2017 House Bills

Number of bills analyzed

Bills supported

Bills Opposed

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Not RatedHB 0009: Student Ownership and Privacy Rights
Position: Not Rated

This bill clarifies one set of property rights, but infringes upon another set. The bill states that “No ownership rights to any electronic writing or other electronic communication created by a student shall be conveyed, transferred or otherwise affected solely as a result of the writing or other communication being stored on an electronic device paid for in whole or in part by the university or transmitted or stored on the university’s network.” I.e. as student’s papers or work do not become the property of store by virtue of their being stored on a school computer or network. This protects student property rights. However, the second part of the bill declares: “Students at the university shall have an expectation of privacy in the electronic writings and other electronic communications created by the student regardless of whether the writing or other communication is stored on an electronic device paid for in whole or in part by the university or transmitted or stored on the university’s network.” This violates the university’s property rights. You have a right to manage your property as you wish—which may include monitoring communications on your property. If I write a note and toss it into your front yard, I cannot claim to have a “right” to the privacy of that communication because I voluntarily placed it on your property. This bill confers a “right” that does not exist at the expense of the school’s right to monitor their property. Since the bill contains portions that both support and oppose the principle of property rights, we cannot rate it.

Not RatedHB 0046: Permanent Absentee Voter Status
Position: Not Rated

This bill was heavily amended on the floor in order to put a signature verification procedure in place for every permanent absentee voter ballot submitted. This procedural safeguard would help address the risk of someone receiving the ballot of a person with permanent absentee voter status, filling it out, and sending it in. The amended bill implements a safeguard addressing the basis for our former objection, and therefore this bill is no longer a clear violation of Equal Protection/Rule of Law. In light of that, Principles of Liberty moves our analysis to a “No Rate.”

Previous rating: Oppose. HB0046 proposes allowing citizens to register to vote absentee permanently. This bill sacrifices the principle of equal protection of the law on the altar of expediency. Each citizen has the right to vote a single time. Currently, qualified electors (those registered to vote) must request an absentee ballot each time they wish to vote via absentee ballot in an election. Requiring a voter to submit a request to vote absentee in each new election acts as a safeguard against voter fraud and thus helps protect the principle of “one person, one vote.” If this bill is approved, an absentee ballot for each election will automatically be sent to a voter’s registered address. While the bill requires a non-forwarding address confirmation form to be sent to the elector registered at the given address every two years, this bill nevertheless increases the opportunity for voter fraud. Who hasn’t received mail addressed to the previous owner of a home? This bill increases the chances of that occurring with something as important as a ballot. Voter fraud means that some individuals could cast more votes than others in an election, or votes to which they are not entitled, which violates the equal protection of the law. By unnecessarily increasing opportunity for voter fraud, this bill opposes the principle of equal protection of the law.

SupportHB 0048: Fiscal Information in legislation
Position: Support

Current law requires the fiscal notes that accompany bills to quantify fiscal impact at the state level and reflect any changes to the total amount of revenue distributed from the state to local governments under a statutory formula. This bill would require fiscal notes to include a notice when the proposed legislation will mandate increased costs to cities, towns, counties or school districts and include an estimate of those costs to the extent practical. When the state issues a mandate that will have a fiscal impact on local government, the state should consider and disclose the costs that will result from that mandate.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 0057: Nyx’s Law
Position: Support

Existing statute makes the knowing, willful injury of a police dog, fire dog, search and rescue dog or police horse without lawful justification a felony punishable by no more than 10 years in prison, and/or a fine of no more than $ 10,000. This bill proposes adding statute to make it a misdemeanor punishable by no more than 1 year in prison and/or a fine of no more than $ 2,000 to recklessly or through criminal negligence permanently disable or kill any of the aforementioned animals. Current law only allows prosecution for intentionally disabling or killing these animals. This proposal is consistent with the idea that government utilizes these animals in order to execute its proper role of protecting citizen life, liberty, and property. Harming these animals in either an intentional or negligent way interferes with the appropriate work and property of government similar to, as another example, the intentional or reckless destruction of a laptop containing important government information. Providing a way to penalize negligent or reckless injury to these animals ensures the state’s ability to hold individuals accountable for their actions (an important feature of personal responsibility) with respect to government property.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Property Rights
OpposeHB 0064: Move Over Requirement
Position: Oppose

