Prepared by: Charlene Murdock, Executive Director
Campbell County Chamber of Commerce
As the Legislature moves towards the midway point during the eight-week session, a number of deadlines have hit or are looming. Both the House and Senate have hit the point where bill submittal is closed. Nearly 500 bills and resolutions have hit the bill registry; a few more might be added to the list this week, but with the cutoff for consideration in the Committee in the house of origin slated for this Thursday, February 2, bills filed this late in the process are often doomed simply because time runs out.
Here are a few issues of interest:
On a visit to the Legislature last week, I observed significant pressure on both bodies to try and resolve the looming shortfall in K-12 education funding and school capital construction. The scope of handling 34 tax bills is a significant undertaking and a variety of measures are being evaluated. The House and the Senate are working to find a balance of reductions in spending and tax measures that are fair and reasonable. Of course, there are not many who support any tax increases, pointing to the fact that the State has money in their rainy day fund and should look first towards reductions in spending.
As mentioned last week, there are several measures to change the allocation on the lodging tax, essentially striping the requirement to use the funds for tourism promotion. Alternate uses include Game & Fish, air service, and infrastructure. This issue is of concern to the Chamber; considering our active role in helping get the tax approved by voters, future voters may not support renewal of a tax that is not used for promoting the region.
In an effort to stay focused on the most important issues, leadership has indicated they will not consider controversial bills related to discrimination, guns, etc. This is helpful considering these items tend to polarize the legislature, creating division rather than collaboration. Further, these issues have the potential to drive headlines that are detrimental to the state’s tourism industry, an important sector that contributes significantly to the state’s tax base.
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