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2021 Legislative Bill Digest

Our Wyoming Republican voters shared their priorities for the Legislature this year. The State Party responded and monitored the bills introduced this year in order to make sure that those priorities were being met. We have summarized below those legislative actions that we believe are of interests to the Wyoming voter.


AGRICULTURE and NATURAL RESOURCES


HB0188 Irrigation and Water Conservancy Loans

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


Allows access to low interest loans for irrigation and water conservancy districts in the Capital Construction Loan Program administered by the State Land and Investment Board.


SF0050 COVID-19 Business Relief Programs Agriculture

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: didn’t sign; went into law


This bill re-appropriates unused CARES money on a per head basis for ag producers.


HB0229 Livestock Identification Choice Act

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This bill protects the rights of livestock producers to identify livestock with the official method of their choice for disease traceability.


HB0046 Crime of Bestiality

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This bill makes bestiality a crime in Wyoming. This new law does not consider the ordinary practices of animal husbandry to be bestiality.


HB51 Meat Processing Programs, HB52 Wyoming School Protein Enhancement Project, HB54 Wyoming Meat Packing Initiative, and SF124 Defending Wyoming Business-trade


PROTECTING LIFE


SF0034 Born Alive-Infant Means of Care

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This bill requires that an infant born alive during an abortion receive the same means of care as any other infant born alive. This bill passed the House and the Senate in the 2020 Session, but was not signed by the Governor. The Wyoming Republican Party recognizes Governor Gordon by signing this into law in 2021, protecting the newly born and outlawing infanticide.


HB253 Higher Education-ban on Funding for Abortions

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This bill recognizes the inappropriate use of public funds to destroy life. The bill stops the use of appropriated state funds by the University of Wyoming or Wyoming Community Colleges for elective abortions or group health insurance the provides coverage for elective abortions. A resulting benefit of this bill is the protection of our children’s lives in the womb.


HB0134 Human Heartbeat Protection Act

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Bill held by House leader

Gov’s action: NA


This pro-life bill, sponsored by Rep. Gray, stated, “...no abortion shall be performed after the embryo or fetus has a detectable fetal heartbeat...” It appears that one member of the House leadership made the decision to not bring this bill up for consideration prior to the required deadline. When the clock was running out, Rep. Mark Jennings made a bold move and asked the House to suspend the rules and hear HB 134 out of order. His motion required 40 votes, but only received 23.


HB0070 Abortion Informed Consent

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: not heard in House

Gov’s action: NA


A large group of Conservative legislators sponsored this bill, which would have required physicians to provide patients with specific information before non emergency abortion procedures. The bill passed the House Labor Committee but was held by House leadership.



HB0161 Human life equality-prohibiting discriminatory abortions

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Bill held by Senate

Gov’s action: NA


Rep. Romero-Martinez presented this bill, which would have disallowed abortion as a means of discrimination against babies when abortion was to be for selective reasons, e.g. preference for boy or girl, or on the basis of fetal disabilities. The bill passed the House, and the Senate Labor Committee recommended passage, but the bill was not considered on the floor in the Senate.


SF0096 Homicide Amendments

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


Another bill protecting life, SF0096 creates the crimes of first- and second-degree murder for an unborn child who dies as a result of harm to the mother.



ELECTION INTEGRITY


HB0075 Voter Identification

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


The passage of HB75 Voter identification ended a thirteen-year battle over this most basic protection of citizens’ voting rights. The law now requires that identification be provided before in-person voting and sets out acceptable forms and means of identification.


Other important election integrity bills that failed to pass, such as election runoffs, the prohibition of private funds in elections, and voter registration/crossover voting, are topics being proposed for interim study by the Legislature’s Joint Corporations Committee.


SF0145 Election Runoff

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Did not pass

Gov’s action: NA

This bill, sponsored by Senator Bo Biteman, has been one of the top priorities of Wyomingites for several years. Our current primary election system makes it so that a candidate receiving less than 30-40% of the votes may to advance to the general election. A runoff election between the top two vote getters in the primary would provide for greater voter involvement and integrity in our elections. This bill advanced through the Senate Committee, only to die on the floor due to introduction of poison pill and counterproductive amendments.


EQUAL PROTECTION OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS


HB109 Local Health Officers Education Requirements

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s. action: Signed


This bill amends existing law to allow for physicians assistants and registered nurses to be public health officers, along with doctors,.

HB111 Access to Anatomical Gifts and Organ Transplants

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This bill prohibits discrimination against a person based on disability in the provision of health and medical treatment services including receiving an anatomical gift, organ transplant or a related treatment.


HB127 Public Health Amendments

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Has not signed


A large stride for personal liberties, this bill requires 48 hours of notice and public comment before health orders are implemented unless the delay will cause life threatening physical harm, broadens local governments to choose whether or not the health order should remain in place after 10 days and grants parents and caregivers of vulnerable adults protection from limitation of care, custody and control.


HB0162 Medical Treatment Opportunity Act

Desired Outcome: Do Not Pass

Outcome: Did not pass

Gov’s action: NA


This year’s version of medicaid expansion passed the House and moved on to the Senate, where it failed to pass. Wyoming’s conservatives continued, and continue, to stand against any bill proposing medicaid expansion. We hope that our political leaders will understand that Wyomingites do not want medicaid expansion.


