Wyoming Legislative Update: Week Two

As of today, January 23, there are 379 bills and resolutions on the floor of the Legislature, with 10 being introduced in the last day alone. Many of our associated organizations are tracking legislation they support, and we are sharing a few of those bills, and their status, with you:

On Friday, January 18, Senate Joint Resolution 8, a piece of legislation asking that Congress write a constitutional amendment to regulate Super PACs, was introduced to the Wyoming Senate by local Senator Jeff Wasserburger. On Tuesday, January 22, SJ0008 was referred for consideration to the Senate Minerals, Business & Economic Development committee, which Senator Wasserberger is a member of.

Senate File 55, the Optometrists practice act supported by local optometrists in Campbell County, as well as Senators Von Flatern and Wasserburger, has passed its third reading in the Senate. It moved on to the House on January 23.

The bill includes an amendment from Senator Wasserburger assuring patients that optometrists seeking to perform advanced procedures in Wyoming have received training from “a college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education.”

Senate File 43, the Hathaway scholarship bill, has passed the Senate and was received by the House on Tuesday. Senators Driskill, Von Flatern, and Wasserburger voted for the final version of the bill in the Senate. The bill is supported by the Wyoming Economic Development Association.

House Bill 96, which is sponsored by Gillette Representatives Scott Clem and Tim Hallinan — and would increase the tax on wind energy from $1 per megawatt hour to $5 per megawatt hour — is still awaiting introduction to the Legislature. The Wyoming Economic Development Association opposes the bill, as does the Wyoming Taxpayer’s Association.

House Bill 66, the statewide lodging tax legislation, has passed the House and was received in the Senate Tuesday afternoon. The bill is supported by the Wyoming Taxpayers Association and the Wyoming Economic Development Association, as well as the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition. It creates a 5% statewide lodging tax, with 3% of revenue dedicated to funding the Wyoming Office of Tourism, and the other 2% replacing local option lodging taxes, eliminating the need to vote on them every four years.

The addition of this local funding piece, along with the ability for individual counties to still vote on up to an additional 2% every four years if they require it in their locality, is an alternative to previous legislation, and a funding initiative that has been worked on by the tourism industry and the legislature for more than 2 years.

According to the Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition, they are “supporting this bill as long as the funding derived from the tax remains dedicated to funding tourism at a significantly more competitive level with our surrounding states.”

Gillette Representatives Barlow and Pownell voted for the third version of the bill, which was sent to the Senate. Representatives Clem, Edwards, and Hallinan voted against it.




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