Final week of budget session proves grueling as budget is finalized
During the last week of the 2016 Budget Session of the Wyoming Legislature, Wyoming 90 citizen legislators put the finishing touches on a number of bills before sending them to the desk of Governor Matt Mead.
This session, the legislature tacked tough issues ranging from trespass to species concerns and water use to funding mechanisms. The session was dominated by talk of the state’s budget.
A Casper Star Tribune article noted that at the end of the 73-page appropriations bill, the Wyoming Legislature has asked agencies to submit cuts totaling five percent, based on recommendations submitted by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead on Dec. 1.
The bill also cuts agencies by 1.5 percent over the next biennium to account for an anticipated reduction of $477 million in oil, gas and coal revenue over the next two years.
Mead signed the budget bill on March 3.
However, he exercised his right to line item budget and expressed disappointment in the legislature.
“During times of declining revenue, we must make hard choices. It is in these times that our work is most significant,” Mead said. “In my view the Legislature missed a critical opportunity this session to move forward with Medicaid expansion. As a result an additional $30 million needed to be cut from the budget. Needless to say, I am disappointed in this missed opportunity for Wyoming and Wyoming citizens.”
At the end of the week, the Legislature’s Management Council also discussed interim topics for the 2016 interim committees to discuss.
On March 4, Rep. Gerald Gay and Rep. Karl Allred filed a lawsuit against Gov. Matt Mead, Attorney General Peter Michael and legislative leadership over the contracts in the Capitol reconstruction projects.
Lawmakers named in the suit include Sens. Phil Nicholas, Eli Bebout, Chris Rothfuss and Tony Ross and Reps. Kermit Brown, Rosie Berger, Mary Throne and Tim Stubson.
The legislators identified in the suit are members of the Capitol reconstruction project.
Look forward to next week’s Roundup, which will overview the highlights from the 2016 Budget Session in more detail.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.