Wyoming Legislature Introduces Some Bills, Snubs Others
During the first two days of the Wyoming legislature, the state House and Senate agreed to introduce several bills, which require a two-thirds majority, while declining others.
In the House, bills dealing with local funding, school funding, wastewater clean-up, COVID-19 injury, and vaccine accommodations were approved for introduction, while bills relating to Hathaway scholarships and scratch-off lottery tickets failed introduction.
Local funding in House Bill 42, which is currently on the general file after passing the Appropriations Committee in a unanimous vote, gives $105 million to local governments for various purposes, with amounts determined based on population sizes from the 2020 census.
School funding in House Bill 34, which was introduced on a vote of 41-19, would give up to $10 million in unobligated funds from strategic investments and projects account to school capital construction accounts each year starting on June 30.
The wastewater funding in House Bill 6, introduced on a vote of 53-7, would use $95 million from the American Rescue Plan to create the ARPA water infrastructure program to award money to eligible projects up to $7.5 million or 85% of the cost of the projects.
A bill for vaccine accommodations in House Bill 32, which was introduced on a vote of 45-15, would, among other things, make it an unfair employment practice for employers to require vaccinations for employees or prospective employees unless it's based on federal law or that unvaccinated workers pose dangers to the workplace that can't be solved with 'reasonable accommodations.'
The COVID-19 injury bill through House Bill 59, which was placed on general file after clearing the Appropriations Committee in a unanimous vote, would clarify injuries due to COVID-19 run from Jan 1, 2020, until March 31, 2022, and need to be claimed by March 31, 2023.
The Hathaway scholarship bill, House Bill 28, which failed introduction 29-31, would have included the summer semester as an academic term and allowed people to apply within 20 years of high school graduation rather than four.
For the scratch-off lottery ticket bill, House Bill 8, which failed introduction 32-28, attempted to add scratch-off lottery tickets to the list of approved games in the state lottery.
In the Senate, bills like firefighter pensions and ARPA appropriations were introduced, while bills on state park purchasing and community college investment failed introduction.
A bill relating to how to pay for certain firefighter pensions, Senate File 66 was placed on general file after passing through the Appropriations Committee in a unanimous vote, would govern how the state and various cities and counties would pay for firefighter pension plan A.
For ARPA appropriations, Senate File 66 which was introduced in a 24-5 vote, would appropriate $334,539,726 across 24 different agencies with currently the most money, $55 million, allocated to HHS Capital Construction.