Legislature roundup — Week 5 Feb. 8
Greetings and a whirlwind of activity this week with the reception of Senate bills to consider in House. I carried to the Floor and debated multiple times on merits of “HB/SF0078 Apprenticeship and job training promotion in schools.” There was an attempt to remove ‘registered’ within the sentence,
“Provide information and guidance to the 12 board of trustees in each school district regarding the 13 availability of registered apprenticeship programs, student learner agreements and on-the-job training available to 15 students for pay, school credit or both, …”
I opposed such removal, and we successfully were able to get the bill passed. This bill will promote and aid our students in vocational education opportunities that are desperately needed. I look forward to working with our school districts in this endeavor.
Additional District 19 issues include passage to the Senate on HB0222 - Colorado river advisory committee. This permanent advisory committee helps give a voice and a seat at the decision-making table for Wyoming’s water users on any actions that the federal or state governments may consider with respect to the Colorado River. “…is to advise and inform the governor, the state engineer and Wyoming’s commissioner to the Upper Colorado River Commission regarding the beneficial use, development, protection and conservation of water from the Green and Little Snake rivers and their tributaries relative to Wyoming’s rights and obligations under the Colorado River Compact and the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact.” This legislation will further promote and reinforce that Wyoming is ‘at the table’ when it comes to water issues, allotment and challenges to our Wyoming Water and rightful ownership.
Also, the Agriculture Committee heard and approved SF0068 - Prescriptive easement for water conveyances. This bill ‘establishes prescriptive easements for water conveyances; providing requirements for the width and use of a prescriptive easement as specified; requiring the state engineer’s office to maintain an informational document; providing notice to purchasers; specifying applicability.’ This bill ensures that owners of water rights and ditches are allowed to maintain their ditch if it were to become part of a housing development while also informing prospective owners of said property of this legal right of the ditch owner/water right.
Minerals, Business & Economic Development. SF0176 - Solid waste disposal districts-consolidation. This would allow counties; authorizing two (2) or more existing solid waste disposal districts to consolidate; specifying procedures, terms and conditions for the consolidation of solid waste disposal districts; making conforming amendments if they deemed this to be a viable approach. It passed the Committee of the Whole and will now be debated on the Floor. SF0122 - Nonresident workers-vehicle registration extension. Any nonresident owner, lessee or operator of a vehicle that is not a commercial vehicle, who is employed in this state on a temporary or full time basis may choose to purchase a temporary worker registration permit for work for up to 180 days.
Agriculture, State and Public Lands & Water Resources. SF0028 - Livestock infectious disease control-tribal inclusion. This bill specifies ‘participation in livestock contagious and infectious reportable disease testing and containment programs and reimbursements to include all producers in the state including producers on the Wind River Indian Reservation as specified; providing for cooperative agreements with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes; expanding the governor’s authority to negotiate on brucellosis containment.’ SF0033 - Defining aircraft for purposes of hunting prohibitions. This bill added the following language “
For purposes of this section “aircraft” means any machine or device capable of atmospheric flight including but not limited to an airplane, helicopter, glider, dirigible or unmanned aerial vehicle.” We also heard SF0074 - Slow moving vehicles-amendments. Surprisingly, this testimony was eventful with many opinions on the bill and path forward. The core purpose of the bill was to raise the speed from 25 mph to 45 mph for vehicles. The bill now moves on to the House for movement.
Summaries of a few key bills follow:
SF0013 Bar and grill liquor license phaseout. This bill increases the number of bar and grill licenses available for cities and towns starting in 2023 and eliminates the statutory caps on the number that could be granted. The bill also includes provisions to include entertainment licenses, meaning that 60% of the revenue brought in by a business with a bar and grill liquor license could be from the grill and entertainment or one of the two. Only 40% would have to be generated by bar sales. This bill passed the House and Senate.
SF0017 - Off-road recreational vehicles-safety and insurance - This bill requires off-road vehicles to have horns, mufflers, mirrors, and proof of liability insurance at a minimum of $25,000 if the vehicle will be operated on a public road right-of-way, street, road or highway. There is an exception for ORVs operating in road rights-of-way for agricultural purposes.
HB0188 - Wolf depredation compensation -This bill restored a program for livestock producers who experience wolf depredation on their animals in Wyoming’s predator zone. Producers could seek compensation from a fund administered by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. This program would be available for three years. This bill passed the House.
HB152 - Life is a Human Right Act- passed Wednesday on 3rd Reading. This bill would ban all abortions in Wyoming except in cases of death or severe injury risks to the mother. Last year, the Legislature passed the abortion trigger ban, which effectively bans abortion in Wyoming with some exceptions. I supported that bill and that law is currently working through the courts.
HB152 aims to address some of the questions the courts have raised. House floor debate has focused on various provisions of the bill and whether or not they are constitutional. Several significant constitutional concerns arose, including a separation of powers issue between the legislative and judicial branches by authorizing legislators to intervene in court challenges
against the law.
I am grateful for the opportunity and privilege to represent you. Please contact me at [email protected] or 307-871-3195 with any questions or concerns you might have about the legislation we are discussing during the 67th General Session of the Wyoming Legislature. Please forward and promote this update.