2020 Interim Legislative Preview
By Jerimiah Rieman, Executive Director
The interim legislative session starts in mid-May and runs steadily through December. Management Council has established interim topics, of which relevant topics are discussed below. WCCA staff have started outreach to commissioners regarding upcoming meetings and will continue outreach as committee agendas are released. We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you in committee hearings.
NOTE: COVID-19-related topics have not been assigned by Management Council. As such, committee priorities and the schedule noted may be adjusted.
Judiciary: The Judiciary Committee continues its two-year study of public meetings and public record statues, with more focus on the former over the later. The Wyoming Ethics and Disclosure Act also receives another evaluation related to bidding on public projects. And in other work, the Committee will review the statutory caps for county and prosecuting attorneys, district attorneys, and sheriffs and evaluate Title 25, including state vs. local control and procedures for payment. There will be three meetings: May 19th and 20th online, August 20th and 21st in Rawlins, and October 26th and 27th in Cheyenne.
Appropriations: In a committee and approach switch, the Appropriations Committee will consider state employee and official group health insurance membership groups, and the advantages and barriers to expanding membership to other groups. Also, through a joint subcommittee with the Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, there will be an examination of mental health and substance abuse issues to identify better health outcomes and savings to the state. There will be two meetings – none have been scheduled to date – and all work must be completed by November 30th.
Revenue: Continuing a recent trend, the Revenue Committee will reconsider failed legislation of past sessions, including the fuel tax, national corporate income tax, Medicaid expansion, sales and use tax definitions, government property tax exemptions, and taxation of essential health products. To complete work unfinished, the Committee will consider legislation to complete transition of the mineral ad valorem tax structure to monthly payments and gaming regulation. In other work, the Committee will investigate potential options to increase local government income streams and review existing tax exemptions and associated issues and inefficiencies. There will be three meetings: May 26th and 27th in Lander, August 24th and 25th in Green River, and November 19th and 20th in Cheyenne.
Education: School finance recalibration takes center stage, but the Education Committee will also review education programming, postsecondary education governance, and school safety. There will be three meetings: June 4th and 5th in TBD, September 3rd and 4th in TBD, and November 17th and 18th in TBD.
Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources: Of county interest, invasive species, weed and pest control efficiencies, and aging irrigation infrastructure are highlights of the Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee agenda. There will be three meetings: May 12th and 13th online, August 27th and 28th in TBD, and November 12th and 13th in TBD.
Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources: Buried under the heading “State Parks and Cultural Resources”, the Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee intends to further evaluate the lodging tax. Gaming receives another review, including technical corrections and other possible issues associated with HB0171 Wyoming gaming commission. Expect the Committee to discuss forms of gaming other than those currently authorized or regulated, especially sports betting. There will be three meetings: June 22nd and 23rd in Thermopolis, August 11th and 12th in Dubois, and September 23rd and 24th in Sundance.
Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions: Local governance (fingers crossed) receives a reprieve. The Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee will review statutory provisions governing alcoholic beverages (Title 12). This includes an examination of methods to streamline liquor license policy and microbrewery, distillery, and winery carveouts and exceptions. There will be three meetings: June 10th and 11th in TBD, September 10th and 11th in TBD, and November 10th and 11th in TBD.
Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs: The Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee tackles a couple of long-standing matters, including sustainable, long-term funding options for highways and alternative funding systems for WyoLink. Another matter of interest will be the Committee evaluation of the ownership, operation and financing of airports and perhaps the establishment of airport authorities or special districts. There will be three meetings: May 21st and 22nd online, September 21st and 22nd in Casper, and November 30th and December 1st in Cheyenne.
Minerals, Business and Economic Development: Several issues before the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee demand WCCA attention, if not more. As a priority, the Committee will pursue revisions of HB0159 Monthly payment of ad valorem tax on mineral production. and SF0139 Tax lien enforcement – 2. to ensure that tax collection works for counties and affected industries. The Committee will also review local economic development initiatives through the Wyoming Business Council and permitting processes through the Department of Environmental Quality. There will be three meetings: May 14th and 15th online, August 27th and 28th in Casper, and November 5th and 6th in Casper.
Labor, Health and Social Services: Through a joint subcommittee, the Labor, Health and Social Services Committee will partner with the Appropriations Committee to evaluate mental health and substance abuse issues. The Committee will also examine options to further utilize broadband and telehealth services to increase access to and reduce costs of healthcare services. Work on this front will be accomplished by a legislative/executive branch working group. And finally, there will be a global review of programs for indigent citizens to determine if any rebalancing is appropriate. There will be three meetings: May 28th and 29th in Casper, August 20th and 21st in Sheridan, and November 5th and 6th in Cheyenne.
Select Federal Natural Resource Management Committee: The Select Federal Natural Resource Management Committee will continue work with local communities, stakeholders and federal agencies to better promote local involvement in federal policy decision-making that affects Wyoming. The focus will be National Environmental Policy Act regulatory changes to allow state and/or local government leadership in this process but will also include exploration of ways to expand good neighbor authority in Wyoming. There will be two meetings: June 8th in Sheridan and August 10th in Green River.