With Friday’s vote in the Wyoming House of Representatives, Senate File 45—a bill intended to help the Wyoming Game and Fish Department achieve a better funding model—is now headed to Governor Matt Mead’s desk for his signature.
If signed into law, this stopgap bill will provide the Legislature an opportunity in its next budget session to shift the burden of employee benefits and grizzly bear management away from hunters and anglers and into the general fund.
This would not only create an important opportunity to change the way employee benefits are funded—but it could also help the agency avoid more cutbacks and further reductions in programs, services, and wildlife management.
And if the Legislature exercises this option in two years, it would bring the Game in Fish Department in line with the way many other state agencies pay for similar employee benefits.
This is an important bill for many reasons, but particularly since the Legislature has failed in each of the last two sessions to authorize the department to increase license fees.
We are grateful to all of our members and friends for your support of this bill. We note that the final vote achieved at least nine more favorable votes than it did on introduction—this is proof that our advocacy (together with that of others) not only helped the bill pass but did so with room to spare.
Stay tuned for additional developments and in particular the time and date of the governor’s signature . . . if there is sufficient notice, perhaps you can make it to Cheyenne for the signing!
And as always, if you have any questions or expect to be in Cheyenne, please be in touch. It would be an honor to have you join me in advocating on behalf of all of our members in Wyoming’s capitol.
Contact: Richard Garrett, energy policy analyst and legislative advocate, Wyoming Outdoor Council. 307.332.7031 x18, firstname.lastname@example.org