By Sarah Pridgeon
The final date to introduce bills has passed and the Wyoming State Legislature has a clear picture of the questions that will need to be answered during the remainder of this year’s session.
As time ran out, a wide range of bills of the 300-plus that had been proposed failed to make it through the deadline, including most tax-related legislation, penalties for cruelty to animals, exemption from daylight savings time, the Chicken Freedom Act, recall elections for municipal officials and the fusing together of the Departments of Health and Family Services.
2018 marks a budget year for the Legislature and most of the attention will be on balancing the state’s financials for the next biennium. Of the additional bills that remain in play, however, several are worth taking note of, such as:
- Several of the bills supported by Representative Tyler Lindholm to encourage the cryptocurrency industry to operate in Wyoming are still in play. HB0012 would amend the Wyoming Money Transmitter Act, while HB070 would provide that anyone involved in the exchange of an open blockchain token would not be subject to specified securities and money transmission laws. HB0101 would authorize corporations to use electronic networks or databases to store their corporate records, while SF0111 would exempt virtual currencies from property taxation.
- HB0131 would require the State Board of Land Commissioners to analyze the community and economic impacts of public access to adjacent lands before making any exchange of public land.
- Stand Your Ground, or SF0071, would allow for the use of “defensive force” to prevent injury or loss to oneself or another person, with a citizen immune from arrest for using such force.
- Wildlife supporters will be able to purchase special conservation license plates if HB0039 passes, with proceeds from the $100 application fee going to Wyoming Game & Fish.
- Hunters will be permitted to wear fluorescent pink if SF0061 passes.
- HB0013 and HB0014 both deal with the right of a municipality to exercise extra-territorial authority. The first would remove the five-mile area around the town’s corporate limits entirely as part of its area of operation, while the second would place restrictions on the authority a town would have over that area.
- If HB0192 passes, communications that are audible on an official recording or broadcast of an interim committee meeting or other non-confidential meeting will officially be designated as neither confidential nor privileged.
- HB0130 would create an endowment account and matching funds account for the state fair, to be administered by the state treasurer.
- HB0069 amends the crime of impersonation through electronic means and would make it a misdemeanor to knowingly and without consent impersonate someone by electronic means such as spoofing with the intention of causing harm, harassing or facilitate contact with another person.
- HB0008 would change the definition for the crime of stalking, adding that harassment includes causing a person to fear for their safety, another’s safety or for the destruction of their property. The maximum penalty would also be raised from six months to one year.
- SF0108 would expand the duties of the ENDOW committee to develop new markets and expand foreign trade efforts, including expanding international markets for Wyoming services, products and commodities. SF0118 would create the “startup:Wyoming” and “kickstart:Wyoming” programs to address economic development and diversification.
- HB090 would require every retailer who sells or offers beef to place a conspicuous placard near the meet to designate it as either imported or raised in the USA.
- SF0078 would create an opioid addiction task force.
- HB0112 would reduce the probation period that can be imposed by a municipal court to 12 months from 36 months.
- HJ0005 requests that the U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Director of the National Park Service enter into an agreement with Wyoming, Montana and Idaho to impose a wildlife conservation fee at Yellowstone National Park with the revenue given to the states for conservation.
- HB0002 sets penalties for political candidates who fail to file reports by the specified deadlines. Failing to report to the secretary of state would carry a penalty of $500, for example, while failing to file a report to the county clerk would carry a $200 penalty.
- An employer who violates the state’s equal pay provisions could face fines of up to $500 – and increase from the previous $200 maximum – if HB0146 passes.
- HB0156 designates “Wyoming Where I Belong” by Annie Smith and Amy Smith as the second state song.
- August 7 would be designated as Purple Heart Day, recognizing those members of the armed forces who have been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice, under SF0037.
- State Highway 28, northeast to the border of the Shoshone National Forest from the Fremont county line, would be designated the Women’s Suffrage Pathway under SF0060.
- Under SF0067, the third Saturday in March would be designated as Public Lands Day in tribute to the importance of public lands in the state.