A whole lot of legislating

Bob Bonnar

The general session of the State of Wyoming’s 65th Legislature began on January 8, and in addition to all of the excitement over the swearing in of the state’s first new governor in eight years and a slew of other newly-minted elected officials taking their positions, lawmakers hurriedly began getting their bills on file.

Although the deadlines for submitting bills to the Legislative Service Office for introduction is still more than a week away (January 24 in the Senate and January 29 in the House) there are already a total of 178 bills and resolutions on file in the House and an additional 102 in the Senate as of this Tuesday.

Those numbers don’t include a supplemental budget bill that will dominate much of legislator’s time, or the dozens of other bills that will be filed before deadlines start kicking in next week.

Considering that the legislature only intends to meet for 35 days this year, it is likely that many of these bills will be defeated in short order, and you won’t get a lot of chance to read about them — here or anywhere else.

That isn’t to say that there isn’t merit in some of the bills that “won’t see the light of day,” and we hope our readers will take advantage of efforts made to improve the transparency of the legislature in recent years by logging onto the website at www.wyoleg.gov and taking a look at the bills that have been offered, even if they don’t really get considered. 

You can also use the site to access the calendar for legislative meetings, to sign up for emailed updates, and even to contact your legislator or one from another part of the state. There is also streaming audio of the floor sessions in both the House and Senate so you can listen live to debates, and an online hotline you can use to suggest that your legislator  support or oppose specific bills.

We will carry our own updates from local legislators as bills that will have the most significant impacts on Weston County come across their desks, and the News Letter Journal Online will offer additional legislative coverage through the Wyoming News Exchange, but the legislature’s website really does allow you to go “right to the source” and we encourage you to use it throughout the session to participate in state government at a level that simply did not exist just a few years ago.


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