Subdivision, CO2 bills make rapid progress
Casper – Bills relating to carbon sequestration and the state’s large acre subdivision laws made rapid progress at the Wyoming Legislature this week.
SF11, which could allow counties the option of regulating divisions of land up to 140 acres, earned the two-thirds vote for introduction on opening day. By Wednesday it had made its way back to the Senate floor where it passed first reading in a 20 to 10 vote on Feb. 13. The legislation would also require that the county courthouse be notified when properties are sold contract for deed. In his State of the State Address Governor Freudenthal expressed his support for the legislation noting it’s important for subdivisions to cover their own costs and not become a tax burden.
Two pieces of legislation relating to carbon capture, HB89 and HB90, passed first reading on Feb. 13. Important to the agricultural community in this legislation is establishment of pore ownership with the landowner. These bills also earned the mention and support of Freudenthal during his Feb. 11 speech to legislators.
Wyoming Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Ken Hamilton says his organization’s key goals relating to the bills were established early on when ownership was placed with the landowner and eminent domain authority was omitted.
According to Wyoming Wool Growers Executive Vice President Bryce Reece, a bill sponsored by Representative Sue Wallis (R-Recluse) that would have prohibited Wyoming’s involvement in the National Animal Identification System failed on introduction. He says he wouldn’t mind seeing the legislature consider a joint resolution outlining the state’s concerns with the program and the manner in which it’s been handled by the USDA.
Noting his concerns of potential impact on the scrapies program Reece says, “I share a lot of the frustration and the angst that Sue Wallis and some of the other producers have over this whole program that USDA is doing.” Reece says NAIS should be limited to animal health and ensure confidentiality of records.
HB55 requiring the licensing of water well drillers and pump installers passed first reading in the House on Feb. 13. The legislation is nearly identical to a bill passed a year ago, but vetoed by the Governor due to an error in the definitions section. That error has been fixed.
HB18, which would have granted rulemaking authority to the Wyoming State Engineer in specific areas, failed to get the two-thirds vote for introduction. HB4, prohibiting state agencies from holding federal grazing permits, also failed to earn the necessary votes for introduction.
“It seems like the House is killing a lot more bills on introduction than they have the past few years,” says Hamilton. Among them was the fuel tax increase. A bill to further monitor the use of dyed fuels raised some concern about the ability to transport dyed fuel to the field, but Hamilton says the concerns are being addressed. “Nobody had that intent,” he says.
Jennifer Womack is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.