The Voice of the Community Since 1909, Serving Moorcroft and Pine Haven, Wyoming

From the Desk of House Majority Floor Leader Chip Neiman

The end is in sight as we conclude the sixth week of the 2023 Legislative Session. This week, budget negotiations were finalized by members of the House and Senate, and we continue to debate many bills with important impacts on Wyoming.

As always, as discussions on legislation continue, my thoughts are on what a bill’s outcomes will mean for House District 1. Here are some notable measures that are moving through the legislative process:

Budget bill

Although I am pleased with the savings found in the supplemental budget bill, I believe $400 million slated for spending is too much. This gets us back to previous spending levels that we worked so hard to reduce in the past years. I voted no on the final bill Thursday. The supplemental budget is currently being reviewed by the Governor.

HB0103, more widely known as the “crossover bill,” would stop residents from changing party affiliation or canceling their voter registration any time after the nomination period opens for candidates. Moving the timeframe back should help ensure voters are voting with their party instead switching and gaming the system. The bill easily passed the House 51-9 but got held up in the Senate Corporations Committee, where it died. The Senate was able to use a procedural rule to bring back the bill and it is now working its way through the process. I am hopeful for this bill’s passage.

HB0070 removes restrictions currently in statute that only permit home-based education to be provided by a child’s parent or legal guardian. I sponsored this bill, which will allow more than one family unit to work together to provide home-based education. I have heard a lot of good feedback from families who agree that this measure will lead to a richer experience for home-schooled students and provide more tools to advance their education. This bill was passed by the House and Senate and is on the way to the Governor’s desk.

HB0152 is a pro-life bill that passed out of the House with a trigger amendment. This bill was drafted in response to some of the legal concerns that arose with the abortion “trigger” ban bill that passed the Legislature last year. The trigger ban law is currently being challenged in court. My fellow bill co-sponsors and I worked closely with pro-life lawyers to craft the language of HB152 to address the court’s concerns. Legal concern also exists over the current exemption for abortions related to rape and incest and that is why HB152 removes this exemption. An amendment was placed on the bill that would only allow this legislation to go into effect if the abortion “trigger” ban is found unconstitutional. I did not vote in favor of this amendment; I believe we need HB152 now to answer the court’s questions. I was pleased to see this bill pass the House with a strong vote of 46-16, but unfortunately, this bill has stalled in the Senate. I, and others, have met with Senate President Driskill to answer any questions he has about the bill. I am hopeful the bill will be heard and assigned to committee early next week.

SF43 would set up another mechanism to tax Wyoming residents to pay for additional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) districts. Communities already have the ability to fund EMS services and I have concerns about special districts that result in more taxes. I voted against this legislation due to these concerns.

It is my privilege to serve you as I continue to fight to ensure Wyoming remains the best place on earth. Please email me at [email protected] with your views, questions or concerns about bills being debated during this session.

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