lawler served in the Wyoming Senate from 1995-98. He passed away Jan. 6.
Flags in Laramie County, at Capitol Building to Fly at Half-StaffKGAB 650 AM | Doug Randall, January 13, 2021
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has ordered state flags in Laramie County and at the state Capitol Building to be flown at half staff Thursday in honor of a former legislator.
That's according to a news release from the governor's office, which says Governor Gordon issued the order in honor of Donald Lawler. Lawler represented Laramie County in the Wyoming Senate from 1995-1998. He passed away on Jan.6.
Wyoming Legal Battle Continues over In-Flux Coal Port Wyoming Public Media | Cooper McKim, January 13, 2021
Wyoming alongside Montana will continue its lawsuit against Washington State stemming from a proposed coal port that's on its last legs.
"It's never been about one enterprise or even one commodity. It's the principle of state's rights and access to markets that is at stake," Gov. Mark Gordon stated in a Jan. 12 message to legislators.
The Bureau of Land Management improperly used an "alternative approach" to predicting air pollution from a 5,000-well oilfield, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said as it joined a chorus of critics blasting approval of the Delaware-sized development near Douglas.