WSGA provides update on legislative session
After a legislature recess on Jan. 23, House and Senate members convened on Jan. 26 to continue their work during the 67th Wyoming Legislature’s 2023 Session. Jan. 26 is the last day for Senate bill introductions and Jan. 31 is the last day for House bill introductions.
As of Jan. 23, several updates were provided by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) 2023 Legislative Session Bill Review and Status document.
House bill (HB) 16, State land leasing – improvements, increases the monetary threshold from $2,000 to $4,000 per section of each separate improvements, without first obtaining permission. The bill changes the valuation of improvements for reimbursement by a new lessee from “contributory value” to “depreciated value.”
As of Jan. 23, the House passed the third reading of this bill 60 with ayes, zero nays, two excused, zero absent and zero conflict. The WSGA strongly supports this bill. The bill was received for introduction in the Senate on Jan. 17.
HB 17, State lands – grazing of non-owned livestock, provides that prior approval and the sharing of “excess rentals” is not applicable to the grazing of non-owned livestock so long as the lessee retains full management and responsibility for the livestock.
As of Jan. 23, the House passed third reading of this bill with 60 ayes, zero nays, two excused, zero absent and zero conflict. The WSGA strongly supports this bill. The bill was received for introduction in the Senate on Jan. 17.
HB 41, Lightweight trailers – permanent registration, authorizes permanent registration of House trailers, semitrailers and utility trailers that are at least six years old upon payment of an administrative fee of $50 plus an amount equal to five times the normally applicable fees. The WSGA strongly supports this bill and reports the House passed the third reading of this bill with 61 ayes, zero nays, one excused, zero absents and zero conflicts.
As of Jan. 24, the bill has been received for introduction in the Senate.
HB 42, Off-road recreational vehicle operation, prohibits the operation of off-road recreational vehicles within the right of way of interstate highways with exceptions.
As of Jan. 18, the House passed the third reading with 56 ayes, five nays, one excused, zero absent and zero conflicts. The bill was received in the Senate for introduction on Jan. 18. WSGA will continue to monitor this bill.
HB 63, Vacancies in elected office, provides for the filling of vacancies in congressional or state-wide offices by a special election if more than half of the term remains at the time of vacancy. WSGA’s position is to monitor this bill.
As of Jan. 18, the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions committee voted to do not pass the bill with three ayes, five nays, one excused, zero absent and zero conflict.
Senate File (SF) 28, Livestock infectious disease control – Tribal inclusion, enables the state veterinarian to provide contagious and infectious reportable disease testing, containment and reimbursement services on the Wind River Reservation; authorizes the governor to enter into negotiations with any Tribe in the region to ensure that brucellosis is not passed from wildlife to livestock. The WSGA supports this bill.
As of Jan. 20, the Senate passed the bill with four ayes, one nay, zero excused, zero absent and zero conflicts.
SF 29, Brucellosis management updates, removes the mandatory requirement for branding of confirmed brucellosis infected animals; reidentifies “areas of concern” as “temporary surveillance” areas; authorizes the Wyoming Livestock Board to specify the required documentation for reimbursement. WSGA strongly supports this bill.
As of Jan. 13, the Senate passed the third reading with 31 ayes, zero nays, zero excused, zero absent and zero conflict. The House received for introduction on Jan. 13.
SF 31, Adjacent land resource data – trespass repeal, removes that portion of statue related to civil actions for trespassing across private land to collect resource date on other lands which was found to be invalid by the Court. WSGA supports this bill.
As of Jan. 18, the bill was passed by the Senate with 23 ayes, two nays, one excused, zero absent and zero conflicts. The House received the bill for introduction on Jan. 18.
SF 34, Trespass by small unmanned aircraft, defines trespass to include causing a drone or similar aircraft to enter into the immediate reaches of the airspace over private property if the entry “substantially interferes with the landowner’s or his authorized occupant’s use and enjoyment of the land.” WSGA supports this bill amended.
On Jan. 20, the bill was passed in the Senate with 18 ayes, 13 nays, zero excused, zero absent and zero conflict, the bill was then received for introduction in the House.
SF 56, Prohibiting travel across private lands for hunting purposes, amends the current prohibition under the Game and Fish statutes to include travel through or return across private property; defines such travel to require physically touching or driving on the surface of the private property. WSGA supports this bill.
As of Jan. 19, the Senate approved the third reading of the bill with 25 ayes, six nays, zero excused, zero absent and zero conflicts. The bill has been received for introduction in the House.
SF 60, Nonresident hunting license application fees, increases priority non-resident hunting application fees for elk, deer and antelope from 118 percent to 220 percent. This bill failed to pass with 10 ayes, 20 nays, one excused, zero absent and zero conflict. WSGA’s position is to monitor this bill.
SF 71, State loan and bond programs, would tie the interest rate on farm loans to the yield on a U.S. Treasury Security of the same duration with the board being able to add an additional risk premium of up to two percent; would remove the current lower interest rate for beginning agricultural producers; would reduce the authorized amount available for farm loads from $275 million to $50 million.
WSGA strongly opposes this bill, which passed in the Senate with 30 ayes, zero nays, one excused, zero absent and zero conflicts. The bill was received in the House for introduction on Jan. 18.
A significant number of bills including HB 16, 17, 20 and 22 address the management of state lands. The majority of these bills were brought forth by WSGA to address challenges impacting grazing and agricultural lessees of state lands.
Several bills, including SF 33, 34 and 56 address trespass issues impacting private landowners. While more remains to be done, these are important steps forward and deserve support, according to WSGA.
Several bills in regards to significant property tax burdens on homeowners are being introduced and addressed. WSGA has not initially taken a position on these bills, but has been continuing to monitor them and are prepared to engage to the extent they may impact the agricultural community.
According to the state of Wyoming 67th Legislature’s webpage, during the Legislative session, the public can recommend support for or opposition to a particular piece of legislation by using the online hotline.
In addition to expressing support for or opposition to an identified bill, one can also leave a short comment period regarding the bill. Comments are limited to 280 characters – approximately one of two short sentences.
Comments will not be edited or verified by the Legislative Service Office and the information provided will be considered public record. Comments must be related to a specific bill. Information submitted will be electronically available to all members of legislature, but legislators consider a variety of factors when making decisions on pending legislation.
For more information on ways to contact legislators and get involved in the legislative process, visit wyoleg.gov. For a complete list of Wyoming Stock Growers Association’s 2023 Legislative Session Bill Review and Status document, visit wysga.org.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.