SESSION RECAP: Increasingly conservative Legislature passes first anti-abortion bills in decades, though largely defanged by amendments

March 29, 2017

“Pro-life” Republican lawmakers in Wyoming tried to create two new state laws to put women and doctors in jail if they violated the far-right’s extremist agenda on abortion.

Fortunately, those two bills failed. That’s the good news.

On the bad news side of the ledger, the GOP passed two new […]

SESSION RECAP: For gay rights in Wyoming, nothing got better, but nothing got worse

March 24, 2017

Gay rights advocates helped stir up enough opposition to defeat two terrible bills during the legislative session that would have legally protected blatant discrimination against Wyoming’s LGBT population. However, a bill to protect gay workers from being fired or paid less for their sexual identity died.

The deservedly maligned […]

SESSION RECAP: On public lands, the action took place before the session began

March 21, 2017

Better Wyoming didn’t report on public lands issues this legislative session, not because we don’t care about public lands—in fact, they’re among the things we care about most. It was because the lion’s share of the action was finished before the session even started.

And there was no shortage […]

SESSION RECAP: Lawmakers’ prefabricated ‘think tank’ bills are useless to Wyoming

March 13, 2017

Imagine you’re a state legislator. So it’s up to you to propose laws that will make Wyoming a better place. How to you figure out which laws to propose?

One way might be to speak with your constituents about issues that are affecting their lives. You might find out […]

SESSION RECAP: A marijuana reform bill is a terrible thing to waste

March 9, 2017

There was a time when introducing a marijuana bill in the Wyoming Legislature was a totally futile act. Legalization? Forget it. Ditto decriminalization and medical marijuana.

Legalization of recreational marijuana is still a non-starter, but in recent years some bills to reduce Wyoming’s harsh sentences for pot have made […]

SESSION RECAP: Lawmakers opted to tackle 10 percent of Wyoming’s education funding crisis and solve the other 90 percent … sometime later

March 7, 2017

How many ways did the Legislature fail Wyoming’s public education system during its recent session?

It’s difficult to count them all, but here are two of the most important:

First, lawmakers—specifically Republicans in the state Senate—were unwilling to increase taxes to raise money so schools could have a steady stream […]

Senate Says ‘Welcome Back’ to Nonviolent Felons by Restoring Voter Rights

March 3, 2017

It took him three tries and a lot of work, but Rep. James Byrd (D-Cheyenne) has finally passed a bill to automatically restore voting rights to nonviolent felons released from prison.

Asked what made the proposal successful this session, Byrd replied, “Different people being elected who understand that not […]

Critics say new ENDOW program endows the state with more bureaucracy, waste, and old thinking

March 2, 2017

Just in the nick of time to save our economy, state lawmakers have provided Wyoming a brand spanking new acronym: ENDOW.

It stands for “Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming” (grammar check, anyone?). And who can argue that the state doesn’t need economic diversity? For decades our officials have […]

Wyoming Legislature poised to pass first anti-abortion bills since 1989

February 28, 2017

The Wyoming Legislature hasn’t passed an anti-abortion bill since 1989, when lawmakers decided to require parental consent and a 48-hour waiting period for minors. Each time “right to life” advocates have brought a proposal since then, pro-choice activists haven’t let them get very far.

But it appears that record […]