As Wyoming Legislature Enters Final Days, Many Bills Are Dead
As the 2020 budget session of the Wyoming Legislature enters its final week, a lot of high-profile bills have gone by the wayside.
Those include proposals dealing with such things as a state income tax, making Interstate 80 a toll road and efforts to prohibit people from switching parties for primary elections.
A bill to repeal Wyoming's death penalty actually received strong support in the Wyoming House, with 37 of 60 representatives voting for the introduction of the bill. But that majority was still short of the two-thirds majority needed for consideration of a non-budget bill in a budget session, which would have been 40 votes.
Supporters of repealing the state's death penalty are widely expected to try again in 2021 when the measure won't have to win a two-thirds majority vote for introduction.
One proposal that seems to be an annual topic of discussion in the legislature, proposals to expand Medicaid, died an early death again. A bill that would have called for the state to study the possibility of expanding Medicaid failed an introductory vote in the Wyoming House in the opening days of the session.
Tax bills have mostly not fared well this session either. A proposed three-cent a gallon fuel tax, House Bill 63, is long dead as lawmakers enter the final days. Likewise, a bill to create a corporate income tax, House Bill 64, has bitten the dust again, despite supporters' arguments that the state needs to increase revenues.
This year's bill would have levied a seven percent tax on companies with more than 100 shareholders. But despite receiving of attention in the interim between last year's session and the current session, the bill was never considered for an introductory bill in the state House.
Similarly, a separate income tax proposal, House Bill 147, which called for both a personal and corporate income tax, didn't get far in 2020. It also missed a deadline for introduction into the House without being considered for an introductory vote.
But lawmakers did approve a statewide lodging tax, and that bill was signed into law by Governor Mark Gordon on Friday.
Two bills that would have launched the process of making Interstate 80 a toll road died this session. Other bills that have died include measures that would have allowed law enforcement to stop people for not wearing seatbelts (currently they can ticket people for that if the car is stopped for something else), a bill that would have banned governmental gun buyback programs, and a proposal to require that voters present photo identification before casting a ballot.
But with a general session scheduled for 2021 in which lawmakers have twice as much time allotted and non-budget bills won't require a two-thirds majority for introduction, it's probably a safe bet that many of the bills that have died this session will be back again next year.