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Sen. Cooper assigned to two committees in first legislative session

Wyoming Senate District 20 Senator-elect Ed Cooper was elected to serve on the Judiciary Committee and the Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee when assignments were made for the 66th Wyoming Legislature.

Cooper along with the new senators and all members of the Wyoming House of Representatives are set to be sworn in on Jan. 12, 2021; however, according to Cooper's understanding, the in-person session to address the COVID-19 pandemic is not set to occur until March at the earliest.

Despite the in-person session not occurring until March or later, Cooper said that committees are able to meet and discuss policies between the inauguration and the in-person session which he understands is an important time to get a better grasp of understanding his committees and the session before the eventual in-person special session.

"I am really excited about it, I think we have got some real issues to work on not just the budget," Cooper said. "It is going to be a huge learning process for me."

Cooper is disappointed that the in-person session is not going to happen immediately as he feels Zoom and electronic media can be difficult to use in order to run a meeting and is not as efficient as an in-person meeting. On top of the difficulty of running a meeting electronically, Cooper is unsure if the Legislature is even able to pass any bills electronically.

"It is my understanding that we do not have the ability to vote and pass legislation electronically at this time," Cooper said.

Regarding serving on the minerals committee, Cooper believes they need to look at what "value added" the state can bring to minerals and look toward a strong global market for the states coal and look into other revenues for more forgotten minerals such as trona and bentonite.

Cooper began reading materials for what is coming for the judiciary committee in this upcoming session and met with Chairman Tara Nethercott, but was unable to discuss what they are proposing in the interim as he has not been given access to those documents until he is sworn in.

"It is going to be a real challenge but I am really looking forward to it," Cooper said. "We have a lot of really good people coming in and some really good people that were retained and overall I think we will be able to find some solutions to the issues we are seeing."