This bill tells you what to do when you see a car on the side of the road with flashing lights. The bill states that drivers approaching such a vehicle while “driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two (2) or more lanes traveling in the direction of the parked vehicle shall merge into the lane farthest from the vehicle, except when otherwise directed by a police officer” and those on two lane roads “shall slow to a speed that is twenty (20) miles per hour less than the posted speed limit, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.” While well intended, this policy is an example of the “nanny state.” It implies that you, the citizen, cannot be trusted to behave in a reasonable manner when you see a vehicle on the side of the road. It is not the role of the government to dictate the minutia of how a citizen should exercise his or her personal responsibility. Once you allow government to do that, there is no limit to what it can mandate. This bill would make it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $ 120. to violate these provisions.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0070: Occupational Safety and Health Administration Actions
Position: Support

Current law states that “When rulemaking and other actions of the federal environmental protection agency rest on questionable congressional authority the state is authorized to protect its interests and the interests of its citizens and should challenge those actions, including unlawful rulemaking,” and authorizes the attorney general to take action to stop “the enforcement, administration or implementation of rulemaking or other actions taken by that agency if, in his judgment, the rulemaking or other action exceeds the authority granted by the United States congress or otherwise rests on questionable authority.” This bill states that the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has expanded its regulation of highly hazardous chemicals on questionable authority and adds the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration alongside the Environmental Protection Agency in the aforementioned statutes. Invoking the state’s power to protect the rights of citizens upholds the principle of State vs. Federal Balance of Power.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
OpposeHB 0075: Automatic Restoration of right to vote
Position: Oppose

Under current law, persons convicted of nonviolent felonies are eligible to have their voting rights restored if the following conditions are met: 1) The person has not been convicted of any other felony other than convictions arising out of the same occurrence or related course of events for which restoration of rights is certified; 2) The person has completed all of his sentence, including probation or parole; and 3) It has been at least five years since the expiration of all of the applicant’s terms of sentence, or in the case of probation, the completion of all probation periods. 4) Persons convicted under Wyoming state law who completed their sentence before January 1, 2016 or persons convicted outside of Wyoming or convicted under federal law are required to submit an application to the Wyoming Department of Corrections, and if they are eligible the department shall issue them a certificate.

This bill repeals condition 3, and alters condition 4. The bill would require the department to automatically issue certificates of restoration of voting rights to eligible persons who completed their sentences after January 1, 2010 without requiring them to submit an application. Persons convicted of non-violent felonies under Wyoming state law who completed their sentences before January 1, 2010 must submit a written request in the form prescribed by the department. This bill undercuts personal responsibility. You’re eligible to get a driver’s license when you turn 16, but the government doesn’t automatically issue you one. You’re eligible to vote when you turn 18, but you still have to register to vote. Requiring the Department of Corrections to go through their records to find individuals convicted of nonviolent felonies in Wyoming who served their sentences and issue the eligible individuals certificates of restoration of voting rights is unnecessary. If you can exercise the personal responsibility necessary to register to vote, you can exercise the personal responsibility necessary to fill out an application to have your voting rights restored.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
OpposeHB 0076: American Indian Education Program
Position: Oppose

This bill uses the force of government through “education” standards to single out a specific group of people. The bill requires each school district to “provide an educational program addressing the cultural heritage and contemporary contributions of American Indian tribes, with particular emphasis on the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Indian tribes.” The bill requires the state board, through the department of education, to cooperate with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Indian tribes to evaluate and review existing state content and performance standards on the topic. The department must then publish materials and resources approved by the tribes on its website to assist school districts in meeting benchmarks. The bill explicitly states that the purpose of the program is to make sure students, teachers, and school personnel “better understand and appreciate American Indians.” It is not the role of the government to elevate particular groups of citizens and further a socio-political agenda through the state education system.

