WCCA News

2020 Budget Session Legislative Recap (2 of 2)

Posted by kelli.little on April 15, 2020

By Jerimiah Rieman, Executive Director

In related action, Governor Gordon signed Executive Order 2020-1 Wyoming Mule Deer and Antelope Migration Corridor Protection and thereafter, the legislature failed HB0029 Designation of migration corridors., which would have created a process for designating migration corridors, and HB0215 Designated migration corridors – limits., which would have limited the number of designated migration corridors in the state. Nevertheless, the legislature enacted limitations via the state budget, which were promptly vetoed by the Governor.

Next up, the Management Council convenes Thursday, April 16th to consider study topics for joint interim committees, including appropriate legislative responses to the current public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A full list of proposed topics is available here. Anticipate another update from me soon.

SF0082 Public records – amendments. (Enrolled Act No. 16, Senate)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: July 1, 2020

This bill amends the public records statutes as follows:

  1. Requires counties to report the annual salary AND amount of overtime pay for each full-time employee and each elected official.
  2. Delineates the responsibilities of the public records ombudsman to include mediation of disputes and to provide uniform interpretation and training on the ombudsman’s role and recommendations to governmental entities and the general public.
  3. Allows counties to enact rules and regulations for the inspection of records.
  4. Limits conversion of file types to electronic file types.
  5. Outlines who the designated public records person can be – an employee, officer, contractor or agent of the county.
  6. Excludes the release of private surface and subsurface resource information.

SF0083 Budget and financial data reporting. (Enrolled Act No. 17, Senate)
WCCA Position: Monitor
Effective Date: Immediately

This bill requires counties (as well as other local governments) to submit public financial information to the Department of Administration and Information for posting on the Wyoming Transparency website (https://ai.wyo.gov/about-us/transparency). The Legislature and Department have assured local governments this effort will not require the production of additional records, but rather, will gather local data already published for public consumption.

SF0036 Large scale solar and wind energy facilities. (Enrolled Act No. 45, Senate)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: July 1, 2020, except that the Industrial Siting Council may begin promulgating rules immediately

This bill solar energy facilities with a rated power capacity of more than 0.5 megawatt of electricity to obtain a permit from the board or boards of county commissioners in the county where the facility is located. It also establishes minimum standards for wind and solar facilities – like existing statutes for wind energy facilities with the inclusion of setbacks, military considerations, including referrals by boards of county commissioners to the industrial siting council. The bill also amends the industrial siting council’s jurisdiction over wind and solar energy facilities (rated power capacity of more than 30 megawatts or surface disturbance equal to or greater than 100 acres) and specifies issues to consider in the permitting of solar and wind energy facilities. the industrial siting council may deny an application if the facility will unreasonably interfere with the development of a known and currently economically developable mineral resource.

HB0057 Underground facilities notification – exemption. (Enrolled Act No. 36, House)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: Immediately

This bill exempts specified routine county road maintenance from the provisions of the Wyoming Underground Facilities Notification Act. “Routine county road maintenance” is defined as the regular grading of a county road for the purpose of maintaining the surface condition of the road or a roadside drainage ditch, that does not extend more than four inches below the surface and does not result in alteration of the original grade, width or flow line.  An operator of an underground facility is required to notify counties of an area of risk not later than June 1, 2020 and then January 31 of each year thereafter. For an operator of a newly installed underground facility, within 60 days of installation of the underground facility. “Area of risk” means an area not to exceed 50 feet from each side of an underground facility that is located under or near a county road and that: contains hazardous materials that present an extreme risk to the health and safety of persons, or is buried at a depth of less than 24 inches.

NOTE: This bill ONLY exempts routine county road maintenance as outlined above (or more specifically in statute – link above). All other county road maintenance involving excavation (W.S. 37-12-301(a)(iii)) are REQUIRED to Call Before You Dig. Please visit One Call of Wyoming for more information on specific requirements.

HB0050 Government procurement – amendments. (Enrolled Act No. 30, House)
HB0051 Professional services procurement – amendments. (Enrolled Act No. 29, House)
WCCA Position: Monitor
Effective Date: October 1, 2020, except that the State Construction Department and University of Wyoming Board of Trustees shall adopt rules necessary to implement these acts

HB0052 Public works and contracts. (Enrolled Act No. 31, House)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: July 1, 2020

This suite of bills was developed by a working group spearheaded by Rep. Lloyd Larsen that the WCCA participated in over the 2019 Interim. They provide clarification and cleanup to Wyoming’s contracting and procurement statutes. HB0050 and HB0051 mostly deal with state procurement and have no effect on counties, although counties do have to abide by the definition of “professional services” as defined in W.S. 9‑23‑102(a)(v). 

HB0052 defines “public entity” (includes counties) and “public work” and consolidates these scattered definitions and makes the following changes relevant to counties:

  1. Changes the minimum contract price to require a bond from $50,000 to $150,000. 
  2. Changes the bond amount requirement from 50% of the contract price to 100%.
  3. Defines “certificate of substantial completion.”
  4. Changes publication requirements for public notice of substantial completion from three times to two times.
  5. Changes how disputed claims may be filed against the surety bond and cannot be deducted from the final payment.
  6. Changes retainage amount from 10% of the value until 50% completion, to 5% of the total value of any work completed.

HB0171 Wyoming gaming commission. (Enrolled Act No. 95, House)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: Immediately

This bill reconstituted the Pari-mutuel Commission as the Wyoming Gaming Commission and requires skill based amusement games to be regulated and taxed. The taxation rate is equivalent to 20 percent of the net proceeds earned of which counties will receive 45 percent. If gaming occurs in the county, the county receives 100 percent of the distribution. If gaming occurs inside the city limits, proceeds are split equally between the city and county. The fiscal impact, in the form of increased revenue, is indeterminable currently. Expect additional action on this topic during the 2020 interim.

HB0013 Sage grouse mitigation credits. (Enrolled Act No. 86, House)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: October 1, 2020, except that the Board of Land Commissioners may promulgate any rules necessary to establish the compensatory mitigation credit system

This bill requires the Board of Land Commissioners to draft rules establishing a program for compensatory mitigation credits for conservation of the Greater sage-grouse consistent with certain criteria and requirements.

HB0069 Wildlife conservation efforts – 1. (Enrolled Act No. 38, House)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: July 1, 2020

This bill allows for voluntary donations for wildlife conservation efforts related to the transportation system, including the installation of wildlife crossings.

SF0004 Wildlife conservation account. (Enrolled Act No. 3, Senate)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: July 1, 2020

This bill allows the Department of Transportation to solicit and collect donations in support of wildlife conservation efforts related to the transportation system, including signage, wildlife corridors, wildlife crossings and game fences

SF0018 Wildlife conservation efforts – 2. (Enrolled Act No. 13, Senate)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: July 1, 2020

The bill allows vehicle licensing authorities (County Treasurer, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources) to collect donations in support of wildlife conservation efforts related to the transportation system, including signage, wildlife corridors, wildlife crossings and game fences.

HB0056 Good neighbor authority revolving account. (Enrolled Act No. 72, House)
WCCA Position: Support
Effective Date: July 1, 2020

This bill creates the Wyoming state forestry good neighbor authority revolving account under the control of the State Forester and authorizes the hiring of additional employees. At the request of WCCA, the bill was amended to allow counties to contribute to this account and to permit the State Forester to partner with counties on good neighbor authority projects and to use funds for such purposes.