The 2017 Wyoming State Legislature convened last Tuesday and I’m writing to update you on the first week’s activities and bills that may be of interest. Since this is a general session that lasts approximately 40 work days, we have more time for legislation to develop and move.
Please check out our website’s legislation tracking page to look at the list of many bills we are monitoring, supporting, and opposing. As new bills are filed, this list will grow.
Our highest priority this session is defeating SJ3, the public lands constitutional amendment that would lay the groundwork for transferring federal public lands to the state. So far, this bill has not been introduced or assigned to a committee, but it could be fast-tracked at any time. We will alert you if it starts to move! Thank you for your citizen advocacy efforts thus far. If you haven’t sent an email to your state senator yet, you can do so here.
There are a variety of conservation-related bills we are tracking on wildlife, renewable energy, water, and environmental quality. We are encouraged to see two in-stream flow bills, SF 58 and 80, sponsored by Lander’s Senator Case, that improve the mechanics of that law. A net-metering bill, SF 68, that we supported, has already failed in committee, but we hope that committee discussion lays the groundwork for future reform of this restrictive state law. Senator Burns of Sheridan did an excellent job challenging the obsolete nature of our laws that arbitrarily restrict the growth of solar and other renewable distributed energy. Related to that topic, we are opposing the controversial SF 71 that does the same for large power sources in Wyoming.
Another bill we are monitoring with concern is SF 6, which updates the state’s old radioactive waste facility laws. Currently, the language in the bill keeps this law strong and protects Wyoming from becoming a de facto nuclear waste repository. We will quickly shift to opposing this bill if weakening amendments are brought in.
The session is very fluid right now and we expect to see many other new bills. Please feel free to contact me if you want to know more about any of the bills we are tracking, and thank you for your engagement! It makes all the difference.
For those of you in the Cheyenne area, please join us Wednesday night for “Beers and Bills” at Danielsmark Brewery—find more information and RSVP here!
Stephanie Kessler, director of external relations