Legislators take a breather before interim meetings begin

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SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Legislature completed its 2017 general session earlier this month and will move into the interim period within the next two months. Although legislators will not be spending hours on the Senate and House floors deliberating bills, committees will meet periodically throughout the rest of the year for joint committee meetings in preparation for the budget session in 2018.

The full list of topics for each interim committee will be published on the Wyoming Legislative website March 20. The list outlines topics as well as lists the standard budget for each committee.

While the entirety of interim committee topics will publish Monday, members of the Joint Judiciary Interim Committee members received a draft of the topics to be discussed in their three sets of two-day meetings. Top priorities for the committee include reviewing stalking penalties, domestic violence, sexual assaults, restraining orders, family violence, review of probation and parole programs and evidence-based pre-trial release policies.

Sen. Dave Kinskey, R., Sheridan, said he had reservations about the 2017 criminal justice reform bill that included alternatives to incarceration.

“I’ve heard from county attorneys and prosecutors their concerns that a lot of the programs that need to be in place at the local level and within the Department of Probation and Parole are not there,” Kinskey told The Sheridan Press.

Kinskey said the interim committee looks to take a holistic view at the topics on the list. He said oftentimes with the judiciary interim committee, they will receive a horror story and try to rush a bill onto the floor before it is ready. By slowing down the process, receiving feedback from necessary entities such as nationally-active attorneys like Sheridan County Attorney Matt Redle, and taking a complete and critical look at the topic items, more complete bills will hit the legislative floors. 

The capitol building rehabilitation and restoration oversight group will meet monthly, starting with its first meeting on April 5 at 2 p.m. in Cheyenne. The team will organize for the 2017-2018 biennium, discuss design issues and consider potential change items.

Meetings scheduled throughout the year will touch on agriculture, revenue, retirement systems, tribal relations, transportation, highways, military affairs, education, school facilities, energy, minerals, business and economic development for the Cowboy State.

Although Rep. Mark Kinner, R-Sheridan, did not yet receive the topics for the education or revenue committees he sits on, he said the Recalibration Committee made up of 10 members — five from the House and five from the Senate — will be key.

“They will look at the funding model for schools,” Kinner said. “That’s going to be one of the more critical ones going on this summer.”

He said the topics covered in the revenue interim committee will also be important to watch.

“We’re going to be looking at possible revenues for the state, so that’s going to be another critical one,” Kinner said.

Topic lists will be available starting March 20 on the 2017 Committees & Interim Activities page on the Wyoming Legislature website, legisweb.state.wy.us.

By |March 18th, 2017|

About the Author:

Ashleigh Fox joined The Sheridan Press in October 2016 as the government, cops and courts reporter. She is a native of Colorado and graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles, CA. Before working in Sheridan, she worked as a sports editor for the Sidney Herald in Sidney, MT. Email Ashleigh at: ashleigh.fox@thesheridanpress.com