The Wyoming State Legislature is at the half-way mark for the 40-day session. Last week, many bills died due to failure to pass out of committee or to pass a first vote on the floor by Friday’s deadline.
- Good news! Three bills we mentioned we were opposing in our last update have died: HB 272 – mountain biking-decals, HB 293 – public lands management extension, and HB 261 – diversion dam operation and turbidity. Special thanks to our partners at Trout Unlimited for their excellent work organizing on HB 261!
- HB 257 – community and school access to public lands is a bill we supported that would require the state to evaluate land exchanges for the potential impacts to public access to surrounding lands. This bill failed in committee, but not due to a lack of support for the concept. Committee members felt the bill language needed further work and recommended the topic be considered for study during the legislative interim. We especially thank Representative Henderson for sponsoring this bill!
Our Focus Going Forward
HB 288 – Game and Fish fees is moving forward and we hope to stave off any further funding cuts to this agency. We will continue to closely monitor SF 6 – radioactive waste storage facilities and make sure this law remains strong. We’ll also watch a number of other Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) bills regarding leaking underground storage tanks, landfill remediation and uranium mining to assure these programs continue to protect our resources. We’ll also evaluate the proposed budget cuts to the DEQ to assess impacts to operations, including inspections and compliance.
In the coming weeks we’ll be keeping our eyes on a number of wildlife-related bills that we support or have helped to improve, including projects for the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust, confidentiality of wildlife data, and sage grouse.
Overall, we’ve had a fairly successful session to date. We’ve had many constructive conversations with legislators and are building important connections. Our early outreach efforts and the engagement of citizens like you—especially regarding public lands transfer bills—have paid off immensely! Thank you for your efforts these last four weeks!