One of the most exciting times of the year is upon us for the next 23 days — the 2020 Wyoming Legislative Session began Monday, opening with the State of the State address given by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.

The entire newsroom, including our publisher, watched as optimistic words about the state of Wyoming’s economy followed the excitement of introducing special guests in the audience of the House of Representatives in the newly-renovated Wyoming State Capitol building.

While the State of the State always proves interesting, it is what follows that excites me the most. The lengthy list of bills attached to the daily schedules for the state House and Senate chambers always brings a host of great conversation starters, story ideas and, best of all, opportunities to check in on entities needing a facelift, recharge or update in our state government.

When I say lengthy, I mean it’s a truly hefty list! Usually during a budget session — which this year is for Wyoming’s biennium schedule — officials warn of the potential for bills to be scrapped quickly because the primo focus is the budget and having both sides of the Legislature agree before the quick 24-day time frame runs out.

But, if you look at today’s schedule in the House alone, you see 41 bills on the introduction consent voting list and 14 on the regular introduction vote. That means a lot of non-budget related bills will try to pass through the two branches, giving everyone involved a chance to separate the most important bills that may affect the functionalities of everyday life from those not making the cut or that may not be quite ready to pass through yet.

Topics close to the hearts of many are on the docket: firearm regulation, Mountain Daylight Time preservation, prescription tracking program rules, protection and privacy of online customer information and establishing a behavioral health services task force. These issues, and the 230 issues brought up in proposed bills, all have a place of importance in someone’s life.

What bills affect you? The Legislative Services Office creates easily digestible summaries for a majority of the bills. For those more dense bills, legislators, while busy, are accessible via email and telephone during the session to answer your questions as best they can.

The Sheridan Press and other media outlets are working hard to bridge the gaps between legislators and the public with concerns over certain proposed legislation. I encourage you to check out the list; find out what’s going to affect your life, whether mild or major; and reach out to me or one of our reporters to let us know what you want us to track for the upcoming session and how it affects you. Our lines are always open for letters to the editor, too!

Happy researching, and know your legislators — and we — are here to work for you this legislative session.