Wyoming Legislature turns failed bills into studies

2011-03-02T23:30:00Z 2013-03-21T11:56:12Z Wyoming Legislature turns failed bills into studies

By JOAN BARRON

Casper Star-Tribune ‌

The Billings Gazette
March 02, 2011 11:30 pm  • 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Adhering to tradition, the Wyoming Legislature will turn some failed bills into interim studies.

The Joint Judiciary Committee, for example, will study public records and open meetings statutes as a combined No. 4 priority.

Bills dealing with those two topics failed in the Legislature this session.

Other studies that resulted from failed bills include taxation of agricultural lands and subdivisions, and extending the minimum school year.

These studies and many more were approved this week by the Legislative Management Council, which also approved a budget for each interim committee.

The council is the administrative arm of the Legislature and is composed of mostly legislative leaders.

During the legislative session, the committees act separately as House or Senate committees.

Between legislative sessions, they work together as joint committees.

The Joint Judiciary Committee’s top priority study will be access to courts and uniform prosecution of offenses. The committee will consider the need for full-time circuit court magistrates.

The No. 2 priority is the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act, followed by juvenile justice at No. 3.

The committee had placed a review of possible abuse of the judicial process by incarcerated individuals at No. 4. The management council dropped it to No. 8.

The Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivision Committee has a major piece of interim work — legislative redistricting.

The study includes the development of a database of proposed alternative redistricting plans for the public and election officials to review and a single bill for the 2012 legislative session.

Other key committees and their studies are:

Appropriations: State retirement system issues, including cost-of-living increases, state preference laws and employee compensation.

Revenue: Economic development and tax policy; wind energy tax, taxation of agriculture lands, and severance tax issues.

Education: Block grant model monitoring; regional cost-of-living adjustments; Hathaway Scholarship Program reports and extending the minimum school year.

Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources: Department of Agriculture statutes on pesticides and animal damage; mitigation of the bark beetle and irrigation districts.

Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources: Game and Fish Department issues, including funding for the aquatic invasive species program; the State Parks and Cultural Resources Department funding issues and the state parks concessionaire program.

Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee: Highway revenue sources not generated by taxes or tolls; statewide armory funding, land purchases for Camp Guernsey and long-term health options for Wyoming veterans.

Minerals, Business and Economic Development: Federal actions impacting Wyoming’s energy sector; monitor reorganization of the departments of Workforce Services and Employment into a unified agency, and the appointment of the executive secretary of the Environmental Quality Council.

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