Wyoming House Speaker: Looking At 3-5 Day Special Session First
Wyoming House Speaker Steve Harshman says at this point lawmakers are probably looking at a 3-5 day special session of the legislature, probably in late May or early June to deal with issues related to the coronavirus and federal stimulus money.
He says it's also likely that the body could meet again later this year if needed
Interestingly, Harshman says that if the governor calls lawmakers into session they could meet remotely. But if the legislature calls itself into session, they would have to physically meet in Cheyenne under state law.
Below are questions posed to Rep. Harshman by Townsquare Media on Wednesday morning as well as his written responses:
1-Is a special session under consideration? What topics might be discussed if so? What sort of timeframe might we be looking at?
Yes, soon after we adjourned and the closures began several of us began discussions among our local constituents, other legislators and the Governor on ideas of stimulus, relief and reform etc. Then the CARES Act was passed by Congress and we are working hard to unpack the 850 page bill and receive guidance from the Treasury dept. that will oversee this. Everyone has ideas to help small business, tax holidays, stimulus infrastructure, medical/health coverage issues etc. The key will be to build consensus and narrow it to under 10 bills that can are worked in committee before we arrive and considered in a 3-5 day session. After that initial session we would probably adjourn until a future date to consider more items as they become necessary. The initial session would probably be late May or early June.
2-If a session was to be called, what changes (if any) might be implemented to deal with the coronavirus pandemic?
We are working closely with the Governor to determine what policy changes are needed to aid him during this initial response, what the federal bill entails and where are the gaps that we can fill and to appropriate the federal grants. The potential list is long as I said and will need to be narrowed to deal with the most important and critical items first. There are two types of Special sessions, one which the Gov calls us and we would not have to meet in Cheyenne, we would most likely meet remotely from our homes. The 2nd type is where a majority of the Legislature calls ourselves into session and we would have to meet in the city of Cheyenne.