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2024 Budget Session of Wyoming Legislature kicks off

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Cheyenne – The 67th Legislature of the state of Wyoming kicked off on Feb. 12, with a full 20-day calendar aimed at adopting a budget for the 2025-26 biennium. 

Gov. Mark Gordon started the session with the 2024 State of the State address.

“Wyoming is as strong as it has ever been. Our economy is growing, our spirits soaring, and the future is ours to craft,” he stated. 

In his address, Gordon likened the Wyoming Legislature to a branding crew, commenting, “They come together every year for a few days, with specific work to get done. Job one this year is to pass a budget. We have a good crew, and though there are lots of opinions, there is also commitment and expertise.” 

Gordon added, “An excellent branding crew, like an excellent legislature, does its work with an eye to what is important. Wyoming folks are focused on solutions, not politics.”

State of the State

In his State of the State address, Gordon remarked, “Wyoming agriculture is expanding, is more diverse and enjoys greater marketing opportunities.”

Gordon emphasized issues like education, the workforce, energy and mental health all play important roles in the state’s future, and he sees Wyoming as a leader on all fronts.

“Wyoming is open for business, constantly seeking to innovate and improve. I can proudly say Wyoming is on a roll. That is, despite a ‘we know best’ federal government which openly obstructs the very industries that have anchored our economy for over a century,” he commented. 

While the Biden administration continues to put up roadblocks in the way of coal, oil and gas production, Gordon noted he continues to push back, using all political and legal resources available.

As an example, he nodded to the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan Task Force, noting the task force was about “taking the lead” to “identify appropriate remedies for Wyoming to use in reforming an unwarranted and unprecedented federal action.” 

Gordon noted the best interest of Wyoming is to keep the federal government at bay so Wyoming can do what it does best – responsibly manage its resources. 

The 2024 session

While the 2024 session is sure to be fast, there will be no shortage of repercussions for Wyoming’s ag community. 

Overall, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation’s (WyFB) Brett Moline noted the number of bills filed this year was down, compared to the past, and a number of committee-sponsored bills were killed, which was unusual.

“It’s a less intense year for the Ag Committee,” he added. “But, we’ll see where some of the individually sponsored bills end up.”

Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) Executive Vice President Jim Magagna noted the session started off with “a lot of craziness going on.” 

He added, this year, the Senate Agriculture Committee meets at the same time as the House Agriculture Committee, which makes coverage a bit more difficult than in the past.

“I’d like to think things will settle down, but we have some back and forth within the Republican party,” he commented. “The deadline for bills to be filed was Feb. 14.”

More than 450 bills and resolutions were proposed this year, including both committee-  and individually-sponsored bills.

Appropriations bills

On Feb. 12, the opening day of the 67th Wyoming Legislature, the Appropriations Committee experienced a shake-up in leadership on the Senate side. 

However, Moline commented, “The committee will continue to function well. They’re good, logical people, and they’ll do what needs to be done.” 

Gordon called his proposed budget a “conservative and balanced budget, oriented to addressing citizens’ concerns, the economic well-being and to savings.” 

Magagna noted the governor’s budget was fairly level, and the Appropriations Committee carried forward the $1.5 million additional funds for the predator program and some extra funding for personnel in the Office of State Lands and Investments. 

“For the budgets we deal with, the appropriations bills are pretty bland,” Magagna commented.

Property taxes

Again in 2024, property taxes remain a big issue, and with land values increasing, property taxes are also on the rise. 

“Wyoming real estate is in high demand, which pushes up prices and then pushes up valuation,” Moline explained. “When valuation goes up, property taxes go up. One of our concerns are affordability issues on both ends of the age spectrum.”

Older Wyomingites on fixed income may not be able to absorb the increases in property taxes on their fixed income, while heightened taxes could be a barrier for entry to those seeking to buy their first home. 

“WyFB members always support lowering the tax burden, and a lot of bills this year look to do this with exemptions,” he said, noting the House was scheduled to look at a slate of property tax bills on Feb. 15. “These bills look primarily at residential property – not commercial – ag, industrial or mining right now. We’ll see how those shake out later.”

Gordon concurred with Moline’s assessment, noting property taxes must be a top-priority issue for legislators. 

“Property tax reform is a complex issue affecting county resources, roads and schools, among other issues, yet it is also pressing,” Gordon commented. “I have no doubt this legislature will seek a balance which properly addresses citizens’ concerns about rising assessed valuations without leaving counties or schools high and dry.”

Magagna said over 20 bills were proposed dealing with property tax reform, and many of them were referred to the Revenue Committee.

“The Revenue Committee has a lot of work to do to see what makes sense,” he explained. “Fortunately, none of those bills directly impact property taxes on ag land.”

He continued, however, some of the tax breaks being discussed could provide tax relief to the ranching and ag community for the value of residences on ag land. 


Wyoming water is always a top priority issue, and with the uncertainty surrounding the Colorado River Basin Compact, the legislature has several proposals to strengthen Wyoming water law, including efforts to ensure Wyoming water is utilized correctly and protected. 

One important bill deals with temporary use and another bill deals with water transfer. 

“Our current temporary use law authorized a temporary use for only two years, specifically for road or railroad construction,” Magagna explained. “They are proposing to broaden it to say temporary use can be for any approved water purpose for up to five years. This can be renewed for terms of up to five years.”

He noted an amendment proposed by WSGA would preclude instream flow. 

“The other bill has to do with water transfers,” he added, explaining the impetus for the action comes from southwest Wyoming, where trona companies with junior water rights have negotiated deals with ag water right holders to transfer water in the event there is a call on the river. 

Magagna said, “If there is a call on the river, these companies would be able to maintain the water they need to process trona through water transfers. This bill is intended to clean up current language to make water transfers easier.”

Gordon closed his State of the State address by saying, “I ask we never lose sight of the determination and resolve of the Wyoming people. Stay resolute and focused on the task at hand. Let us put our heads down and do what needs to be done during this legislative session.”

The public is encouraged to get involved in the activities of the Wyoming Legislature. Visit to watch the session and listen to committee meetings, as well as to view copies and follow the progress of all legislation proposed.

Saige Zespy is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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