End-of-week Wyoming Legislative session round-up
Cheyenne, WY. – On Thursday, House bill 168, being referred to as the “stand your ground” bill, was approved for introduction and assigned to House Judiciary Committee for further review. Under current Wyoming law, those who use deadly force in the home don’t have to consider if it’s reasonable to retreat, but that only applies inside the home. The proposed measure would expand on the law and specify that anyone not engaged in illegal activity has “no duty to retreat from any place where the person is lawfully present before using defensive force.” The proposal would also provide some protections against civil liability or prosecution after the fact, even if the individual that used force finds that they weren’t facing injury or death.
Cheyenne, WY. – On Wednesday, a bill looking to increase tax on liquor from 17.6 percent to 20.6 percent failed to find enough support in the House. Some lawmakers felt that the call for a markup on liquor was simply a re-routed attempt to pass a tax increase. The state would have only received less than $3 million per year under the proposal.
Cheyenne, WY. – A proposal that seeks an agreement with the U.S. Interior Department and the National Park Service, over a fee at Yellowstone that would help to fund wildlife conservation efforts, has cleared an introductory vote. The goal of the measure is to generate funds for wildlife collisions, disease and migration routes in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. There are no details on the what the cost of the fee would be in the proposal.
Cheyenne, WY. – On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee scrapped a section of a bill that would have reduced fines for speeding. The legislation will move forward with only the section looking to simplify the ticketing system left intact. The changes were made as a result of concerns over school funding, which could have taken a near $1.5 million hit over the next two years if the bill had proceeded as originally drafted. The modified bill is expected move on to the House.
Cheyenne, WY. – A bill calling for a 4 percent statewide tax on lodging has advanced to the floor of the Wyoming Legislature for an introduction vote. The lodging bill would distribute half of the tax revenue to the state’s general fund leaving only the remainder for local governments. The current system allows for local governments to tax up to 4 percent. This bill would reduce that percent significantly, which opponents say will be disruptive to local options.
Cheyenne, WY. – On Wednesday, a Wyoming Legislative Panel unanimously endorsed a measure that would require Wyoming schools to provide all K-12 students with computer science instruction at each grade level. There are concerns that it would be difficult for small schools to implement the new required course. The proposed bill does have the support of State schools Superintendent, Jillian Balow, and will now move on to the full Senate for further debate. A similar, but separate bill is currently being considered in the House. The House bill would allow for schools to integrate computer science into other subjects, instead of forcing the implementation of a full-on required course. Many feel this is a more reasonable approach and would likely reduce the burden on smaller schools.
Cheyenne, WY. – The Senate has shot down a bill that looked to change the way Wyoming attorney generals are appointed in the state. 43 states currently elect their attorney general, but in Wyoming, the position of attorney general is currently appointed by the governor, the bill looked to make the post an elected position.