65th Wyoming Legislature Files 171 Bills on Opening Day

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The 65th Wyoming Legislature commenced its 40-day session yesterday.

CHEYENNE — The 65th Wyoming Legislature began this morning with a State of the State address from new Governor Mark Gordon, and immediately went to work on what should be a very active and controversial session.

The session officially opened yesterday as the House of Representatives filed 98 bills and two joint resolutions. The Senate filed 73 bills and three joint resolutions.

But over the next 40 days, the Wyoming Legislature will likely consider between 400 and 500 bills.

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House of Representatives

Among the more high-profile bills being considered in the House is HB0014 that would establish a new uniform state time and do away with daylight savings time in Wyoming.

The bill was introduced by Dan Laursen, R-Park, which states that “the biannual change of time between mountain standard time and mountain daylight time is disruptive to commerce and to the daily schedules of the residents” of Wyoming.

If the bill passes, Wyoming would be permanently on central standard time. The federal Uniform Time Act of 1966 authorizes a state that is entirely situated within one time zone, as Wyoming is, to exempt itself from the change to daylight saving time as long as it does so uniformly as an entire state.

HB0022 seeks to modify provisions governing teacher accountability across the state. According to language in the bill “the State Board of Education, in consultation with local school districts, establish criteria for school district teacher performance evaluation systems that provide school districts flexibility in designing teacher evaluations to improve classroom instruction.”

Implementation of a statewide lodging services tax and the creation of a Wyoming tourism account where these revenues would be deposited is part of HB0066.

Under HB0071, and employer would face a maximum fine of $500 and 180 days in prison for violating the state’s equal pay provisions.

Other House bills likely to draw heated debate are:

HB0100 – Use of hemp extracts, introduced by HD68 Representative Stan Blake.
HB0064 – Indexing fuel taxes.
HB0106 – Party affiliation changes.

Senate

A Senate bill likely to get  thorough discussion is SF0006. The bill seeks to address state revenue issues by revising penalties on property owners for failing to report taxable property to the county assessor.

It would also require the Department of Audit to collect property information during audits, and provide fees for non-reported and omitted taxable property.

Other noteworthy Senate bills inlcude:

SF0046 – Opioid prescription limits.
SF0072 – Sexual assault biological evidence reporting.
SF0075 – Repeal gun free zones and preemption amendments.

SweetwaterNOW will provide legislative updates throughout the session providing insight into bills as they’re being discussed and voted on.