Vote Fails for Special Legislative Session

Vote Fails for Special Legislative Session

Wyoming State Capitol. Wyoming Legislature website photo

CHEYENNE – There won’t be a special session of the Wyoming Legislature.

While the initiative passed with the state’s senators, the movement failed with the House.

In an opinion piece written by the House leadership, they said the reason there wouldn’t be a special session was because Freedom Caucus members were not open to a session focused only on Senate File 54, a property tax bill that would have cut 25 percent off of the assessed value of homes with assessed values of less than $2 million. 

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Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Clark Stith, R-Rock Springs, told SweetwaterNOW last week that he didn’t think a special session was needed and placed blame on Freedom Caucus members for holding up much of the House’s work during the session. The concern the caucus would do that during a special session was noted in the House leadership’s opinion piece posted on Stith, along with Speaker of the House Albert Sommers, R-Pinedale, and Rep. Barry Crago, R-Buffalo, penned the piece.

“While we were disappointed by the Governor’s veto of SF54, which aimed to cut property taxes for all homeowners by 25%, we were open to a special session solely focused on revising this bill. However, the obstructionists in the freedom caucus would not agree to that, calling for a minimum of 4-6 different bills, including the budget bill. They wanted to play more political games at the expense of the Wyoming taxpayers,” they wrote.

While Senate File 54 was ultimately rejected by Gov. Mark Gordon, the trio say the House did good work during the short budget session and helped Wyoming residents through tax relief programs that were passed.

“We did good work this session. Many people will qualify for property tax refunds of up to 75% for 2023-2025. We guarantee their home values for tax purposes will not go up by more than 4% in any given year. We doubled the veterans’ property tax exemption. And long-time homeowners over age 65 will get 50% off their property tax bill,” they wrote.

There were fears a special session would re-open the budget bill and allow legislators a chance to rework the budget, with Sen. Stacy Jones, R-Rock Springs, worried that $150 million for the new Rock Springs High School would be on the chopping block because it barely passed.

There was local support for the session as well, with Sen. John Kolb, R-Rock Springs, having voted in favor of it. Kolb previously told SweetwaterNOW it was one of the few avenues the legislature had available to overcome what he viewed as Gordon’s liberal use of his veto powers.