Legislative Update: Week Three

legislative session
Canada’s Consul General Stephane Lessard addressed members of the House and Senate during this morning’s floor session. h/t Wyoming Legislature
The 2019 general session is scheduled to run through Wednesday, February 27, 2019, with five additional days available if needed.

As of today there are 499 bills and resolutions listed on the Wyoming Legislature website. The total expected bill load was 500. Bills can be found here.

A number of these bills could impact economic development and diversification. It is more important now than ever to promote our economy at both the state and local level by letting represenatives know your thoughts on legislation currently being discussed. You can use the “comments” section of any bill to have your voice heard on these initiatives. You can also contact a legislator to leave a message by calling the Senate receptionist at 307-777-7711 or the House receptionist at 307-777-7852.

Tuesday, January 29 was the last day for House Bills to be submitted for introduction. Tomorrow, Friday, February 1, is the last day for Bills to be reported out of Committee in their house of origin.

Tuesday, February 4 will be the last day for a Second Reading on legislation in their house of origin, and February 6 will be the last day for a Third Reading.

A lot will be happening in the upcoming weeks. We will be following bills of interest, as well as those of interest to the Wyoming Economic Development Association (WEDA) and the Wyoming Taxpayer’s Association (WTA).

From WEDA, a Wyoming Business Council JAC Update:
“During the Joint Appropriations Committee supplemental budget discussions last week there was significant action taken on the Wyoming Business Councils administrative and business ready community accounts. Please see below for a summary. We will be monitoring the floor discussion very closely to ensure no cuts are made to the Wyoming Business Council.

$100k from WBC for international agriculture marketing in the “south rim.” Legislature wants to continue relationship and be sure that Mainland China is included since they’re the largest import market in the world.

$250k in operations and $2mm from BRC shall not be expended until further legislative authorization. Requires WBC to report by 11/1/19 on other ED activities in other agencies. Not intended to be punitive – Their perception is that there is a lot economic development related funds committed through various programs and their legislature wants a report detailing everything so that funds are being used in an efficient manner.

$250k from BRC to local economic developers with matching funds for aerospace manufacturing projects

$3 million from broadband account (created through endow last year) to BRC account earmarked for rural underserved broadband areas”

Bills we are following:

House Bill 66, the Statewide Lodging Tax, passed the House by a vote of 44-16, and was introduced to the Senate on January 22. Senate File 42, the Hathaway Scholarship Eligibility bill, also has not seen movement since passing the Senate on January 22.

A bill being opposed by WEDA and the WTA, House Bill 67, would remove the sales tax exemption on home-prepared foods, data centers, and manufacturing. It has not moved from the House Appropriations committee since January 15. The last day for it to be sent out of committee would be Friday, February 1. The Sales Tax Revisions bill would reduce the state sales tax to 3.5% and would create a tax on most services.

A bill being monitored by the WTA, House Bill 166, would increase the annual decal fee for a plug-in electric vehicle from $50 to $200; and would establish a $100 required decal for a hybrid electric vehicle. The change is projected to increase revenue from approximately $12,000 a year to a projected $140,900 a year. That bill passed its second reading in the House this morning. It is Co-Sponsored by Senator Ogden Driskill.

Wind Energy:
House Bill 96, an 80% tax increase on wind energy production, was not introduced to the House. A similar bill, House Bill 239, would have increased the tax on wind energy production 75%. It was sponsored by Gillette’s Representative Edwards and also failed to be introduced in the House. House Bill 260 would have increased tax on wind energy production by 80%, but incrementally over a period of 5 years. That bill also was not introduced to the House.

Coal Taxation:
House Bill 167 relates to the severance tax rate on surface coal, it would reduce the tax rate from 7% to 6.5%. The Wyoming Taxpayer’s Association is monitoring this bill, which was referred to the Revenue committe on January 18.




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