As I look back upon the recent “special session” of our legislature, I am filled with dismay and disgust at the utter disregard our elected “representatives” have for the people of this state. This special session was supposed to deal with the unconstitutional and egregious actions of the federal government in forcing their will upon free citizens of the state.
As the Declaration of Independence so eloquently put it, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed — that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” So, government of which our legislature is part is supposed to protect our rights as free citizens. Instead the legislature has made a mockery of their responsibility.
“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson. This quote by Jefferson describes the special session to a T. This session was called to deal with the illegal federal mandates. It not only did not do any of that but they made such mockery by allowing other bills to be introduced such as gambling and Medicaid expansion.
For that, the “leadership” of the legislature and, in particular, the president of the senate bear full responsibility. In fact, since they did not accomplish anything that they were supposed to in this special session I believe that rather than the taxpayers funding this debacle, the leadership — in particular, the whole of the Management Council — should reach into their wallets and pay for the entirety of the circus it was, instead of them fleecing the taxpayers for it. They continue to act as though the money that the people of Wyoming work for is theirs for the taking. These legislators are more concerned about losing federal dollars than they are about the rights of the citizens.
It also appears that our legislature no longer has or cares about ethics and morals. When a legislature openly violates the law by serving both as a legislator and also holding an elected office on a board of a hospital, it is not only unethical but also illegal, according to statute 22-2-116. Of course, the laws must not pertain to those in the legislature, as they violate and flaunt them with impunity.
How about one of my favorites, Art. 3 Sect. 46, of the Constitution, which prohibits voting on any bill in which you have interest. At a recent committee meeting there were two members who, at first, stated they had interest in a bill before the committee. One of them, to his credit, stayed true and did not vote on the bill while the other one, who had just bragged that he was one of the largest taxpayers in Crook County because of his tourism business, talked to the LSO attorneys during a break and then came back and said that, according to them, it appeared he no longer had a conflict with the bill pertaining to tourism. Hmmmm.
Both Black’s Law dictionary and Webster’s have pretty clear definitions of conflict of interest, none of which it appears the LSO attorneys have read. Of course, over the last 10 years, the occurrences of conflict have not only increased but they have become brazenly open, supported by the self-serving attorneys in both the legislature and in the LSO.
In conclusion, we have very few members of the legislature who are honest, ethical or moral in discharging the duties they were elected to do, namely protecting the rights of the citizens of Wyoming. At best we have eight in the Senate and 16 in the House who care more about the citizens than they do about themselves.
During the special session, it was heard that federal law overrides state law in every occasion. This is an absolute lie, as anyone who has ever actually read the U.S. Constitution can tell you. The supremacy clause in the Constitution applies only to those laws that are made pursuant to the enumerated powers granted to the federal government. “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” – James Madison, Federalist 45, 1788.
So, those who failed to act to protect the citizens and their livelihoods deserve nothing but contempt and disdain from the people of Wyoming. And I meant it when I said the cost of the special session should come from the pocketbooks of the architects of the circus that was the “Special Session,” namely the members of the Management Council.