2022 WAM Legislative Session Preview

The Wyoming Legislature will convene for the 2022 session on February 14, 2022.  This is a budget session and is scheduled to adjourn March 11th.  This document provides a brief preview of the session.

2022 BUDGET SESSION As this is a budget session, the principal purpose is to adopt a budget for the coming biennium.  However, the Legislature will also need to approve a redistricting plan following the 2020 census.  Additionally, there are many committee sponsored bills as well bills sponsored by individual legislators.  Because this is budget session, Committee Bills and individual bills will require two thirds vote in each house to be introduced.  Given the time pressures of redistricting and the budget, few of these committee and individual bills will make the 2/3 votes necessary to be considered. As we begin the budget session, the CREG report is forecasting an $800 million surplus due to increased sales tax, coal and natural gas revenues.  Additionally, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARPA), will provide Wyoming $1.1 billion.  Given the surplus of money, the biggest budget fight will be how to expend the APRA revenues and how much will go into the various budget reserve accounts.

OTHER LEGISLATION OF INTEREST In addition to Redistricting and the Budget, there will likely be hundreds of Committee and Individual bills.  The following paragraphs highlight several bills of interest:

Direct Distribution – The Governor’s budget recommended that Direct Distribution Funding  be  $105 million.  He further recommended these funds be appropriated from the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account (LSRA).  this Biennium. During their review of the Governor’s Budget, the Joint Appropriations Committee moved this funding from the LSRA to General Fund and it passed the Committee with little comment and strong support.

Industrial Siting Impact Assistance Payments – There is a proposal to lower the maximum amount (currently 2.76%) of the payments relative to estimated material costs. We, of course, oppose this proposal. It has been suggested that local governments be empowered to make decisions regarding these Impact Assistance Payments.

Pharmacy Benefits Manager Act – There is a bill being sponsored by Senator Hutchings of Laramie County that would, as currently proposed, increase the cost of pharmaceuticals ten-fold. This will significantly increase the cost of providing insurance coverage to employees. It will negatively affect insurance providers, employers, and, in many cases, employees. WAM opposes this bill.

WyoLink – A proposal from the Transportation Committee would use ARPA dollars to fund WyoLink for the next several years. We support this use of ARPA funds. We would also support a responsible long-term plan for funding WyoLink.

Orphan Water Rights – Water rights (often very senior water rights) are occasionally “orphaned” when property changes hands; specifically during development projects. A bill to guarantee transfer of existing water rights is under consideration. We support this effort. We will, however, be paying very close attention to the specifics.

ARPA Funds – The Legislature will be making decisions regarding how the State portion of ARPA funds are spent. We support ARPA funding that provides long-term solutions and leverages State and Local ARPA dollars to maximize outcomes.

NEW LEGISLATIVE TRACKING SOFTWARE I also wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the new Legislative Tracking Software we will be using this year.  Because our old Capitol Impact was no longer being supported, we are moving to a new tracking platform.  This new program is called Engagifi and is, in my opinion, easier to use and is a better program. We are in the process of converting to the new program.  It should be up and running by February 7th. In the meantime, if you have questions about the upcoming session, please feel to contact Dave Fraser at (307) 414-0265, or Bob McLaurin at (307) 413-3483.


Legislative Leadership Committee

LLC Chairperson Kelly Krakow, Albin
WAM President Matt Hall, Cody
Council Member Joe Wilson, Sundance
Mayor John Wetzel, Powell
City Administrator Tony Tolstedt, Riverton
Mayor Matt Murdock, Pinedale
Mayor Terry Weickum, Rawlins
WAM Vice President Carter Napier, Casper
Janine Jordan, GOSCMA Rep., Laramie
Penny Robbins, WAMCAT Rep., Mountain View
Executive Director David Fraser
Legal Counsel Mark Harris