February 13, 2019
Here are the updates on bills directly affecting our party, abortion law, taxes new or increased, or the creation/expansion of laws for special classes. Bills change quickly – check daily on those you’re following and directly contact your District Legislators and/or the bill’s sponsors with questions or concerns. Current Tue. 2.12.19 5:30 pm
HB0106 - Party affiliation changes.
Limit ‘party raiding’ by non-party members. Party nominations for representative candidates is currently done on the primary ballot. The intent of the ‘raiding’ action is for one party to dominate the candidate nominating process of an opposing party.
Thu Feb 7th –Bill was received for introduction in the Senate. Wed Feb 6th - Bill passed 3rd reading in the House, amended.
Background: Current law allows a voter to change parties 14 or more days before the Primary Election (on/before Aug 7th), or on request of a of an absentee ballot (in 2018 between Jul 1st & Aug 20th) or at the polls the day of an election, either primary or general. The most recent raiding action, in the 2018 primary election cycle, resulted in an estimated 13,000 voters filing party switches in the last few weeks before the primary, affecting both state and local Rep v Dem races. Activist groups encouraged Democrats to switch to Republican to drive the primary ends. Unless addressed the party nomination by ballot process no longer allows the parties to select their own candidates.
Status of related bills:
The first version of the bill discouraged cross-over voting by requiring a voter to apply to switch parties by May 1st to vote in a primary (Aug 21st) and by 30 days before a general election (Oct 8th).
The amendments did away with the bill’s goal: - pg 3. 22-5-214(a) says an elector may change party affiliation 14 days before a primary (about Aug 7th if election’s on the 21st) or at the polls the day of the primary or the general election or when requesting an absentee ballot. In other words, the current law was amended back in. - Pg 3. 22-5-214(b) says an elector may change party “from one major political party to another major political party” 14 days before the primary or at the polls the day of the general election.
The purpose of the last amendment isn’t clear, but the effect is to make it easier for anyone who switched to raid in the primary to switch back at the poll on general election day.
In addition, one amendment, pg 2. 22-1-102(a)(xxiii)(F)(IV), seems to remove record keeping of primary election party switches.
SF0160 - Change in political party affiliation-2. Purpose:
Limit ‘party raiding’ by non-party members. See HB0106 update (above).
Thur Feb 7th - amended bill received for introduction in the House.
Tues Feb 5th - bill passed 3rd reading in the Senate, amended.
Scheduled hearings: none
Background: See HB0106 update (above).
Status of related bills: This bill affects the same sections of law as HB106 but is significantly different. - A voter would have to change party affiliation at least two weeks before the day absentee ballots come out, e.g. in 2018 before June 22nd. See pg. 3 ln 14-18. - Most importantly, that party switch could happen only if the state party chairman made the request of the secretary of state to authorize party switching to that chairman’s party.
- As in HB0106, an amendment on pg 2. Ln 10 seems to remove record keeping of primary election party switches.
HB0103 - Reporting of abortions.
Purpose: to establish additional requirements for abortion reporting; provide for a public report of abortion statistics, and; authorize the board of medicine to investigate and discipline specified conduct.
Thu Feb 7th – Bill introduced in Senate; assigned to Senate Labor, Health & Soc Svcs
Wed Feb 6th - This bill passed 3rd reading in the House, amended.
Scheduled hearings: Fri Feb 15, at 8:00 am. Committee hearing (Rm TBA)
Background: Although abortions are performed in Wyoming, actual records of procedures and health outcomes for mother and child are not reported or not reported with the same rigorous attention to detail as other medical procedures. A sponsor of the bill, has noted that collection of this data will support good policy. This bill passed the House and is now in the Senate. Read the amended bill and contact your District Legislators or the bill sponsors with concerns or questions.
Status of related bills: HB0302 Abortion-penalty for failure to inform. Was not introduced in the House.
HB0220 - National Retail Fairness Act
Purpose: Impose a new 7% corporate tax on a select group of businesses.
Latest Action: Thu Feb 7th. Amended bill introduced in Senate; referred to Sen. Corporations Cmte (S07). see https://www.wyoleg.gov/2019/Engross/HB0220.pdf
Scheduled hearings: Thu Feb 14, at 4:00 pm, or on adjournment. Committee hearing (Rm TBA)
HB0220 proposes a 7% sales tax on the income of corporate retail, food services and accommodation vendors with 100 or more shareholders. This is slightly below the national average rate of 7.12%. This tax would be assessed on companies with more than 100 shareholders (C-Corp status) in the retail, accommodations, and food services industries. Arguments made in favor of the bills include an assumption that taxes on income generated in Wyoming is being collected in other states. This may not be accurate. Another assertion is that Wyomingites will never see that tax when they pay for the goods and services provided by those being taxed. Again, that may not be accurate. Details of administration of this tax have not been made public. It has been estimated that this will bring in $45 million, however, that may not account for those businesses who are already looking at the overall cost of business in Wyoming and resist coming here, or worse, leaving the state, bringing the hoped-for tax revenue down significantly. This bill has also been seen as the ‘camel with its nose under the tent’ for wide-spread income tax, as the bill, if passed offers a readily amendable statute to expand income taxing to other businesses and individuals.
The bill has 21 cosponsors in both the House and Senate.
Status of related bills:
While a number of taxation bills were proposed this session, none appear to have the same intent as this one, to date.