Updated to reflect 2/7 House Amendment
This bill uses the force of government through “education” standards to single out a specific group of people. This bill would require the state board, through the department of education, to cooperate with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Indian tribes to evaluate and review existing state social studies content and performance standards to ensure the cultural heritage, history and contemporary contributions of American Indians, with particular emphasis on the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho Indian tribes, are addressed. The department must make available materials and resources on the department’s official web site to assist school districts in meeting social studies benchmarks within Wyoming social studies content and performance standards relating to the study of American Indian tribes. While the amended bill no longer contains the statement that the goal is to make sure students, teachers, and school personnel “better understand and appreciate American Indians,” the force of the bill remains the same. It is not the role of the government to elevate particular groups of citizens and further socio-political agendas through the state education system.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 0077: In-State Tuition-Americorps Service
Position: Oppose

This bill states that individuals who provide service in an AmeriCorps program in Wyoming for at least twelve months, and whose service terminated not more than twelve months preceding their application for resident tuition, qualify as residents for the purposes of tuition at the University of Wyoming or a Wyoming community college. This bill asserts that in the eyes of the state, service through certain organizations is more “worthy” than service through other organizations—and the state will decide which organizations qualify participants for special state perks. This violates the principle of Equal Protection/Rule of Law by singling out a group to receive preferential treatment by the state.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 0081: Hemp extract amendments
Position: Support

Current law requires the Wyoming Department of Health to issue hemp extract registration cards to Wyoming residents who submit to the department an application form, fee, and a statement signed by a neurologist specifying that the person suffers from epilepsy or seizures and may benefit from treatment by hemp extract. Parents or legal guardians in charge of medical care can receive a card on behalf of a minor by following the same procedure. This bill proposes allowing adults to receive hemp extract cards for any disorder, not just epilepsy and seizures, if they provide the department with an application form, fee, and a signed statement by a licensed physician that the person may benefit from treatment with hemp extract. The bill also allows parents or legal guardians to acquire hemp extract registration cards on behalf of adult dependents instead of just on behalf of minors. However, the bill does not add the option for minors or adult dependents to be treated with hemp extract for disorders other than seizures or epilepsy, unlike the changes proposed earlier in the bill that would allow adults acquiring their own registration cards to do so, and continues to require a statement signed by a neurologist. The policy changes in this bill uphold the principle of limited government, and support citizens’ liberty to make their own healthcare decisions and assume the personal responsibility inherent in those choices.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0087: Return of Victim’s Property Held as Evidence
Position: Support

This bill intends to expedite the return of property to victims or witnesses. The bill specifies: “No later than sixty (60) days after the property is taken as evidence, the prosecuting attorney shall make an initial determination whether to expedite the return of property to the victim or witness,” and requires the prosecuting attorney to give notice to defense council of the intention to return property to a victim or witness twenty days prior to its return. In exercising his discretion to expedite the return of property, the bill requires the prosecuting attorney to consider: whether photographs of the property would be admissible as evidence in lieu of the property, if submitting photographs in lieu of evidence would prejudice the proceedings, if the property is required for evidentiary analysis, and if ownership of the property is disputed. The bill also expands the current statutory mandate to the court regarding the return of property so that it reads: “The trial court exercising jurisdiction over a criminal proceeding shall, if requested, enter appropriate orders to preserve the property for evidentiary analysis or use, or return the property to the victim or witness as appropriate.” While the statutory changes appear minor and still leave a large degree of latitude with the prosecuting attorney and the court, this bill appears to be a small step towards helping innocent individuals get their property back in a timely manner.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
SupportHB 0097: Wyoming Uniform Transfers to Minors Act-amendments
Position: Support

This bill proposes to permit “the time for transfer to the minor of custodial property transferred under W.S. 34-13-116 through 4 34-13-119 [to] be changed to a specified time other than the minor’s attainment of twenty-one (21) years of age.” Current law states that custodial property must be transferred at 21 years of age under those provisions. This bill increases the allowable specified time up to a maximum of 30 years of age rather requiring that the transfer occur no later than at 21 years of age. This bill would allow individuals more flexibility with respect to the conveyance of their property.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
OpposeHB 0101: School Districts-Veterans Employment Preference
Position: Oppose

