Wyoming’s legislative session wrapped two weeks ago after tremendous work from your legislators, who had to address hundreds of bills while also crafting the state’s budget for the next two years. As they made the important decisions required to move the state forward, they made time for personal conversations and testimony from us and numerous stakeholders, and engaged with citizens over phone and email. It’s a big job — and, since Wyoming has a citizen legislature, they do it all as volunteers.
Your legislators put in an incredible amount of work, especially during the fast-paced budget session. Please join us in expressing your thanks! The button below will take you to a form where you can draft an email that will go to your senator and representative. Please personalize the message!
The session provides us with a direct opportunity to see legislators hard at work, and we at the Outdoor Council try often to give our personal thanks. But it’s also important to take the time to thank the legislators who made a significant difference this year.
HEROES OF THE SENATE
We would like to thank Chairman Bill Landen (Casper) and the Senate Corporations committee for their work stewarding Senate File 36, Large scale solar and wind energy facilities, through multiple long nights and complex negotiations with stakeholders. This bill creates an important first step toward a more comprehensive approach to siting industrial solar and wind facilities — a topic we hope to carry forward into future sessions! Thanks to this entire committee for their depth of work and engagement on this issue. We’d like to thank each Senator by name due to the extraordinary work that this bill entailed!
- Sen. Wendy Schuler (Evanston)
- Sen. Cale Case (Lander)
- Sen. Charlie Scott (Casper)
- Sen. Tara Nethercott (Cheyenne)
HEROES OF THE HOUSE
This year, we’d like to thank Chairman Mike Greear (Worland) and the House Minerals committee for their commitment to transparency, wise stewardship of resources, and extensive work over the interim. While we don’t see eye to eye with the committee on all issues, we have found that House Minerals prioritizes public process, due diligence, and having detailed, thoughtful discussions about each issue before them. We found this committee’s work and discussions on House Bill 13, Sage grouse mitigation credits (a vital bill that codifies a key part of the state’s sage grouse strategy) and Senate File 110 (a bill that would have analyzed the private property value of all public lands in Wyoming) to be particularly thoughtful. Thank you!
NEW CONSERVATION LOBBYISTS OF THE YEAR
We have two conservation lobbyists to thank this year as relative newcomers to the legislative session. Jenny DeSarro (Cody) from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition is a seasoned advocate who’s no stranger to the legislature, but this year came down for her first lengthy stint lobbying for GYC. Her work ethic and the quality of her engagement were tremendous. We would also like to recognize Liz Rose (Cheyenne) from Trout Unlimited, who came on board shortly before the session and made a powerful impression on legislators and lobbyists alike. Her work to represent TU’s many members on all issues related to fisheries was exemplary.
THANKS TO THESE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS
- The leadership of the House of Representatives, especially House Majority Floor Leader Eric Barlow (Gillette) and Speaker Pro Tempore Albert Sommers (Pinedale), for offering sage advice and assistance.
- We would also like to thank Rep. Sommers for his service on the Appropriations committee, and his work to ensure that the Department of Environmental Quality had adequate funding to monitor and safeguard air quality in the Upper Green River Basin. Thanks as well to Rep. Andy Schwartz (Jackson) for his work on this same committee, his helpful advice, and his efforts to improve a bill focused on Teton County state lands parcels.
- Rep. Cyrus Western (Sheridan), Sen. Fred Baldwin (Kemmerer), and Sen. Cale Case (Lander) for their work bringing budget amendments to the House and Senate, respectively, to increase funding in the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust to support wildlife crossings work. Thanks to their advocacy, $3 million of additional funding for crossings is included in this year’s budget.
- Chairman Eric Barlow (Gillette) and Chairman Drew Perkins (Casper) for their powerful work leading the Select Committee on Coal/Mineral Bankruptcies, which brought several critical bills that address the impact of energy economy transitions in Wyoming communities — especially the impact on workers. We also want to recognize Rep. Scott Clem and Sen. Michael Von Flatern (both of Gillette) for their strong work vocalizing the importance of bills from this committee that will be vital to their constituents.
