According to Gillette representative Eric Barlow, the budget session being extended was simply a matter of needing more time, and having three extra days on the books.
“It’s not common, but it’s not unusual,” Barlow told the Gillette News Record. “There’s nothing nefarious going on.”
The main budget bill, which funds most state agencies, was passed by roughly two-thirds of lawmakers in the House and Senate after reaching a deal to remove both construction and education cuts from the budget. The idea was that those two topics would then be addressed in separate pieces of legislation. The extension is in order to address the remaining education and construction bills.
The House will reconvene at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Senate on Thursday, meaning the Chamber has had to push their March 13 Legislative Wrap-Up breakfast to March 22.
In interim between now and the next general session in 2019, legislative committees will meet at least three times. The Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce will be tracking committee topic assignments. For now, they've issued their final report on the session:
On February 12, the Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce released the following information following the State of the State address.
The budget session will run for 20 working days until Friday, March 9, 2018. As of today there are 222 bills and resolutions currently listed on the Wyoming Legislature website. Bills can be found here. New bills are being added daily with an expected total bill load of about 300.
As a number of bills that could impact the businesses that operate in your communities have and will continue to emerge in the coming weeks, and your State Chamber will be very closely monitoring them as they are posted and engaging as necessary.
The following list is comprised of the bills currently listed, related to the Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce and our legislative priorities in Wyoming. This list will be updated weekly. Please watch for the WSC legislative update every Monday for additions and up to date information on our legislative priorities.
Wyoming Office of Tourism Biennium Budget
The Joint Appropriations Committee is recommending the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT) biennium budget at approximately $12.5 million per year or $25 million for the biennium. The committee upheld cuts that the Governor requested the WOT to make earlier in the year of about $200,000. Additionally the committee earmarked approximately $200,000 to promote southwest Wyoming. Wyoming currently ranks 31st in the nation for tourism funding and there will no doubt be proposed cuts to the budget as lawmakers grapple with a $600 million shortfall in education funding.
Wyoming Business Council Biennium Budget
Governor Mead’s biennium budget recommendation for the Wyoming Business Council was flat vs. the last biennium. The Joint Appropriations Committee applied a cut of about $380,000 that Governor Mead had originally requested the agency to make but then did not include in his budget recommendation.
Bills that we are monitoring
HB 10 – Workers Compensation-Exterritorial Reciprocity
Would only pay reciprocity for workers compensation cases in other states that also offer reciprocity.
HB 13- Municipal extraterritorial jurisdiction-repeal
Within one mile of municipality, assuming the potential for annexation in the future, new business would need to be built to municipal standards and would be developers responsibility up front. County commissioners would have final say.
HB 14 Municipal Jurisdiction
Addresses same issues as HB 13 but less restrictive. County would still have ability to nullify if warranted.
HB 44 Alcoholic Liquors Markup Amount
Would raise the mark up on wholesale liquor purchases for businesses buying from the Wyoming Liquor Division from 17.3% to 20.3%
HB 45- Mountain Daylight Savings Time
Would place Wyoming on standard central time, eliminate daylight savings time (spring forward and fall back) and creating a new time zone called mountain daylight savings time
HB 49-Unemployment Compensation Exemption-Seasonal Employees
Would exempt employers that utilize seasonal employees working less than 21 consecutive weeks in a 12-month period from unemployment.
HB 51- Reporting of Gross Receipts
Would require businesses in Wyoming to report their gross receipts on their annual filings to the Secretary of State’s office so that the state could gather data about gross receipts in Wyoming to possibly be used later when considering a gross receipts tax.
HB 63- Resident Labor Requirements
Would require resident labor on public projects unless resident labor unavailable.
HB 68- Unemployment Compensation-Seasonal Employment
Provides exemption for employers utilizing season employees working 21 consecutive weeks or less in a 12-month period from unemployment.
HB 128- Food Trucks
Provides for the regulation, licensing and rulemaking related to food trucks in Wyoming.
SF 6 Real Estate
Exempts real estate brokers, salespeople and associate brokers from workers compensation and unemployment.
SF 18 – Orphan Site Remediation Funding
Non-interest bearing loans available for corrective action related to above and below ground storage tanks and solid waste landfill remediation. This bill adds orphaned sites to the list making these loans available to orphaned sites for remediation as well.
SF 52- Workers Comp Rate Discount
Increases from 10% to 15% for complying with substance testing and safety programs
ENDOW Related Bills
Governor Mead’s Economically Needed Diversification of Wyoming (ENDOW) Committee released their initial recommendations last month and the following are bills related to the advancement of ENDOW’s mission.
Economic Diversification and Development (no bill number yet)
Directs the Wyoming Business Council to develop new markets, expand foreign trade efforts, including expanding international markets for Wyoming services, agriculture, products and commodities. The bill also directs ENDOW to develop a strategy for small, regionally located beef processing plants and mid-large sized plants for international sales. The bill expands the ENDOW committee from 15 to 20 appointed members and directs the committee to review and develop further opportunity for career tech education opportunities in Wyoming.