This bill mandates that school boards give hiring preference to veterans and widows of veterans. The bill clarifies that school districts are public departments, which means the veterans hiring preference required by existing statute applies to them. The current statute states that “In every public department and upon all public works in Wyoming, members of the United States military establishment in any war or conflict as defined in section 101, title 38, United States Code, honorably discharged from service, and the widows of members during widowhood, shall be preferred for appointment or employment… If the disabilities do not materially interfere with performance of the duties, the disabled veterans or widows shall be given preference over employment of able-bodied veterans and widows. A veteran or widow who has not been a resident of the state of Wyoming for a period of one (1) year or more immediately preceding date for appointment or employment is not entitled to preference under this section and for municipal or county employment, no preference shall be granted unless the applicant under this section is a resident of the municipality or county in which employment is sought” (19-14-102).

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 0136: Campus Carry
Position: Support

This bill removes the prohibition against carrying a concealed firearm on the property of a public college or university campus or facility for persons possessing a concealed carry permit. This bill affirms the right of law abiding citizens to provide for their personal protection as they see fit!


2/3 Update:
This bill was amended to extend the grant of authority to carry a concealed firearm on the property of a public college or university campus or facility to persons with a concealed firearms permit from another state or governmental entity that recognizes Wyoming permits.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0137: Wyoming Repeal Gun Free Zones Act
Position: Support

This bill repeals the prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm into meetings of governmental entities and meetings of the Wyoming legislature, provided the person is lawfully carrying the weapon pursuant to W.S. 6-8-104(a)(ii) through (iv). Current law permits peace officers, persons issued a permit by the state of Wyoming (or by a governmental agency or entity in another state that recognizes Wyoming permits if the permit issued is a valid statewide permit), or Wyoming citizens who don’t have a concealed weapons permit but who otherwise meet the requirements specified in 6-8-104 to carry a concealed firearm in the state of Wyoming with certain locations excepted. This bill would also add a prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm onto private property if “the owner of the property or the owner’s representative provides notice by oral or written communication that the carrying of a concealed weapon is forbidden on the property.” The first part of this bill affirms the right of law abiding citizens to provide for their personal protection as they see fit, and the second part of the bill affirms the dominion of property owners over their property.
*Note: there is a proposed amendment that would state that the statutory authorization to carry concealed firearms at meetings of governmental entities and meetings of the legislature only applies to meetings held on public property, and delete the provision in the bill prohibiting carrying a concealed firearm onto private properties where the owner or his representative has provided written or oral notice that such conduct is forbidden. If the legislature adopts this amendment, then Principles of Liberty’s analysis will be amended to remove the bill’s relationship to the principle of Property Rights (since it is no longer applicable) but the analysis will continue to reflect the bill’s support of the principles of individual liberty and limited government.

2/3 Update: Two amendments to this bill were adopted by the House.
1) The bill was amended to remove permission for persons lawfully carry a firearm without a permit to carry that firearm at meetings of a governmental entity or of the legislature. While this waters down the bill, the bill as amended still makes an improvement to the existing situation for individual liberty and limited government so our rating remains the same.

2) The bill was amended to specify that the statutory authorization to carry concealed firearms at meetings of governmental entities and meetings of the legislature only applies to meetings held on public property, and delete the provision in the bill prohibiting carrying a concealed firearm onto private properties where the owner or his representative has provided written or oral notice that such conduct is forbidden. As a result, Principles of Liberty’s analysis has been amended to remove the bill’s relationship to the principle of property rights (since it is no longer applicable) but the bill continues to support the principles of individual liberty and limited government.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0140: Minimum Wage
Position: Oppose

This bill, which failed on first reading in the House, would have raised the minimum wage from $ 5.15 to $ 9.50. The bill would have permitted a training wage of no less than $ 7.50 for a period of less than 6 months. The bill would have changed tipped employee minimum wage from $ 2.13 per hour to $ 5.50 per hour. According to current law, if the wage paid by the employer combined with the tips received by the employee during a given pay period does not equal the minimum wage for untipped employees, the employer must pay the employee the difference. This bill would have made employees who fail to pay this difference liable in a civil action for three times the amount that was due, but specifies that in no case would employers be liable for less than $ 100.00. Employees substantially prevailing in an action for underpayment under this provision would have also been entitled to “reasonable attorney fees and the costs of the action.” Dictating the terms of contract between employees and employers violates individual liberty, upsets free market mechanisms such as price signaling, and is not the role of government.

