Greetings, WIN Community:
Chesie Lee is lobbying for WIN at Wyoming Legislature. Chesie has provided the following list of bills pertinent to our WIN resolutions:
HB 43 Tobacco tax - WIN supported. It would have increased tobacco taxes more in line with surrounding states. An increased cost prevents young people from starting use. The Joint Revenue Committee during the interim added an amendment requiring the tribes on the Wind River Reservation to agree to participate before it went into effect. The leading advocate supporting tobacco increases is the American Cancer Society. The House leadership did not allow it to be considered for introduction.
HB 105 Prohibition on sanctuary cities and counties. WIN opposed. It failed introduction 33 to 26. (a 2/3 vote or 40 votes are needed for introduction). Law enforcement also opposed it because of requirements to cooperate with ICE regardless of resources.
HB 141 Concealed weapons in places of worship. WIN is following. This would repeal the existing law that prohibits anyone authorized to carry a concealed weapon to take a firearm into a place of worship without written consent from the chief administrator of the facility. Whether this passes or not does not prevent firearms from being banned. This was introduced with a 53 to 6 vote and referred to the House Judiciary Committee but has not yet been scheduled. It will need to be heard by Thursday if it is to continue. House Judiciary Committee members are Representatives Dan Kirkbride (chairman), Bo Biteman, Mark Jennings, Jared Olsen, Charles Pelkey, Bill Pownall, Tim Salazar, Clark Stith and Nathan Winter.
HB 167 The Marriage and Constitutional Restoration Act. WIN opposed as being anti-gay. The House leadership did not allow it to be considered for introduction.
HB 192 Legislator communications on recording and broadcasts. WIN supports. The Equality State Policy Center of which WIN is a member is the lead advocate for this bill that is sponsored by the Management Council (the leadership from the House and Senate). This directs committee meetings being recorded and archived to allow much more public access to the decision-making process, as is done for floor debate for the House and Senate. This was introduced 59 to 0 and was referred to the Rules Committee.
SF 67 Wyoming public lands day. WIN supports. This bill to designate a day to celebrate our public lands is being advocated by the Keep It Public coalition with which WIN works. It was introduced 27 to 2 with only Sen. Burns and Sen. Barnard opposing. It has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.
SF 74 Crimes against critical infrastructure. WIN opposes as is. This would allow up to a $1 million fine for any organization aiding or encouraging the protest of various infrastructures including putting gas or oil pipelines in environmentally sensitive areas. It is very troublesome to the ACLU and various conservation groups. It received introduction 27-3 and has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 5-0. It likely will be in the Senate Committee of the Whole early this week. The big corporations are all behind this, showing a low tolerance for acts of peaceful civil disobedience like was at Standing Rock in 2016 and which WAC supported.
SF 93 Child abuse education and prevention. WIN supports. It was introduced 29 to 1 with only Sen. Hicks opposing and referred to the Senate Education Committee where it is scheduled for hearing Monday morning at 8am.am.
This leaves still being considered three bills WIN is supporting (HB 192, SF 67 and SF 93, one opposing (SF 74) and one following (HB 141). The Budget Bill will be considered with mirror bills (HB 01 and SF 01) in the House and the Senate this coming week. Our focus for concern will be impacts on funding for prevention and services for children and for those who are facing mental health challenges.
In Peace and Gratitude, and with thanks to Chesie!