The fourth week for the legislative session ended Friday. Much of the week was dedicated to supplemental budget appropriations bills. Both houses spent a couple of long days and nights working through their versions, ending up roughly $70 million apart. There were a variety of amendments to the budget that were considered in both the house and senate budget discussions.
House passed amendments
Senate passed amendments
February 1 was the final day for bills to be reported out of committee in their respective houses of origin, meaning many of the House Bills, Senate Files and Resolutions will not be considered any further this legislative session. Monday, February 4 was the final day for bills to be heard by the Committee of the Whole in their house of origin. Tuesday, February 5 and Wednesday, February 6 are the final days for second and third readings, respectively.
Senate File 43, which passed the Senate on January 16 and has been sent to the House Committee for Education, is the Hathaway Scholarship Eligibility Act, supported by the Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce. The Hathaway Scholarship bill would help raise awareness for Career and Technical Education. Governor Mark Gordon signed a proclamation for Career and Technical Education on Monday.
House Bill 93 would create a tourism improvement district (TID). An assessment is placed on tourism businesses within a designated geographic area and the funds raised through the assessment are used for specific tourism marketing purposes. The bill will be written as enabling legislation, meaning that it allows for the conversation about Tourism Improvement Districts in your communities but it does not create or mandate anyone to utilize a TID. That bill passed the House on February 1 and was introduced to the Senate, then referred to the Senate Committee for Corporations on Tuesday, February 5.
Bills that have died:
House Bill 67, the Sales Tax Revision bill that would have removed the sales tax exemption on home-prepared foods, data centers and manufacturing, and reduced the state sales tax to 3.5%. The Wyoming Taxpayer's Association opposed this bill.
House Bill 72, Wage Transparency, that would have prohibited employers from barring employees from disclosing wage information and would have prohibited employers from requiring employees to waive wage disclosure rights.
House Bill 167, the severance tax reduction on coal, has been postponed indefinitely. It was introduced by Gillette Representative Hallinan and supported by Represenatives Clem and Edwards.
The 2019 general session is scheduled to run through Wednesday, February 27, 2019, with five additional days available if needed.
As of today there are 499 bills and resolutions listed on the Wyoming Legislature website. The total expected bill load was 500. Bills can be found here.
A number of these bills could impact economic development and diversification. It is more important now than ever to promote our economy at both the state and local level by letting represenatives know your thoughts on legislation currently being discussed. You can use the "comments" section of any bill to have your voice heard on these initiatives. You can also contact a legislator to leave a message by calling the Senate receptionist at 307-777-7711 or the House receptionist at 307-777-7852.
Tuesday, January 29 was the last day for House Bills to be submitted for introduction. Tomorrow, Friday, February 1, is the last day for Bills to be reported out of Committee in their house of origin.
Tuesday, February 4 will be the last day for a Second Reading on legislation in their house of origin, and February 6 will be the last day for a Third Reading.
A lot will be happening in the upcoming weeks. We will be following bills of interest, as well as those of interest to the Wyoming Economic Development Association (WEDA) and the Wyoming Taxpayer's Association (WTA).
From WEDA, a Wyoming Business Council JAC Update:
"During the Joint Appropriations Committee supplemental budget discussions last week there was significant action taken on the Wyoming Business Councils administrative and business ready community accounts. Please see below for a summary. We will be monitoring the floor discussion very closely to ensure no cuts are made to the Wyoming Business Council.
$100k from WBC for international agriculture marketing in the "south rim." Legislature wants to continue relationship and be sure that Mainland China is included since they're the largest import market in the world.
$250k in operations and $2mm from BRC shall not be expended until further legislative authorization. Requires WBC to report by 11/1/19 on other ED activities in other agencies. Not intended to be punitive - Their perception is that there is a lot economic development related funds committed through various programs and their legislature wants a report detailing everything so that funds are being used in an efficient manner.
$250k from BRC to local economic developers with matching funds for aerospace manufacturing projects
$3 million from broadband account (created through endow last year) to BRC account earmarked for rural underserved broadband areas"
Bills we are following:
House Bill 66, the Statewide Lodging Tax, passed the House by a vote of 44-16, and was introduced to the Senate on January 22. Senate File 42, the Hathaway Scholarship Eligibility bill, also has not seen movement since passing the Senate on January 22.
A bill being opposed by WEDA and the WTA, House Bill 67, would remove the sales tax exemption on home-prepared foods, data centers, and manufacturing. It has not moved from the House Appropriations committee since January 15. The last day for it to be sent out of committee would be Friday, February 1. The Sales Tax Revisions bill would reduce the state sales tax to 3.5% and would create a tax on most services.
A bill being monitored by the WTA, House Bill 166, would increase the annual decal fee for a plug-in electric vehicle from $50 to $200; and would establish a $100 required decal for a hybrid electric vehicle. The change is projected to increase revenue from approximately $12,000 a year to a projected $140,900 a year. That bill passed its second reading in the House this morning. It is Co-Sponsored by Senator Ogden Driskill.
House Bill 96, an 80% tax increase on wind energy production, was not introduced to the House. A similar bill, House Bill 239, would have increased the tax on wind energy production 75%. It was sponsored by Gillette's Representative Edwards and also failed to be introduced in the House. House Bill 260 would have increased tax on wind energy production by 80%, but incrementally over a period of 5 years. That bill also was not introduced to the House.
House Bill 167 relates to the severance tax rate on surface coal, it would reduce the tax rate from 7% to 6.5%. The Wyoming Taxpayer's Association is monitoring this bill, which was referred to the Revenue committe on January 18.
Governor-Elect Mark Gordon was sworn in this past week and delivered his first State of the State Address on Wednesday. In his remarks, he laid out his general priorities.
The legislative session has kicked off and is underway. As of this writing, 226 bills have been filed, and the Wyoming State Chamber expects many more. One of the bills we are tracking has moved very fast this week. SF0043, which add a career-vocational pathway to Hathaway Scholarship eligibility passed 2nd Reading in the Senate on Friday.
Other bills being tracked:
Prepared by: Charlene Murdock, Executive Director
Campbell County Chamber of Commerce
The Wyoming Legislature is in full swing, having concluded two weeks of work on the state's business. At this time just over 350 bills and resolutions have been filed for consideration.
There are a number of issues we are following, as outlined in the bill tracking report below. A few measures that are worthy of mentioning:
Governor’s State of the State Address:
The Honorable Governor Matthew H. Mead addressed the Wyoming Legislature on January 11, 2017, to kick off the 64th legislative session. His address conveyed a tone of optimism for how well the state has managed so far during the economic downturn, along with prompting for the Legislature to address budget shortfalls in a prudent and responsible fashion and to maintain an attitude of progressive investment in economic diversification measures.
The Governor reported that the State of Wyoming, although facing challenging times of lower revenues, remains strong. The state has $1.59 billion in the Legislative Stabilization and Reserve Account (LSRA), the state’s rainy day fund; and another $7.4 billion in the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund, an in volatile fund that generates considerable income to the state via interest.
You can find a synopsis of the Governor’s State of the State Address here.
Listen to the State of the State audio here:
Link to a written copy of the State of the State address here:
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.
63rd Wyoming Legislature