1/31 Update
The House adopted an amendment that deleted the majority of the original bill, leaving just a provision raising the minimum wage from .15 to .25. Although the amended bill interferes with the free market far less than the original bill, by dictating the terms of private contracts the amended bill still opposes the principles listed below.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0151: Cigarette Tax
Position: Oppose

This bill would increase in the cigarette tax from $ 0.60 per pack to $ 0.90 per pack. Advocates of these so-called “sin tax” policies claim that these policies will help people beat addiction. The “sin tax” philosophy proposes using the force of government, applied through tax policy, to impose a social agenda on citizens. Proponents of this philosophy claim that using tax policy in this manner will help citizens make “better” (in this case, healthier) decisions. This is not the role of government. Ironically, the fiscal note states that “It is assumed that cigarette tax consumption would remain flat at FY 2016 levels through FY 2020.” I.e., placing a higher tax on cigarettes probably isn’t going to change peoples’ behavior, but bumping up the tax on a socially frowned upon good like cigarettes is a convenient way to raise revenue for the general fund. Placing exorbitant taxes on certain goods picks winners and losers amongst consumers and industries and is not the role of government.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 0160: Handgun Purchases
Position: Oppose

This bill mandates that businesses with a federal firearms license institute a three day waiting period for a person purchasing a handgun. Persons with a permit to carry a concealed firearm issued by Wyoming or another valid statewide permit issued by a governmental agency or entity in another state that recognizes Wyoming permits are exempt from this waiting period. Sales in which a person is trading in or exchanging another handgun are also exempt from this waiting period.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0165: Acupuncture Practice Act
Position: Oppose

This bill creates the Wyoming Acupuncture Practice Act. The act declares that beginning January 1, 2018, no person shall practice acupuncture in Wyoming without a license. Limited exceptions to licensure apply for acupuncturists licensed in other jurisdictions, persons in training practicing under the direct supervision of a practitioner licensed in Wyoming or persons licensed under Wyoming title 33, chapter 25 or chapter 26 (physical therapists, physicians, and surgeons). The act creates a board to determine licensure standards, issue licenses, establish application and licensure fees, and conduct investigations, hearings and proceedings concerning alleged violations of the act and of board rules. The board may employ or contract with individuals it determines necessary to administer its affairs and provide support services. The act sets forth requirements for licensure including that applicants have either graduated from an accredited Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Educational Institutions (ACAOM) program and passed National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) examination, graduated from an accredited ACAOM program and continuously practiced acupuncture in this state for at least ten (10) years before January 1, 2018, completed other examination, education or apprenticeship processes the board considers substantively qualifying, or have a National Acupuncture Detoxification Association certificate of training completion. The bill makes violation of any of these provisions a misdemeanor subject to the fines and penalties prescribed in W.S. 6-10-103. The bill allows the board to submit a budget request (i.e. ask for an appropriation) starting in 2018. This bill assumes that citizens cannot select a reputable acupuncture provider without the help of government regulation (which notably, it appears we have been doing without the world grinding to a halt for years). Look for the costs of acupuncture to increase, and for the inevitable creep of more regulations. *Note: While the catch title lists the act as the “Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Practice Act,” an adopted amendment removed all references to oriental medicine from the bill and from the statutory name of the act.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0167: Photo ID voting requirement
Position: Support

