The 64th Legislature concluded the 2018 Legislative Budget Session on March 15. Starting the session with a slate of 330 House and Senate bills, by its conclusion, 150 had met their fate, and 136 have been signed into law by Governor Mead.
While the final budget was very close to the respective versions submitted by the House and Senate in terms of spending levels, they differed substantially on funding methodologies. Remaining divided on their respective philosophies on funding methodologies, the two sides settled on a budget bill deal that would allow both approaches as a trial measure, each for one year during the two-year biennium. The Legislature will adopt the House’s plan for FY 2019, and the following year it will then be the Senate’s turn. The two sides passed the general government appropriations budget on Saturday morning, March 10, but went late into the evening debating K-12 spending reductions and state capital construction projects.
The Legislative Policy Committee (PC) held its final meeting on Monday, February 26th, to review and discuss the 37 proposed bills on the WTA Budget Session Tracking Sheet accompanying this report. Below is a quick review of the major bills that WTA was following.
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:
At the close of week three of the 64th Legislative Budget Session, a total of 126 of 330 House Bills and Senate Files were dead, while 63 Senate Files and 46 House Bills had passed third reading in the body of origin and were being heard in the other chamber. The senate elected to suspend rules and extend the deadline for bills to come out of committee in their second house until Tuesday, March 6.
Both houses worked vigorously during the week trying to resolve differences on their respective versions of the 2019-2020 budget bills. Currently, both chambers are proposing a $2.9 billion appropriation for the next biennium, with the spread between the two houses widening, from a week ago, to the currently profiled at $26.2 million .
63rd Wyoming Legislature