Legislative Halftime

Jeremy Haroldson
Posted 3/14/23

A report to Platte County from local representative

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Legislative Halftime


CHEYENNE - Tuesday, Jan. 10, brought the first day of the 67th legislature into action. Before I give you an update, I wanted to give you a bit of a background on how our state legislative sessions work. The state of Wyoming has a rare breed in it still; this breed is the citizen legislature. We are the last state that still has a part-time citizen legislature. This legislature is comprised of 93 total members, 62 House and 31 Senate. They are made up of citizens from around the state elected by their constituents. Our state runs on a biennium cycle that requires a general session on the odd years, and a budget session on the even years. The general session is 37 working-days long (Jan. 10-March 3 this year), and the budget session is 20 working-days long. That session usually runs from mid-February to mid-March.

This year has been a very interesting year as we stand in a politically charged climate. Legislative Service Office (LSO) received 717 total bill draft requests. The topics we are discussing range from election integrity to school choice and everywhere in-between. We are seeing an overreaching Federal government that we must, at all cost, hold in check; all the while figuring out how to fund the essential needs of the state and our school systems.

The first week we swore in 27 new members into the House and 4 new members into the Senate. This is the largest freshman class the House has had since the beginning of statehood. We heard the State of the State address by Governor Gordon, and the State of the Judicial by Chief Justice Fox. All of these are part of the constitutional requirements to begin sessions. Once the formalities were done, we started the process of the Speaker of the House reading in the bills to be sent to committees. This is the first part of the process to get legislation into the pipeline. The first week we didn’t get much done on the floor, but started working hard in committees.

The Second week started the process of committee of the whole, or COW for short. This is where the Majority Floor Leader introduces bills onto the floor. With this we have unlimited debate on the bills that have passed out of committees. A majority of the bills we saw the first week were interim committee bills and a few of the individually sponsored bills. Most of these bills are cleanup to statutes and mostly non-confrontational topics. This gives the legislature the ability to get in the swing of things and do it with topics that are not very controversial. As we walked through the first week, we saw funding bills for essential projects and simple policy decisions.

The Third week has brought a full-steam-ahead reality for both the Senate and the House. Three hundred House Bills and Resolutions were introduced from the first week through the fourth week. We passed 95 House bills/resolutions out of the House up to today. We were able to see 205 bills either killed, tabled or set in the drawer.

The fourth week was supplemental budget week. The first two days were taken up with an overview of the supplemental budget. We then went into second reading on Wednesday. There were 52 amendments brought. Twenty of those were cuts, and 32 were increases. At the end of that day, the body passed $70,000,000+ in spending, and didn’t pass any of the cuts. Friday brought third reading and there were 46 amendments brought and the total supplemental budget came out to over $550,000,000.

We are now at the half-way mark of legislative session. The senate files are crossing over to the House and the House bills to the Senate.

This year I ran three bills. They were HB0103 which was the Political Party Affiliation Declaration and Changes (crossover voting elimination); HB0104 which was the Hunting of Predatory Animals Amendments (this will allow coyote hunting on public lands at night with lighting devices, thermal, infrared, and night vision); and HB0105 which was the Repeal Gun Free Zones and Preemption Amendments (this would remove gun-free zones in Wyoming schools and government buildings while protecting private property rights). I have been able to pass out of the House HB0104, and that one is now in the Senate working its way through the process. HB0103 died in the Senate Committee, and HB0105 died in the House Committee.

I have been able to help defend freedom and stand against growing bigger government.  I challenge you to be a part of the process with us! Go to wyoleg.gov and keep informed about what is happening in your Wyoming legislature. Wyoming is the last greatest place on earth! Let’s defend that and make our state a beacon on the hill.