Wyoming Time Change, Born Alive, Gun Rights Bills Face Decisions
With the 2020 session of the Wyoming Legislature rapidly drawing to a close, several high-profile bills are scheduled for third and final reading on Wednesday.
They include the following bills:
-House Bill 44 is slated for third reading in the Senate. The measure could eventually lead to Wyoming staying on Daylight Saving Time year-round. But the Senate has amended the House version, which called for Wyoming to ask permission to stay on DST if the surrounding states of Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Montana do the same. The Senate version now only requires that three other ''western states" from among the Dakotas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Montana pass similar bills. A proposal to change the Senate version of the bill back to the original house version failed on Tuesday. Sen. Dan Dockstader [R-Sublette, Teton and Lincoln counties], Majority Floor Leader, said on Tuesday that the bill "gives me heartburn."
If the Senate passes the current version of that bill pending before it, the House and Senate would have to hammer out an agreement before the measure could be sent to Governor Mark Gordon.
-House Bill 118, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, would authorize the state to sue the federal government if any of a number of actions that it deems as infringements on the Second Amendment were taken. Such acts include gun confiscation programs and other efforts to keep guns out of the hands of ''law-abiding citizens.'' At least one Senator, Tara Nethercott [R-Laramie County] has expressed reservations about the term "law-abiding citizens," saying it is vague and could lead to unforeseen problems if the measure were to become law.
-House Bill 227 would raise the per diem for members of state boards and commissions as well as legislators when the legislature is not in session. The per diem would go from the current $109 dollars to $151 in most of the state, with automatic adjustments every July 1. Sen. Tom James, [R-Sweetwater County], was vocal in his opposition to this bill in committee last week, saying he thinks "$109 is plenty" and that "no one forces us to do this." But supporters argue that it would help open up the ability to serve in the legislature to people who cannot afford to do so now.
-Senate File 134 is scheduled for third reading in the Wyoming House. The bill would remove jurisdiction over malt-liquor licenses for rodeos that seat over 7,500 people away from local governments and give it to the state. The bill grew out of complaints about the city of Cheyenne using the license as a bargaining chip to get Cheyenne Frontier Days to help pay for the cost of police officers at Frontier Park. Senate sponsor Odgen Driskill said a couple of weeks ago that the policy ''reeks of extortion." But supporters of the practice argue that it gives the city leverage in making CFD help pay for extra police enforcement, which they say costs at least $100,000.
-Senate File 97, the ''Born Alive" bill, mandates that babies who are born alive following an abortion attempt must be given life-saving measures. The measure faces a decisive vote in the Wyoming House. Opponents argue that the bill is unneeded and intrusive since Wyoming already prohibits abortions of fetuses capable of surviving outside of the womb except in medical emergencies. But supporters argue it is needed to prevent laws seen in other states which essentially allow infants born right up to the point of natural birth to die.