Legislature convenes next week, brighter financial outlook

Rep Danny Eyre

Wyoming’s 65th Legislature is set to convene on Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Cheyenne. Following the recent Primary and General Elections, there will be 11 new members of the House of Representative. The party affiliation remains about the same as the previous legislature with 50 Republicans, nine Democrats, and one Independent in the House. In the Senate there will be seven newly elected senators. Three of the seven new senators moved from the House.

On Monday, Jan. 7, Mark Gordon will be inaugurated as Wyoming’s 33rd Governor. We will also inaugurate a new Secretary of State (Edward Buchanan), a new state Treasurer (Curt Meier), and a new state auditor (Kristi Racines). State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow, will continue in that office.

The revenue picture facing the legislature this session has improved significantly since the close of the budget session last March. The latest Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) report shows an increase in estimated revenue for the 2019-2020 biennium of at least $300 million over the previous forecast. While this does not solve our funding shortfall, it certainly helps and is a step in the right direction.

I will report on specific proposed legislation in subsequent articles. In this column I would like to provide some general observations regarding the Wyoming legislature.

I have also come to appreciate the legislative process. It is cumbersome, slow, unwieldy, and at times, very frustrating. But it is a process established over many years of experiences. And, in the end, reflects the majority view of 30 Senators and 60 Representatives elected from all over the state. While I will not agree with every decision that is made, I do believe that the collective wisdom of the legislative body is far better than the decisions that would be made by any one individual.

As always, I welcome your questions or comments. I can be reached by telephone at 307-782-6376 or by email at [email protected]. Let me know if you are going to be in Cheyenne any time during the session, and I would be very happy to meet with you.