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146 of 330 bills passed during session

CHEYENNE - With the sound of a gavel, the Wyoming Legislature wrapped up the 2018 Budget Session Thursday at the Jonah Business Center in Cheyenne.

 

March 17, 2018

CHEYENNE - With the sound of a gavel, the Wyoming Legislature wrapped up the 2018 Budget Session Thursday at the Jonah Business Center in Cheyenne.

At the start of the Session on Feb. 12, a total of 330 bills and resolutions were numbered for introduction. The Wyoming Legislature passed a total of 142 bills.  Of the 126 pieces of legislation that were introduced in the Senate, 71 of those bills passed both the House and Senate.  The House introduced 204 bills and 71 of those garnered the approval of both bodies. Legislation that passed both houses has either been acted on or is waiting to be acted on by Gov. Matt Mead.

In addition to those bills, the Cowboy State's biennial budget bill was signed by the Governor on Wednesday. The total appropriation in the 2018 Budget Bill for the 2019-2020 biennium totals $8.63 billion, of which $2.9 billion is General Fund.

Both the House and Senate have addressed a broad range of issues affecting Wyoming residents and while some of these laws will take effect immediately, many will not go into effect until July 1 of this year.

In a press release, House and Senate leaders spoke about the recent session.

"We have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time to support economic diversification, advance opportunities for innovation through blockchain technology, support critical state agency priorities, and meet our constitutional obligation to balance the budget," said Senate President Eli Bebout. "This session was marked by constructive debate and a tremendous amount of hard work from the Wyoming Senate. Now we need to turn our attention to decreasing our $900 million deficit and solving our long-term spending problem. I have every confidence that the next Legislature will hold fast to our conservative values and work toward solutions that responsibly broaden our tax base and create a transparent spending policy for Wyoming agencies."

House Speaker Steve Harshman said, "This year we showed our commitment to public education, our most vulnerable citizens and to representing the conservative values and priorities of Wyoming people. It is wonderful to see important legislation for our students like statewide computer science standards, adequate funding of our K-12 and higher education systems, and important economic diversification initiatives secure passage – and we've solved K-12 major maintenance capital construction."

"We went from zero to 100 this session in the field of blockchain technology," said House Majority Floor Leader David Miller. "This package of economic diversification legislation will cost the state nothing while bolstering our technology industry, bringing new startups and established businesses to our state and putting Wyoming on the map as a global leader in one of the most exciting and cutting-edge fields in tech. Republicans worked diligently to advance a wide set of economic diversification measures this session that will put Wyoming's small business owners and entrepreneurs in a position to enjoy a prosperous future across a wide set of industries."

The majority in the Wyoming State Legislature passed a number of bills this session to diversify Wyoming's economy for the long-term, make government more accountable and efficient, ensure schools and local communities have the adequate funding they need and protect personal liberties and freedoms. Among the important measures passed this session were bills to expand air service, improve broadband access, add computer science to the state educational program, provide workforce training, support blockchain and virtual currency, encourage entrepreneurialism and innovation and defend Second Amendment rights, according to the release.

Republicans' conservative approach to budgeting and continued fiscal discipline have led to substantial savings that enabled the state to weather the recent economic storm and tackle the challenges faced today. In the past year alone, Republican legislators reduced the structural deficit by 20 percent, from $1.2 billion to $900 million. Moving forward, lawmakers are committed to continuing to chip away at this deficit until it is eliminated.

According to the Legislative Service Office, lawmakers will begin their interim committee work in the coming weeks. The Legislature's Management Council plans to finalize interim committee topics April 19.  Wyoming's Sixty-Fifth Legislature will convene on Jan. 8, 2019 for the General Session.

The Wyoming Legislature encourages the public to participate in interim activities.  The public can use the Legislature's Website at http://www.wyoleg.gov to find information about interim legislative committees, including committee membership, the dates and locations of interim legislative committee meetings – which are held throughout the state – and minutes of committee meetings. 

The website also contains a free email subscription service for all interim committee information. 

 
 

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