Wyoming Legislature granting limited media access to Capitol during COVID-19 special session - Casper, WY Oil City News
Oil City News Logo

Wyoming Legislature granting limited media access to Capitol during COVID-19 special session

Wyoming State Capitol (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Legislature will be holding a special session May 15-16 in response to COVID-19 impacts on the state. The legislaute will discuss the emergency appropriation of $1.25 billion in federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding which has been received by Wyoming.

It will be the first time the legislature has held a special session since 2004.

WyoFile had reported on May 8 that no public or media access to the Wyoming Capitol would be allowed during the session, but the Legislative Service Office said on Monday, May 11 that members of the media may be granted limited access.

Article continues below...

“Due to social distancing guidelines, media members granted access to the Capitol Complex will be required to observe proceedings from the third-floor galleries and sit in designated seat locations,” the LSO said. “Media will be able to take photographs from their designated seats. Media members will not have the ability to send lobby notes to legislators that may be seated on the floor or take photographs from the second floor side hallways.”

“There will be a designated interview area in the Capitol Complex where legislators who wish to speak to media members can be interviewed while maintaining appropriate social distancing.  If more applications are received than can be safely accommodated, a lottery will be held.”

The LSO says that they expect only a small number of legislators to participate from the Capitol as they have been encouraged to participate virtually using the Zoom platform. While the Capitol building will be closed to the public, the meetings will be streamed on Youtube.

The special session will be held after Governor Mark Gordon issued a proclamation on May 7.

“The special session will start on Friday, May 15 at 8:00 a.m. and resume the following day, Saturday, May 16 at 8:00 a.m., if the business of the Legislature has not concluded,” the LSO says. “The purpose of the special session is to address immediate needs of the state due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Legislature will also direct funds appropriated in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”

Proposed legislation for the session can be found on the LSO website here. Proposed rules for the House of Representatives and Senate can be found here.

The public can provide comment on the proposed legislation before and during the special session at this online hotline.

The Latest Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Health:

What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.

If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.

Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.

For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: covid@cnchd.org

  • Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.