With a consistent presence at the Capitol, timely research, and strong citizen engagement, the Wyoming Outdoor Council supported good legislation, opposed a number of harmful bills, and helped to improve others in the first two weeks of the Wyoming State legislative session.
Read on for a recap of last week’s action and a look ahead:
Bills we support:
SF 53 – Large project funding. This is a legislative approval bill for the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust proposed projects to enhance habitat.
A series of bills that support landfill cleanup around the state and protect groundwater from leaks and contamination: SF 7, SF 39, and HB 28. These bills greatly assist counties and have not required work on our part, but we support these bills.
Bills or budget amendments we opposed that failed:
HB 12 – Mountain lion trapping. Failed on introduction.
HB 18 – Wolves and grizzly bears. Failed in committee.
HB 126 – Public land access. Failed on introduction.
HB 142 – Transfer of federal lands. Failed to receive a vote.
HB 146 – Solid and hazardous waste management rule-making. Failed to receive a vote.
$712,5000 raid on Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust operational funds. Failed on vote.
$6 million reduction in operational funds and $8.4 million raid on the Wildlife Trust. Withdrawn after earlier failed vote.
$800,000 reduction in general fund support for the Game and Fish department’s aquatic invasive species program. Failed on vote.
Approximately $500,000 reduction in Department of Environmental Quality expenditures for air quality and other work associated with the Clean Power Plan. Failed on vote.
Bills we supported that failed:
SF 93 – Net metering. We were glad to obtain a sponsor for this bill, but it was withdrawn before a vote and the sponsor now encourages an interim study for next session, which we support.
SF 64 – Industrial siting permit amendments, which required updating of socioeconomic data when permits become stale after many years. Died in committee.
Bills/budget items we are monitoring
SF 28 – Carbon capture, storage and sequestration. We suggested an amendment that was adopted, but it still needs improvement to include public notice for adjacent and subsurface landowners.
SF 75 and SF 76 – Trespass data bills. These bills attempt to correct the unconstitutional provisions in last year’s data trespass legislation. The issues we raised in committee were eventually included in amendments and overall, the changes are moving in the right direction: to remove the inclusion of activity on or crossing “public land.” Short of an outright repeal of the laws, however, we do not think the unconstitutionality can be fully addressed.
SF 88 – State lands in Grand Teton National Park. The National Parks and Conservation Association is leading the work on this bill and we will provide help if needed.
Clean Power Plan footnote on the Senate version of the budget. The original amendment prohibited the Department of Environmental Quality from using funds to develop a state plan to comply with the Clean Power Plan. We opposed that amendment to ensure the state could continue research, study and stakeholder engagement as needed and not fall behind in developing its expertise on this topic. That first amendment passed in a close vote, but a later amendment revised the language, allowing DEQ latitude to continue its necessary study of the issue.
Stay tuned to Facebook, and these blog posts throughout the session to learn about opportunities to participate!