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Guest Opinions: 2024 Legislative Preview

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Ogden Driskill and Albert Sommers

As the Wyoming Legislature readies for 20 days of discussion and debate ahead of the 2024 Legislative Budget Session, we prepare for this work as servants to the people of our communities. 

Over the past eight months, legislative committees have held 62 standing committee meetings around the state. At these meetings, committees gathered public input and industry perspectives to draft commonsense conservative solutions to the problems we face together.

As the presiding officers of our respective chambers, we will focus on fighting rising costs like property taxes and electric utility increases, placing parents in the driver’s seat of their children’s education and supporting mental health programs for our fellow neighbors.

While most of the committees have completed their work, not all of the committee bills have been posted to the legislative website. Budget session bills for 2024 can be viewed at 

Key topics and updates are outlined below. 

Appropriations Committee

The Appropriations Committee is in the process of developing a conservative, balanced budget. This duty is a constitutional requirement, making it our highest priority.

Revenue Committee

The Revenue Committee has advanced a few measures proposed to tackle the problem of escalating property taxes which rise above the rest, providing needed relief for Wyoming people.

A property tax exemption bill for long-term homeowners will mirror a provision nearly one-half the states in the U.S. have. The legislation grants a resident who has paid residential property taxes in the state for 30 years and reaches age 65 a 50 percent exemption. 

Another property tax bill caps the rate of increase in property tax at five percent. 

Further, a Homestead Exemption which provides some relief to all citizens is another measure to be considered.

Corporations Committee 

The Corporations Committee focused time on reviewing the Rocky Mountain Power rate hike and zeroed in on drafting bills to insulate our state against misguided multi-state agreements which punish our carbon-based energy economy with taxes put in place by West Coast states.

Other priorities include election bills which close a campaign finance loophole, enact a 30-day residency requirement for voting in the state and improves election intimidation statutes.

Labor Committee

The Labor Committee continued its steady progress in building key infrastructure and initiatives in order to address Wyoming’s persistent mental health and suicide challenges. 

The 988 hotline is one of those key strategies, which allows Wyoming people in crisis to reach a call center based in our state in hopes of preventing suicide. It is important the line is funded to ensure its needed services continue.

Additionally, this committee focused on helping hospitals and fellow Wyomingites by developing a bill to address prior authorization related to insurance. The proposed bill would guarantee patients access to previously approved treatments and medications.

Minerals Committee

The Minerals Committee worked to refine laws around Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage. This several-year effort remains a high priority designed to help our fossil fuel industry survive changing markets and uncertain Washington, D.C. politics.

Education Committee

The Education Committee is updating the funding model for developmental preschools.

The committee also worked several bills focusing on keeping parents in charge of their child’s education with a parental rights bill and education savings account bill.

Agriculture Committee

The Agriculture Committee spent the interim supporting Wyoming ag producers. 

The committee drafted a bill aimed at the development of a compensation measure for cattle ranchers suffering rangeland impacts on private lands when elk are over population objective.

Travel Committee

The Travel Committee developed an Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund which would be governed in a manner similar to the existing Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resource Trust Fund.

The fund would provide grants to local communities for outdoor recreation projects to boost quality of life in the Cowboy State and aid in helping diversify our economy.

Transportation Committee

The Transportation Committee worked on updates to existing statutory definitions and categories of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles should pay a road tax similar to those vehicles paying a fuel tax at the pump. 

All vehicles must help pay for upkeep of Wyoming’s highways.

Further, this committee is working to promote an in-state Hazmat license for individuals under 21.

Judiciary Committee

The Judiciary Committee supported the Division of Criminal Investigation’s efforts to create a statewide database of cold cases for agencies across the state to add to. This will ensure victims in unsolved investigations are not forgotten.

Another important measure is the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, which would adopt the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act and authorize a district court to order child abduction prevention measures when the evidence establishes a credible risk of abduction.

The 2024 Budget Session of the 67th Wyoming Legislature will start on Feb. 12 and conclude 20 working days later on March 8. 

Albert Sommers is the Speaker of the House and has served in the legislature since 2013. Ogden Driskill is the president of the Senate and has served in the Wyoming Legislature since 2011. This op-ed column was originally published on Jan. 10 in Cowboy State Daily.

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