Interim topics released for 2019
Each year, members of the Wyoming Legislature assigned to various committees travel throughout the state to gather input, learn more and understand the complexity around issues facing Wyoming.
This year, members of the Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee will focus on six priorities that impact the agriculture in the state.
Rep. Hans Hunt of Newcastle, who serves as co-chairman of the joint interim committee, noted the Wyoming Legislature worked to target issues that impact Wyomingites where the Legislature can also attempt to address challenges.
College of Agriculture
As their top priority, the committee will review the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming and the current degree programs offered by the college. The committee will also review the Extension and Research Stations associated with the college.
“This issue has been brought to our attention over the last several months and since the beginning of the year,” explains Hunt. “We wanted to take a look at the programs offered by the College of Agriculture and see how effective they are.”
Programs like rangeland management have been very successful in the past, according to several legislators, but their perspective was that the programs seem to not attract Wyoming students.
“The recent challenges at the College of Ag also tieright in,” Hunt adds.
The second priority relates to invasive species, with the goal of giving the state more control and more “muscle” to prevent invasive species from being brought into the state.
The committee will review efforts to inspect and control foreign goods moving through Wyoming that may harbor invasive species.
This topic will include a review of the current Wyoming procedures related to invasive species and a review of methods used in other states.
“Last summer, I had the chance to fly over the Sheridan area and see the damages as a result of medusahead and ventenata,” Hunt says. “It’s becoming a problem in that area, to the point that we have an economic impact on grazing and production.”
Three topics related to state lands will be explored this year, including a review of the appraisal process for state lands and issues related to the potential of exchanging isolated school parcels. Finally, the topic of developing a program to exchange landlocked trust lands will be included.
The work related to state lands continues 2018’s state lands conversations, as well as addresses appraisal of state lands to alleviate challenges.
In addition, the committee will review the operation of the existing commodity boards in Wyoming including the Wyoming Beef Council, the Wheat Marketing Commission and the Bean Commission. The review will include the history and current duties of the entities and opportunities for efficiencies within the entities and the Wyoming Business Council.
As their fifth priority, the committee will review the operations and funding of the Animal Damage Management Board(ADMB). The review will include the interactions of the Board with the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, counties and federal-state cooperative programs.
“Gov. Gordon brought forward an increase for ADMB in his budget request, so we thought it would be worth our time to look into,” Hunt says. “The program took a significant cut several years ago, and we thought it might be a good time to see if we needed to add funding to the program.”
Finally, the committee will receive updates and reports from executive branch agencies under its jurisdiction, including the Department of Agriculture and the Office of State Lands and Investments.
Also related to the agriculture industry, the Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee will look at the impacts of Chronic Wasting Disease and Aquatic Invasive Species.
“Public input in the legislative process is always encouraged,” Hunt says. “We conduct these meetings around the state to interface with the public more.”
Public comment periods are held during each of the meetings, and Hunt encourages members of the public to provide input, learn about the issues and meet their legislators.
Interim committee meetings will be held in Sheridan in June and Laramie in September this year, and updates on meeting time and location will be provided in the future. A third meeting will be held in October or November, with the location to be determined.
For a complete list of the 2019 Wyoming Legislature Interim Committee Topics, visit wyoleg.gov.