- Rep. Mike Yin (Jackson) for his work to advocate for the future of outdoor recreation in the state, and for being a thoughtful voice on the House floor.
- Chairman Tyler Lindholm (Sundance) for his strong leadership in successfully shepherding Senate File 36 on industrial siting of wind and solar facilities through the House.
- Joint Agriculture Chairmen Sen. Brian Boner (Douglas) and Rep. Hans Hunt (Newcastle) for stewarding an important topic related to public access to state and federal lands via private-state land exchanges. We are grateful that this topic will be addressed by agency rulemaking. We would also like to thank these chairmen for continuing to lead on the topics of stranded state parcels.
- Rep. Stan Blake (Green River) for being a consistent voice advocating for Wyoming wildlife, and for his work promoting worker and community safety in the public interest.
- Rep. Sandy Newsome (Cody) for being a leader looking toward Wyoming’s future, for speaking up for the value of outdoor recreation in communities, and for her commitment to transparency and communication.
- Sen. Cale Case (Lander) and Sen. Chris Rothfuss (Laramie) for leading spirited, important floor debate on issues related to wildlife and Wyoming’s energy future.
- Rep. Shelly Duncan (Lingle) and Sen. Wendy Schuler (Evanston) for their work on the House Minerals committee and on the floor of the Senate, respectively, raising important questions about Senate File 110 and speaking to the value of wildlife and Wyoming’s outdoor heritage.
- Sen. Larry Hicks (Baggs) for standing up for big game, and for always being willing to explain his point of view, even when we agree to disagree.
- Rep. Jim Roscoe (Wilson/Alpine) for his work to encourage transparency in the management of state lands and for his thoughtful engagement on the floor.
- Sen. Liisa Anselmi-Dalton (Rock Springs) for being a strong advocate for Sweetwater County, and for her consistent support of wildlife and public lands.
AND FINALLY, SPECIAL THANKS TO …
- Governor Mark Gordon and his policy staff, with whom we met regularly throughout the session. While we didn’t always agree, we appreciated the frank, open-door conversations, and our mutual work to find understanding and common ground. Extra special thanks to Bob Budd, director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust, for his work as a stalwart advocate for our state’s wildlife and people. Thank you all for your leadership and commitment to the people of this state.
- The dedicated agency staff who put in long hours engaging and providing information to the legislature as they work on critical statewide issues. Your service is vital and much appreciated.
- Our five incredible citizen interns: Jorge Moreno (Lander), Lynne Huskinson (Gillette), Colleen Whalen and Joe Slack (Lander), and Elizabeth Traver (Laramie). Thanks for your incredible dedication, enthusiasm, and high-quality work. It was a pleasure to work with you and each of you made a difference.
- Partners, collaborators, allies, fellow advocates, and other interest groups. At the legislature, the importance of working together and listening to each others’ points of view can’t be overstated. In addition to conservation and sportsmen’s groups, some of our best work gets done when we sit down with groups from a wide range of interests. We don’t always find ourselves on the same side, but we always show respect to each other and seek mutual understanding. This session, we want to thank the following groups for your hard work, willingness to share your perspectives and ideas (and sometimes a cup of coffee) with us, and commitment to representing your members:
- Wyoming County Commissioners Association
- Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association
- Wyoming Stock Growers Association
- Wyoming Mining Association
- Wyoming School Board Association
- Wyoming AFL-CIO
- Wyoming League of Women Voters
- Wyoming Education Association
- Equality State Policy Center (and all our ESPC partners)
And to the conservation and sportsmen’s groups that worked to represent Wyoming conservation values throughout the session:
- Wyoming Wildlife Federation
- Trout Unlimited
- Greater Yellowstone Coalition
- Powder River Basin Resource Council
- The Nature Conservancy of Wyoming
Finally, and most importantly, thanks to YOU, our members and supporters. We could not achieve success at the legislature or advocate your conservation values without the enduring support that you provide. Thank you for your engagement.