House gives early nod to Wyoming coal marketing program - Casper, WY Oil City News
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House gives early nod to Wyoming coal marketing program

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CASPER, Wyo. — With Wyoming’s coal industry facing challenges, one proposal is to provide funding to market the industry.

A bill that makes such a proposal will receive further consideration after the Wyoming House of Representatives voted on consent to have the bill sent to committee during their Monday, Feb. 10 floor session.

Monday’s session was the first floor session for the House during the 2020 budget session.

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During budget sessions, at least two-thirds of the House or Senate must approve a bill for introduction. These bills are referred to a committee who will vote on the legislation before it could return to the House for debate.

The house bill would create a Wyoming coal marketing program “to protect and expand Wyoming’s coal markets and coal facilities and to address impacts cities, towns and counties have experienced or will experience due to changes in the coal market.”

If the current version of the bill were to pass, $1 million from the state’s general fund would be appropriated for the “Wyoming Coal Marketing Program Account.”

The governor would be in charge of administering the marketing program.

Funds could only be expended for the following types of projects:

  •  Projects with a public benefit associated with expanding and protecting Wyoming’s coal markets and coal facilities
  • Projects that address impacts cities, towns and counties have experienced or will experience due to changes in the coal market

The state’s attorney general would have to provide a written opinion “certifying the legality of the transaction and all documents connected therewith” before the expenditure of any funds could be authorized.

The governor would be required to report to the Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Interim Committee by Oct. 1 of each year on any projects under the program.

In addition to the $1 million that would be added to the marketing account, donation and grants could also be added.

“The governor may accept, and shall deposit in the account, any gifts, contributions, donations, grants or federal funds specifically designated for the benefit of the Wyoming coal marketing program or any project funded under the program,” the proposed bill reads.

Committees which have been assigned bills will vote to “pass,” “do not pass” or “pass with amendments.”

Bills which make it out of committee then return to the full House for consideration. The House then must approve a bill on three readings before it is sent to the Senate.

If the Senate passes the bill with no amendments, the bill is sent to the governor’s desk for consideration. If they tack on amendments, then the bill is assigned to the Joint Conference Committee to reconcile differences.

If that committee can reach a consensus, the bill is sent to the governor who can sign or veto the bill. The House and Senate are able to override a veto with a two-thirds majority vote.