CASPER, Wyo. — From preventing ballot harvesting to prohibiting pornography in schools to criminalizing sexual relations between a police officer and a person in custody, lawmakers in Wyoming’s 67th Legislature introduced dozens of bills this week and considered others that have been making their rounds through committees.
The following is not an exhaustive list of bill activity this week in the Legislature, but features many bills that would impact a significant portion of Wyoming’s population. To track all bills in the Wyoming Legislature, click here.
- House Bill 0207: This bill would allow electors to change their major political party affiliation to another major party affiliation until 14 days before the primary or general election. It was introduced and referred to the House’s Corporations Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The bill’s sponsor is Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R).
- House Bill 0211: This bill aims to prevent ballot harvesting by only allowing a voter’s designated person to return two or fewer ballots for any election. Absentee ballots would need to be mailed to, hand-delivered to or deposited in a drop box provided by the county clerk. It would not apply to designated persons who are immediate family members of the voter. It was introduced and referred to the House’s Corporations Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jared Olsen (R).
- House Bill 0220: This bill would prohibit pornography in schools while specifying boards of trustees’ duties and the state’s Board of Education relating to such “sensitive materials.” The law would apply to public school districts and charter schools. It was introduced and referred to the House’s Education Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 25. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Ben Hornok (R).
- House Bill 0237: Known as the “Beer Freedom Act,” this bill would repeal the state excise tax on malt beverages. It was introduced in the House on Wednesday, Jan. 25. It is sponsored by Rep. Cyrus Western (R).
- House Bill 0239: This bill would decriminalize the act of leaving an idling car unattended. It was introduced on Wednesday, Jan. 25 by sponsor Rep. Daniel Signh (R) and was referred to the House’s Minerals Committee.
- House Bill 0241: This bill would make sexual relations with a person in police custody a criminal offense of second-degree sexual assault. HB0241 was referred to the House’s Judiciary Committee on Friday, Jan. 27. The bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Yin (D).
- House Bill 0250: This bill, known as the “Stop Red Flags Act,” would prohibit the enforcement of an extreme risk protection act. “Extreme risk protection order laws, or red flag laws, generally allow certain individuals (e.g., law enforcement officers or family members) to petition a court for a temporary order that prohibits an at-risk individual from purchasing and possessing firearms,” Congress.gov states. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mark Jennings (R), was introduced in the House on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
- House Bill 0256: Also introduced on Wednesday, Jan. 25, this bill seeks to create a property tax holiday for 2023. The holiday would reduce tax on property for industrial purposes by 16.67% and 33.33% for all other properties. It would also reduce by 16.67% the monthly payment on ad valorem tax on mineral production. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Tony Locke (R).
- House Bill 0274: This bill would prohibit discrimination by technology companies, specifically interactive computer services and social media platforms, based on a person’s viewpoint, race, religion or location. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ben Hornok (R), is known as the “Internet Freedom” act. It was received for introduction on Thursday, Jan. 26.
- House Bill 0280: This bill would criminalize bodily injury and property damage on account of specified protected classes. It is sponsored by Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R) and was received for introduction on Jan. 26.
- House Bill 0283: This bill would amend an exception to the offense of promoting obscenity relating to educational and library activities. It was referred to the House’s Education Committee on Friday, Jan. 27. It is sponsored by Rep. Christopher Knapp (R).
- Senate File 0144: This bill would prohibit physicians from performing gender-transitioning procedures on children and prohibit health insurance companies from providing coverage for such services. The bill was introduced on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and was referred to the Senate Labor, Health & Social Services Committee on Thursday, Jan. 26. It’s sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R).
- House Bill 0066: This bill would prohibit discrimination against a person’s vaccination status, face covering use or medical testing status. It passed a second reading in the House on Friday, Jan. 27. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jeanette Ward (R).
- House Bill 0111: This bill will add fentanyl to the list of controlled substances that qualify for a child endangerment offense, and it would strike language that excludes a prescription exception for child endangerment offenses. The bill passed the House on third reading Friday, Jan. 27. It is sponsored by Rep. Ember Oakley (R).
- House Bill 0147: This bill would criminalize posting signs that restrict access to or use of state or federal land where the lawful taking of any wildlife is permitted. The new section would not interfere with a landowner’s right to prevent criminal trespass on their private property. The bill on Friday, Jan. 27 received an 8–1 recommendation to pass from the House’s Travel Committee, and it was placed on the General File. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Karlee Provenza (D).
- Senate File 0135: This bill would repeal gun-free zones for governmental and legislative meetings and authorize the carrying of concealed weapons. On Thursday, Jan. 26, the bill was referred to the Senate’s revenue committee. It is sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R).
- Senate File 0136: This bill would lower property tax from 9.5% to 7.5% and passed its second reading in the House on Friday, Jan. 27. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Bo Biteman (R).