Legislative Report: Much To Do In Final Week [AUDIO]
The legislative session is in its final week, but there is still a lot left to be done. Amy Richards has more in Monday's Legislative Report.
This Legislative Report is brought to you by Hilltop National Bank.
The Wyoming House passed SF 132 today (Monday) on a 34-25 vote. The bill would make strangulation of a family member a felony. Senate Minority Floor Leader Sen. John Hastert says it took several years to convince lawmakers to pass this particular bill.
Sen. John Hastert, strangulation bill:
"It's a control thing, and people die from it all the time. You can die three days later from injuries from being strangled or choked, so thought it was very serious. Many other states have felt it was serious and it needed to be defined in itself so been wanting for several years to get some language in the statutes to show that it takes strangulation to the level that it really is where it's a felony."
After some discussion, the Senate moved House Bill 147 on second reading today, the bill will give small business owners a sales tax rebate. Sen. Ray Peterson explains.
Sen. Ray Peterson, defray taxes:
"For all of our vendors, in state vendors, in Wyoming, looking at collecting taxes for the state of Wyoming, what we're doing is trying to get a little bit back to them, help defray those costs of collecting those taxes for the state of Wyoming. This bill specifies it's 1.95 percent of what they submit to the state each month, and so they would receive a credit on that form that they send in."
The Senate gave final approval to House Bill 29, which would eliminate the right of those suspected of driving while under the influence, to refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test. The vote was 20-10. Meanwhile, there is still no compromise on House Bill 74, the validity of marriage bill. The Joint Conference Committee will try and work out a deal again on Tuesday.
As the session winds down, I talked with rookie lawmaker Rep. Matt Greene from Laramie. Greene says the session has been very busy and there were new procedures to learn all along the way.
Rep. Matt Greene, learning curve:
"It's a fascinating process. From the beginning, you learn one specific thing like working in committees, and the next thing we do, the budget bill comes along, and then once you get the budget under wraps, then the Senate bills come through, so it's always a new learning curve, every week something new."
Greene says while it appears lawmakers spent a lot of time discussing "social issues." They actually spent more time on education. Rep. Tim Stubson says the whole issue of education accountability is not done yet.
Rep. Tim Stubson, ed accountability:
"People have been telling us throughout this session, don't pick on teachers; teachers are only part of the equation, and I would tell you I think the people in this building recognize that. Teachers are only a part and we've dealt significantly with that, but we have a lot to do as far as school-wide and district-wide accountability, and next session we'll be talking about it again."
The deadline for bills to be considered on third and final reading is tomorrow (Tuesday). Lawmakers hope to adjourn on Thursday.
With the Legislative Report, I'm Amy Richards for K2 Radio News.