THE SITUATION

The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee (JAC) is crafting the proposed state budget that the full Legislature will consider next month during its 2024 session.

The JAC will decide, among other things, how much funding to propose for the Wyoming Department of Health for critical programs like Medicaid postpartum coverage (“Medicaid for Moms”), the “988” suicide hotline, community mental health centers, and more.

Unfortunately, Governor Mark Gordon has recommended that the Department of Health receive $20 million less than what the agency requested to run these programs, even though Wyoming has a $500 million budget surplus and the Governor’s recommendation would mean cutting services for seniors, mental health, and more.

A group of Better Wyoming organizers and volunteer leaders will give public comment before the JAC on Friday, January 12, asking the committee to fully fund the Department of Health’s request, over and above the Governor’s recommendation.

We need YOU to email the JAC to make sure they know that the people of Wyoming want their tax dollars put to work on behalf of healthcare access.

Read this article for more background information

HELPFUL TIPS FOR WRITING THE JOINT APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

IMPORTANT:

  • You’ll write your message in the text box on Step 2, where it says “Personalize your message.”
  • Your message will be sent individually to each member of the Joint Appropriations Committee.
  • Don’t click the “Send message” button until you write your message.
  • REMEMBER TO DELETE THE TEXT THAT SAYS “[DELETE THIS TEXT AND INSERT YOUR MESSAGE HERE]”

Have questions? Check out this video tutorial about using Better Wyoming forms to email legislators.

YOUR MESSAGE SHOULD HAVE THREE SHORT PARTS:

1. Say who you are.

Make sure to tell them that you’re a Wyoming voter.

My name is ____. I’m a Wyoming voter from _______.

2. Say what you want.

I’m writing today to ask you to fully fund the Wyoming Department of Health’s budget request, over and above the governor’s recommendation.

3. Say why you want it.

[This is where you can add a sentence or two about why this is important to you. See talking points below.]

PRO TIPS

KEEP IT BRIEF: Lawmakers get tons of emails. If you write them a novel, they’re not going to read it.

CHANGE THE MESSAGE SUBJECT: This will let them know your email is not spam.

**BE POLITE**: In 2024, lawmakers have been yelled at enough that they will simply ignore you if they feel like you’re being rude. You don’t have to grovel, but no matter how frustrated you might feel about the Legislature’s actions, your message will not help advance our goal of increased healthcare access if lawmakers write you off as disrespectful.

TALKING POINTS

Read the Better Wyoming healthcare messaging guide

Maybe mention a few of these things in your message:

  • Wyomingites struggle with affordability, a lack of providers, a lack of mental health resources, and the long distances often required to access care. Denying funding to the Department of Health will only make these issues worse.  
  • Wyoming put a record $1.4 billion into savings last year and has a budget surplus this year. There is no fiscal reason to deny the Department of Health’s funding request.  
  • The governor’s recommendation would mean cuts to senior services, mental health, long-term facilities, and disabilities services. 
  • More than 90 percent of the Department of Health’s budget is passed through to local communities. Our communities need that funding.
  • We need Department of Health programs to be fully funded, including the “988” suicide hotline, postpartum Medicaid coverage, community mental health centers, and workforce development programs to help our provider shortage.

Tell lawmakers:

FULLY FUND OUR DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH!