Town Hall meeting on 28th Legislature issues held in Lyman
Rep. Jon Conrad, HD 19, listens to comments from the floor at the pre-legislative town hall meeting he conducted last Friday in Lyman. PIONEER PHOTO/Virginia Giorgis
LYMAN — Rep. Jon Conrad, HD 19, explained some of the ins-and-outs of the upcoming 28th session of the Legislature, which starts Feb. 12, and is slated as a 20-day budget session in Cheyenne.
At Conrad’s pre-legislative town hall meeting last Friday night at the LHS PAC, Conrad spoke on several issues such as the BLM’s Alternate B proposal for the Rock Springs BLM acres-and-acres of property, the proposed Natural Asset Companies (NACs) by the Security Exchange Commission, parental rights, proposed rules for sage grouse areas and water, which includes the Colorado River Project. He noted the extent of the Wyoming state budget covers nearly three billion dollars. Wyoming lawmakers chose to sock away a record $1.4 billion into savings during the 2023 legislative session, as was reported in May 2023.
A prime issue that has surfaced state wide fast rise in property taxes as people have had to bite the bullet to pay the increases. Conrad said 20 bills were written last year to address this issue, but most of the bills did in the committees.
Conrad highlighted three bills of the several bills written to stop the big increases in property taxes. He said this was a prime concern of his and needed to be addressed at this year’s legislature.
Another topic from the floor addressed some of the proposed residency requirements to vote in Wyoming. One man said he had five children who still lived in his house so, although they had drivers’ licenses, they would not have a utility bill or something like that to establish their residency.
Another concern Conrad addressed was parental rights. He said it was the “rights of parents to make decisions for their children…school districts can not prohibit parental rights.”
When addressing the need for suicide prevention, Conrad said, “I am pro-life” and further added the state needs “to promote mental health awareness and service.” Locally, there was a loss of seven trona ash miners to suicide. He also said there were 5,181 calls to the two suicide prevention sites in Wyoming and noted the increase in suicides in Wyoming is “the first time in a long time, Wyoming has gone downhill.” Conrad also said calls to suicide prevention sites can help those to consider another way to address their issues.
As for the Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) rate increase, the Wyoming Public Service Commission made the rate increase much lower. According to RMP, 36 percent of their increase in operation does not come from renewables. In addition, RMP was required to pay in rebate $9 million in overpaid charges.
In discussing the NACs, Conrad said the ground can not be developed and companies gain the access to the private and public property so they can utilize carbon credits.