This bill would require Wyoming voters to show a valid photo ID prior to voting. Wyoming citizens are already required to present a valid photo ID in order to register to vote. The secretary of state’s office currently determines valid forms of photo ID. Requiring the presentation of a photo ID at the polls helps ensure that someone can’t walk into the polls, give your name and address, and “steal” your vote by casting a vote in your name. Protecting the sanctity of each citizen’s right to his or her vote upholds the principle of “one person one vote” and thus the principle of Equal Protection/Rule of Law.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 0168: Tobacco Tax
Position: Oppose

This bill would increase the tax on cigarettes from $ 0.60 per pack to $ 1.15 per pack, increase the excise tax rate on cigars, snuff and other tobacco products from 20% wholesale and 10% retail to 38.33% wholesale and 19.17% retail, and increase the tax on moist snuff (e.g., ‘dip’) from 60 cents per ounce to $ 1.15 per ounce. Basically, we’re talking about doubling tobacco taxes. Currently, tobacco taxes go directly into the general fund. (Technically, 39-18-111 does not specify where the moist snuff tax goes to, but we assume that it is going to the general fund.) This bill would allocate the additional revenue resulting from the increased taxes to the public school foundation program account. Like HB0151Cigarette Tax, this bill picks an unpopular industry to go after for additional revenue. Unlike HB0151, the fiscal note on this bill estimates a 5% decrease in consumption of tobacco due to the magnitude of the tax increases (almost double), based on a 2012 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
However, using tax policy in an attempt to force citizens to make healthier decisions is not the role of government, and neither is picking particular industries to shoulder a disproportionate share of the state’s education costs. There is no nexus between tobacco consumption and education funding. That is, what does using tobacco have to do with paying for education, and why should tobacco users be singled out in this manner?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 0174: Game Road Kill
Position: Support

This bill requires the Game and Fish Commission to adopt rules to establish a program whereby any person desiring to possess wildlife killed as a result of motor vehicle collisions on any public road or highway in the state of Wyoming is permitted to do so under specified conditions. Conditions include acquiring either: a letter of prior authorization from the department, a valid scientific or educational collecting permit for the specific species, or a donation certificate or Wyoming interstate game tag issued by the department. According to the bill, “Letters of prior authorization may be available through the director to any person or entity which commits to putting road killed wildlife carcasses to a beneficial use.” The writer of this report feeds her large dog a diet of cooked meat, and this bill might permit putting unfortunate big game animals to a good use. This bill makes a small but definitive expansion in individual liberty by permitting the collection of roadkill under certain circumstances.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
OpposeHB 0185: Safety Restraints-Violations
Position: Oppose

This bill would repeal the current prohibition on pulling over a vehicle solely for a seatbelt law violation. Current law states that “Each driver and passenger of a motor vehicle operated in this state shall wear, and each driver of a motor vehicle shall require that a passenger under twelve (12) years of age shall wear, a properly adjusted and fastened safety belt when the motor vehicle is in motion on public streets and highways,” but prohibits law enforcement for stopping vehicles solely for a violation of the seatbelt provisions. That is to say, you have to commit a separate traffic offense in order to be pulled over, and it’s only once you’re pulled over that you could also be cited for a seatbelt violation.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0189: Higher education-nonresident tuition
Position: Oppose

The fiscal note on this bill states: “The fiscal or personnel impact is not determinable due to insufficient time to complete the fiscal note process.” Not to worry, lovers of fiscal responsibility… we’ve crunched a few rough numbers to give you a better idea of what this bill would do. This bill would reduce the out-of-state tuition for Colorado and Nebraska students attending the University of Wyoming from the current out-of-state tuition rate (estimated at $ 7,400 per semester for a student taking 15 credits, according to the university’s website) to a statutorily mandated 175% of the in-state-tuition rate (estimated at $ 1,860 per semester for a student taking 15 credits, according to the university’s website). This would mean a reduction in tuition from $ 14,800 per year to $ 6,510 per year for Colorado and Nebraska residents attending the University of Wyoming. According to collegefactual.com, in 2015 Wyoming had a total of 294 students from Colorado students, and 36 students from Nebraska. While that may not be a large percentage of UW students, theoretically this bill could reduce tuition revenue from $ 4,884,000 to $ 2,148,300 assuming the number of Colorado and Nebraska students hold steady. At the proposed rate of $ 6,510 per year UW would need 420 additional CO/NE students—on top of the assumed current CO/NE students—in order to collect the current assumed amount of tuition. Yes, we know that undoubtedly some of these out-of-state students may already have scholarships or other factors that could have reduced their tuition from the given out-of-state rate—feel free to get more data and crunch more accurate numbers. Our point is simply this: even current student tuition revenue comes nowhere close to covering the $ 570 million dollar operating budget of the university. According to the university’s audit report, in 2016 42.3% of the university’s budget ($ 246 million) came from state appropriations. Should taxpayers have to risk picking up the tab for the education costs of out-of-state students?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 0191: Hathaway Expand Wyoming Scholarships
Position: Oppose

