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Gordon vetoes state crypto coin, allows redistricting to pass without signature, in final bill actions Friday

Governor Mark Gordon gives his state of the state address during the 2022 Wyoming State Legislature's joint session. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — Governor Mark Gordon took action on the final bills of the 2022 legislative session on Friday, March 25, according to a release from his office.

Gordon signed two bills, exercised his veto authority on three bills, and allowed two bills to go into law without his signature.

The Governor signed the following bills into law Friday:

  • HB0063 County and district attorneys – salary amendments.
  • HB0091 County officers – salaries.

County attorney salaries have been amended from $94,500 annually to “not less than $100,000.” This bill, as well as HB0091, amends the cap on salaries for county officers has been amended from parity with a district attorney to parity with a circuit court judge.

Gordon vetoed the following bills:

  • SF0106 Wyoming stable token act.
  • SF0055 Insurance sandbox.
  • HB0137 State land exchanges – public not.

The Wyoming stable token out would have authorized the state treasurer to issue a “stablecoin,” cryptocurrency token pegged to the value of the U.S. Dollar. 

In a letter to Secretary of State Ed Buchannan, Gordon acknowledged the act had “good ideas” and was in keeping with Wyoming’s foray into cryptocurrency — in 2020 Wyoming became the first U.S. state to approve a banking charter for an institution handling digital assets. However, Gordon said there had been not been enough time to consider the implications of the act, and that already overburdened state treasurers might be ill-equipped to handle it. 

Gordon said Wyoming also needed more information technology staff dedicated to the security and dispensation of the technology, and a greater legal assessment of the currency’s use in the currently murky regulatory environment.

Without these considerations in place, “our foray into a Wyoming cryptocurrency enjoys a preternatural level of risk with a correspondingly uncertain reward,” Gordon wrote.

SF0055 would have allowed for the creation of “innovative insurance product[s] or service[s] available to consumers during a sandbox period through a waiver of existing statutory and rule requirements.”

According to Forbes, regulatory sandboxes “temporarily relieve businesses of various regulatory burdens and associated costs while they work to bring new services, products, and business models to market.”

In granting authority to the state Insurance Commissioner to waive certain regulations, Gordon worried that future holders of the office might allow for the creation of insurance products that would be damaging to consumers.

“We must never lose sight of the dynamic tension between an individual’s responsibility to care for themselves as they can and our responsibility to protect the consumer from potentially unscrupulous behavior in any statutory change,” Gordon wrote.

Gordon encouraged lawmakers to “rework the bill with an eye towards limiting the statutes that can be waived to maintain consumer protections.”

The Governor allowed the following bills to go into law without his signature:

  • HB0096 State officials salary.
  • HB0100 Redistricting of the legislature.

In a letter to Buchannan, Gordon wrote that he was “not excited” about the increase in the salaries for state elected offices, including his own, and was allowing it to pass without his signature. He noted that salaries for these offices have not increased since 2002.

Gordon also noted “there is nonetheless a need for these salaries to increase from time to time,” including to consider the costs of relocating to, and living, in Cheyenne, as well as the need to attract people qualified for the positions.

Of the final redistricting bill, Gordon wrote “the final legislation was amended in the waning hours of the legislative session to a version that apparently establishes some districts that appear to exceed presumptively acceptable deviation limits.”