Wyoming Bill Placing Limitations On Public Health Orders Advances
A bill that would put limitations on how long state and local health orders in Wyoming could remain in effect without being approved by elected officials has passed the Wyoming Senate and is now headed to the House of Representatives.
Senate File 80 was approved on third and final reading in the Senate on Wednesday by a 21-9 margin.
But the bill was amended on Wednesday with some key changes. While the original bill would have required any state orders to be extended by the legislature after 30 days, primary sponsor Troy McKeown, a Gillette Republican, put forward an amendment on third reading to change that time to 60 days.
The measure was also changed to specify that the legislature could meet remotely rather than in person when considering an extension. For local health orders, the measure was amended to say the orders would need renewal by the local governing body--such as a county commission--after 30 days as opposed to the original 15 days.
Senate File 30 is one of four bills put forward this session to deal with what some lawmakers see as overreaching public health orders issued by unelected state and local public health officers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But supporters of the current system say health orders should be determined by medical professionals and worry about the injection of "politics" into a decision that they argue should be based solely on medical science.
Here is the breakdown of votes on Senate File 80 on Wednesday:
Ayes: BALDWIN, BITEMAN, BONER, BOUCHARD, COOPER, DOCKSTADER, DRISKILL, ELLIS, FRENCH, HICKS, HUTCHINGS, JAMES, KINSKEY, KOLB, MCKEOWN, NETHERCOTT, PAPPAS, PERKINS, SALAZAR, SCHULER, STEINMETZ
Nays: ANDERSON, CASE, FURPHY, GIERAU, KOST, LANDEN, ROTHFUSS, SCOTT, WASSERBURGER