CASPER, Wyo. — Governor Mark Gordon took action on three bills on Tuesday, March 22, according to a release from the governor’s office. The Governor signed the following bills into law today:
HB0002: Disposition of water rights. “This was an important piece of legislation,” Select Water Committee Chairman Evan Simpson (R-Afton) told Oil City Tuesday. Simpson explained that the bill requires developers who are subdividing land to submit plans for the existing water rights therein to the state engineering office for approval before the county or municipality approves the final subdivision plat.
Without those plans, landowners are often unaware of the existing water rights, and if they are not used for seven years, they can become “orphaned” and may be claimed by those downstream.
“It happens all the time,” Simpson said.
Municipalities or other entities could make ready use of those water rights if notice of their disposition were required to be given (as the bill requires). Simpson added that it is very difficult to those entities to claim the rights once they have been abandoned.
SF0009: Revenue bonds for agricultural endeavors. This bill authorizes the Wyoming Business Council to issue and hold outstanding bonds “to finance, construct, develop, maintain or operate agriculture processing projects for international revenue bonds as specified for agriculture processing projects.”
SF0086: Wildfires one-call amendment. The bill requires that firefighters give notice “as soon as practical” when undertaking emergency excavations to combat wildfires and “exempt[s] emergency excavations from liability for damages or injuries.”