The Wyoming Legislature came to a halt on this past March 5, and they had accomplished quite a bit in the few days they were in session. As we all know, it was a budget session. With Wyoming’s revenue falling drastically, our legislators had their work cut out for them, and work they did.
If you haven’t been to Cheyenne to see the legislature while in session, you need to – and take all the youth in the family with you. It will be an education in civics, and you all will witness our state government in action and how one voice can make a difference. That one voice, with assistance from others who have Wyoming’s future as a priority, is what makes Wyoming special. That one voice may change many times during the day or gain other diverse voices as one message, but what is best for Wyoming is always the goal. The hard part is the journey getting to the goal, and the choice of which road to take to learn the will of the majority. At the end of the day, the Governor is asked to sign off on the decisions they make. The legislative process is a lesson on communicating, which is really what it is all about. One has to communicate to the Senate or House leadership to get their bills sent to committee, and then to committee chairs to get the bill out of committee with approval. Last, it’s a lesson in how to talk to the Senate or House as a whole to get the bill passed.
One has to communicate much more if their bill is going to cost the state some dollars, and then they get to meet the hardest workers in the legislature, the Appropriations Committee. The legislators who are part of the Joint Appropriations Committee are the work horses of the legislature, as they have been meeting regularly for close to a month before the session starts reviewing the Governor’s budget, spending for education, community colleges and the university, health care and state government.
The biggest battles seem to come from spending money, private rights and social issues. Those ox is getting gored most always bring raised voices. We are lucky, here in Wyoming. We don’t see the “spin” on issues like in Washington, D.C., but from time to time, we do see some of it. The criminal and civil trespass to collect data bills were results of spin on the original bills. Remember, some said it was illegal to take a picture of Old Faithful Geyser under the legislation and such as that. But the two bills passed thanks to some great lobbying by some.
This whole trespass issue needs to be brought up soon as the state’s trespass law is really out of date. Right now, they say that it is only trespassing if someone is on lands that were posted or if the landowner told them to leave the private lands and they didn’t. With GPS technology today, trespass laws should follow the hunter trespass, and it should be up to the person to know where they are. You know, trespass is trespass. You can’t be kind of trespassing, and any trespassing is against the law. The law needs to have enough teeth so that a judge can or will fine someone who is caught trespassing. But that is a bill for future sessions.
The next time you see any of your legislators, tell them thanks for their hard work. They deserve it.