CHEYENNE — A proposed bill making its way through the Legislature would add language to Wyoming’s current executive session statute to allow for boards to discuss safety and security planning in an executive session.
Senate File 23, which is sponsored by the Judiciary Committee, was introduced to the Senate back in January and has since made its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 5-0 vote and all three readings in the Senate.
According to bill tracking information from the Wyoming Legislature’s page, the bill passed its third reading with a 29-1 vote on March 8 and later that day it was introduced on the House floor and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee on March 12.
So far, it appears no amendments have been made to the bill. As the bill currently reads, the following language will be added to the executive session Wyoming State Statute 16-4-405 (a).
"(xii) To consider, discuss and conduct safety and security planning that, if disclosed, would pose a threat to the safety of life or property."
Senator John Kolb, R-Rock Springs, said “it basically addresses the lack of clarity in public meetings for security reasons.”
“Things that if the public knew would compromise the safety and security of the facilities,” he said.
Senator Kolb, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he knows exactly what some of the issues boards are facing across the state because he has faced the same problems first hand.
As a former Sweetwater County Commissioner, Kolb said one example he could give where this particular wording would have helped the county was when it was planning for construction of the new Sweetwater County Detention Center. He said for security and safety reasons they didn’t want to make some parts of the planning public.
“We’re not going to make those plans public so somebody would know the inner workings of that facility for security reasons,” Senator Kolb said. “That was an issue.”
Should an issue come up related to a county safety or security issue, the county could discuss it in executive session with this change, Senator Kolb said.
The same would go for other Wyoming boards, such as school, college, and airport boards that would have safety and security plans to review.