Over 3,997,732 readers this year!

Wyoming bill seeks to provide $1,000 incentive payments to state employees for getting vaccinated against COVID-19

"UWPD Sgt. Chad Bade receives the COVID-19 vaccine from Ryan Kiser, Albany County Public Health nurse manager, at UW’s Mountain View Medical Park building." (UW Photo)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming has the second lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country, according to the Mayo Clinic’s vaccine tracker. 43.5% of people in Wyoming are fully vaccinated, the lowest rate in the country with the exception of West Virginia, where 41% of people are fully vaccinated.

The Wyoming Legislature is preparing to hold a special session on Tuesday that is expected to mainly focus on limiting or prohibiting vaccine mandates in the state. However, some other legislation is being proposed for the special session, including a proposal to provide incentive pay to state employees for getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

House Bill 1015 and its mirror bill in the Senate propose providing $1,000 incentive pay to state employees who have already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who get fully vaccinated by December 31, 2021.

The bill would appropriate $14,720,000 in American Rescue Plan Act dollars allocated to the state toward the vaccine incentive payments. That amount would be needed if 100% of state employees were to get vaccinated by December 31.

$9 million would be for executive branch employees, $3,150,000 would go toward payments to University of Wyoming employees, $2,150,000 would go toward community college employees, $370,000 would go toward judicial branch employees and $50,000 would be to cover payments to legislative branch employees, according to the Legislative Service Office.

Elected officials would not be eligible to receive the incentive payments.

The proposed legislation is being sponsored by Rep. Trey Sherwood (Albany County) and Sen. Mike Gierau (Teton).

Heading into the special session, Wyoming is seeing the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita and the third highest transmission rate per capita over the past seven days, according to CDC data.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.