Workforce development-priority economic sector program.(no bill number yet)
Establishes the Wyoming workforce development-priority economic sector partnership program to meet the training needs of existing businesses in the state and to provide incentives to businesses to locate and expand within the state through government assisted new jobs training. Appropriates $20 million to the program.
Economic Diversification-Telecommunication Services (no bill number yet)
Creates a broadband development program and matching funds for projects under the program. The Wyoming Business Council will administer the program. The bill establishes a broadband advisory council and dedicates $12 million to the program.
Start Up Wyoming-Economic Diversification (no bill number yet)
Provides for matching funds for the small business innovation research program; creating the Wyoming research and innovation program, the startup Wyoming and kick start Wyoming programs and houses the programs under the Wyoming Business Council. Creates an economic diversification account and appropriates $11 million to the programs listed. Directs the WBC to present a proposal to ENDOW that will assist businesses within the state in priority economic sectors identified in the approved twenty (20) year comprehensive economic diversification strategy no later than July 1, 2018.
HB-19 Wyoming Money Transmittal Act- Virtual Currency
Allows for the use of virtual currency in Wyoming.
SF 40 Commercial Air Service Improvement
Establishes the Wyoming Commercial Air Service Improvement Act and creates the Wyoming Commercial Air Service Improvement Council. Tasks the Council with developing a 10 year plan to address commercial air service in Wyoming.
Click here for a list of all legislators’ emails, which is their preferred method of contact, or click here to download the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce's Legislative Directory.
During the session you can contact a legislator to leave a message by calling the Senate receptionist at 307-777-7711 or the House receptionist at 307-777-7852.
To check on committee schedules, view bills, listen to live broadcasts of the legislative session or find out how individual legislators vote, log on to the Legislative website at http://legisweb.state.wy.us
Prepared by: Charlene Murdock, Executive Director
Campbell County Chamber of Commerce
The Legislature is now in its fifth week of the eight-week session. Crossover has occurred, which means House bills have moved to the Senate and conversely, Senate bills have moved to the House. The bills go through the same vigorous process in each house, including a Committee hearing and three readings on the floor. The process offers opportunities for engagement and providing input to legislators in advance of a bill becoming law. You will see from the report below that many measures have failed and those are listed with a red background, enabling you to easily see which measures are still advancing through the process.
Members who use automatic renewal of contracts should review HB227 to determine what changes they may need to take on renewal processes. The bill is intended to protect consumers from automatic renewals that the consumer would prefer to cancel. If there are issues of concern or potential unintended consequences with this bill, businesses need to weigh in.
The ENDOW (economic needed diversity options for Wyoming) initiative, SF132, highlighted by the Governor in his state-of-the-state address, has passed the Senate and is moving to the House. The initiative establishes an economic diversification council to oversee and promote economic diversification activities in the state. The council will be tasked with evaluating investments necessary to support new and emerging industries, knowledge transfer, infrastructure, cooperation between the public sector and private enterprise, and the relationship between tax burden and economic diversification.
Makeup of the council will include 15 voting members, appointed by the Governor with approval from the Senate; in appointing members, efforts will be made to include diverse backgrounds of appointees, including existing, new and emerging economic sectors. The Chairmen of the Senate and House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committees will serve as ex-officio members, meaning Senator Michael Von Flatern will be involved in the initiative. The council will be supported by the Wyoming Business Council, Community College Commission, University of Wyoming and Department of Workforce Services. An initial report will be due to the Governor and Legislature by December 31, 2017. Read more about the bill here. You can listen to the debate here.
The Governor’s office is asking for input on the ENDOW initiative. A survey is available at the following link: ENDOW SURVEY
The House passed an Omnibus Education Bill (HB236) yesterday on a 43-16-1 vote. The measure includes reductions in education spending as well as a one-half cent sales tax increase that would take effect when the Legislative Stabilization and Reserve Account (LSRA) also known as the budget reserve account falls below $500 million. The tax discussion was robust on both sides of the issue and centered on use of the remaining LSRA versus proposed tax increases. Those supporting the tax increase debated the fact the LSRA is needed not just for education, but for local government funding and other state needs and the measure is a pro-active approach to stemming the shortfall in education funding. Those arguing against the increase felt the tax is not yet justified since the funding shortfall is already covered for this year; in essence, they felt the tax wouldn't take effect for about five years and felt the measure is premature. Reliance on Wyoming's mineral industry was referred to several times during the debate with some asserting that the minerals industry is making a rebound and the economy is improving and others arguing that the State must change their over-reliance on minerals and energy. The fiscal impact of the HB236 can be reviewed here.
Check the bill list below for updates on additional legislation moving through the process. As you review the bill list below, those bills that have died are indicated with a red background. Only this bills with a dark background are still active.
Disclaimer: Information was pulled on 2/10/16 at 4:25 p.m. Information on all bills is available from the Legislative Website.
Campbell County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Charlene Murdock will be monitoring legislation and engaging as needed to serve as the “Voice of Business” for Campbell County. If you have questions or concerns on any bill, email CharleneM@GilletteChamber.com.
July 26: Ice Cream Social With the Candidates
62th Wyoming Legislature
Convenes Feb. 12, 2018