Prepared by: Charlene Murdock, Executive Director
Campbell County Chamber of Commerce
The Legislature is now in its fifth week of the eight-week session. Crossover has occurred, which means House bills have moved to the Senate and conversely, Senate bills have moved to the House. The bills go through the same vigorous process in each house, including a Committee hearing and three readings on the floor. The process offers opportunities for engagement and providing input to legislators in advance of a bill becoming law. You will see from the report below that many measures have failed and those are listed with a red background, enabling you to easily see which measures are still advancing through the process.
Members who use automatic renewal of contracts should review HB227 to determine what changes they may need to take on renewal processes. The bill is intended to protect consumers from automatic renewals that the consumer would prefer to cancel. If there are issues of concern or potential unintended consequences with this bill, businesses need to weigh in.
The ENDOW (economic needed diversity options for Wyoming) initiative, SF132, highlighted by the Governor in his state-of-the-state address, has passed the Senate and is moving to the House. The initiative establishes an economic diversification council to oversee and promote economic diversification activities in the state. The council will be tasked with evaluating investments necessary to support new and emerging industries, knowledge transfer, infrastructure, cooperation between the public sector and private enterprise, and the relationship between tax burden and economic diversification.
Makeup of the council will include 15 voting members, appointed by the Governor with approval from the Senate; in appointing members, efforts will be made to include diverse backgrounds of appointees, including existing, new and emerging economic sectors. The Chairmen of the Senate and House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committees will serve as ex-officio members, meaning Senator Michael Von Flatern will be involved in the initiative. The council will be supported by the Wyoming Business Council, Community College Commission, University of Wyoming and Department of Workforce Services. An initial report will be due to the Governor and Legislature by December 31, 2017. Read more about the bill here. You can listen to the debate here.
The Governor’s office is asking for input on the ENDOW initiative. A survey is available at the following link: ENDOW SURVEY
The House passed an Omnibus Education Bill (HB236) yesterday on a 43-16-1 vote. The measure includes reductions in education spending as well as a one-half cent sales tax increase that would take effect when the Legislative Stabilization and Reserve Account (LSRA) also known as the budget reserve account falls below $500 million. The tax discussion was robust on both sides of the issue and centered on use of the remaining LSRA versus proposed tax increases. Those supporting the tax increase debated the fact the LSRA is needed not just for education, but for local government funding and other state needs and the measure is a pro-active approach to stemming the shortfall in education funding. Those arguing against the increase felt the tax is not yet justified since the funding shortfall is already covered for this year; in essence, they felt the tax wouldn’t take effect for about five years and felt the measure is premature. Reliance on Wyoming’s mineral industry was referred to several times during the debate with some asserting that the minerals industry is making a rebound and the economy is improving and others arguing that the State must change their over-reliance on minerals and energy. The fiscal impact of the HB236 can be reviewed here.
Check the bill list below for updates on additional legislation moving through the process. As you review the bill list below, those bills that have died are indicated with a red background. Only this bills with a dark background are still active.
Disclaimer: Information was pulled on 2/10/16 at 4:25 p.m. Information on all bills is available from the Legislative Website.
Campbell County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Charlene Murdock will be monitoring legislation and engaging as needed to serve as the “Voice of Business” for Campbell County. If you have questions or concerns on any bill, email [email protected].