SF0080 Public Health Orders Local and Legislative Oversight

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Held by House

Gov’s action: NA


Wyomingites watched helplessly the last 12 months as the unelected and unaccountable State Health Officer stripped them of their civil rights liberties and closed their businesses in response to the COVID19 “pandemic.”. This bill would have kept the power of public health decisions in local hands, and restricted the government’s ability to infringe on our Constitutionally protected civil rights and liberties.


House leadership chose not to allow the bill to be heard, thereby effectively killing it. However some of its provisions were amended into HB127.


SF0087 Voyeurism Amendments

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This new law extends the list of places where a person has a reasonable right to privacy, and addresses camera recordings and live streaming by others. The new law stiffens penalties associated with voyeurism. Passage of this bill is a win for victims of voyeurism in Wyoming.


SECOND AMENDMENT and SELF DEFENSE

HB116 Concealed Carry-Residency Requirement-2

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


Although past bills assured that Wyoming citizens can carry concealed firearms in Wyoming without a permit, amendments to the existing law now allows any citizen of the United States to do the same.


HB236 Firearms Transactions-Financial Discrimination

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


The new law stops financial institutions from discriminating against firearms businesses, authorizes the Wyoming Attorney General to bring action for violations, and recommends that the Governor terminate a state business relationship with the entity.


SF155 Limiting Firearm Seizure and Regulation During Emergencies

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This bill prohibits the executive branch from closure of gun shops and shooting ranges, and places restrictions on the sale of weapons and ammunition, and the suspension or revocation of permits to carry concealed weapons during states of emergency.


PROPERTY RIGHTS

HB158 Local Land Use Planning and Zoning

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This win for private property rights creates a prohibition on zoning resolutions, ordinances and plans from requiring compliance with local land use plans.


SF157 Property Rights-Limitation on Local Authority

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This is a win for private property rights as it prohibits cities and towns from placing land use conditions on the connection of municipal sewer service.


ENERGY

HB166 Utilities-Presumption Against Facility Retirements

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This law now requires that the public service commission shall not approve the retirement of an electric generation facility unless it is in the best interest of Wyoming consumers and the State of Wyoming.


HB207 Coal fired generation facility closures litigation

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This win for the Wyoming Coal industry makes provision for $1.2 million dollars of funding to be granted to the Attorney General for court challenges against other states under the commerce clause in the event that Wyoming’s economy or ability to produce and use coal fire power are detrimentally affected. It also applies to coal port litigation.


CRIME

HB0209 Regulation of Marijuana

Desired Outcome: Do not pass

Outcome: Did not Pass

Gov’s action: NA


The proposed law would establish licensing requirements and procedures for the production, testing and sale of marijuana, would prohibit discrimination against marijuana activities, and would provide for the taxing of those products and distribution of the tax revenues. It’s important to note that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Possession and use of marijuana remains a criminal offense under current state law.


Wyoming’s grassroots voters are adamant that marijuana remain illegal in our state. They are well aware of the many related problems of marijuana ‘legalization’ and use, as well as the substantial costs incurred by states, agencies and families where similar laws exist.


SEPARATION OF POWERS and STATE SOVEREIGNTY


HB0219 Investment Funds Committee-Membership

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Signed


This power-grab bill was similar to the infamous Senate File 104, designed to strip all powers from our elected officer, the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The intent of this bill was to strip the elected State Treasurer of much of the officer’s power, and place the State’s investment decisions in the hands of an unaccountable and unelected bureaucracy. Due to well-written amendments, the bill is now satisfactory and no longer contains the dangerous language.


HB0256 Wyoming Sovereignty Act

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Did not pass H Corporations

Gov’s action: NA


The bill’s purpose was to provide a procedure to enforce the integrity of the US Constitution and to audit Wyoming’s relationship with the federal government. This bill did not receive a motion to consider in the House Corporations Committee.


EDUCATION


SF0130 Charter Schools

Desired Outcome: Pass

Outcome: Passed

Gov’s action: Not Signed


The only education bill upon which the House and Senate agreed, this new law revises the overall process for approval and renewal of charter schools. It provides for authorization of charter schools by the local school district board or the State Loan and Investment Board, which can authorize up to three charter schools.


Unfortunately, the House and Senate could not find a solution that both bodies could agree upon for funding, considering the approximately $300 Million dollar (and rising) structural deficit facing the State’s K-12 education system. With the Biden administration’s recent announcement of the American Rescue Plan Act, federal dollars inputs of $303 Million for K-12 education could be available, but attached to the would be maintenance of effort (MOEf) and maintenance of equity requirements (MOEq). MOEf’s would require Wyoming to demonstrate that the level of State and local funding remains constant from year to year. MOEq’s would require Wyoming to provide assurance that any overall cuts to education would not disproportionately harm low-income communities and communities of color.


One purpose of the Wyoming Republican Party is to preserve and promote our values and priorities as memorialized in our Platform. We continue to listen to individuals around the State and encourage you to remain involved in the process of governance in your County Parties, in your local boards, commissions and agencies and in communications with your elected representatives.