2015 Wyoming Legislature Sworn In
The 63rd Wyoming Legislature has formally been sworn in and is starting work at the State Capitol in Cheyenne.
Both house and senate members were sworn in at the same time in separate ceremonies in their respective chambers at noon on Tuesday in Cheyenne. Both houses will be led by Laramie attorneys who are Republicans-Senate President Phil Nicholas and House Speaker Representative Kermit Brown.
The 2015 session is a 40 day general session, which means a wide range of topics are up for discussion. The general sessions alternate with the 20 day budget sessions, in which any non-budget items need a 2/3 majority for for consideration.
Among the most contentious issues is whether the federal Medicaid Program should be expanded under the Federal Affordable Care Act. Governor Matt Mead opposed the expansion during the 2013 legislature, saying he is concerned that the federal government can't be trusted to help pick up the tab.
But some Wyoming hospitals say the cost of providing uncompensated care for low-income residents is proving to be a financial hardship. House Minority Caucus Chair James Byrd (D-Cheyenne) said Tuesday he thinks the attitude among lawmakers towards the expansion has changed compared to last session, in large part because of the issue of uncompensated care.
Other issues facing the legislature range from a possible consititutional amendment to make the state Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed position starting in 2019 to educational accountability.
Despite the state's current solid fiscal footing, there are also worries about the impact low energy prices could have on state revenues over the long term.
Governor Matt Mead will deliver his ''State of the State" address to lawmakers Wednesday morning at 10.