This bill would permit two students from each state contiguous to Wyoming to be awarded a “Hathaway expanded Wyoming scholarship” each year. The bill specifies applicant qualifications, and stipulates that scholarship recipients must work in Wyoming for one year or attend graduate school at the University of Wyoming for one year, for every four academic semesters or portions thereof in which a scholarship under this section was provided. The department shall establish by rule the commencement of the period for undertaking the requirements of this paragraph. Alternatively, the recipient can repay all expanded Hathaway scholarship amounts provided, together with interest which shall begin accruing four years after execution of the agreement. This bill could result in 48 scholarships in a 4 year period. According to the fiscal note, “under the current maximum trustee scholarship award amount, this would equate to a maximum increase in expenditures from the Hathaway Expenditure Account of $ 155,280 in the first year of implementation, $ 310,560 in the second year of implementation, $ 465,840 in the third year of implementation and $ 621,120 in the fourth year of implementation.” This bill attempts to attract students to Wyoming based on the idea that they may stay in Wyoming after graduation and stimulate the economy.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0209: Disparity in Wages and Benefits Between Men and Women
Position: Oppose

This bill would update and expand a 2003 study entitled, “A Study of the Disparity in Wages and Benefits Between Men and Women in Wyoming.” The bill directs the study to report and focus on: If and where disparities exist, including data and analysis according to county, occupation, comparative state data with other state and federal information, the causes of any wage and benefit disparities, the impacts of any wage and benefit disparities on Wyoming’s economy, possible solutions and workforce development programs to reduce or eliminate any wage and benefit disparities, and benefits and costs of eliminating or reducing any wage and benefit disparities. While it may be tempting to gather data on hot button social issues, it is not the role of government to collect information on wages and propose suggestions for interfering in the free market to advance a social agenda.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0253: Economic Development Account Funding
Position: Oppose

This bill would appropriate $ 25,000,000.00 from the Legislative Reserve Stabilization Account (a.k.a. the “Rainy Day Fund”) to the Economic Development Enterprise Account (EDEA). The EDEA was created pursuant to Article 16, Section 12 of the Wyoming Constitution which authorizes the Wyoming state legislature “to provide a revolving investment fund to be used to promote and aid the economic development of the state.” The Wyoming Constitution specifies that the fund “shall be used to provide fully-funded loan guarantees or loans to proposed or existing enterprises which will employ people within the state, provide services within the state, use resources within the state or otherwise add economic value to goods, services or resources within the state.” This is the government interfering in the free market by playing “venture capitalist” with tax dollars. In a free market, investors voluntarily take the risk of providing venture capital to help a promising business get off the ground with a contract/agreement that they will reap the rewards if the business succeeds but could also suffer the loss of that capital if it fails. Whether the Wyoming Constitution authorizes this or not, it simply isn’t the role of government to gamble on business projects with our tax dollars.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0255: Hathaway Scholarship Eligibility for Noncitizens
Position: Oppose

This bill would make Hathaway scholarship funds available to students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The Hathaway scholarship is a college scholarship that offers varying levels of funding based on GPA and ACT scores to Wyoming students pursuing higher education. The scholarships are funded by the earnings from the Hathaway Endowment Fund. Currently, only Wyoming students are eligible for Hathaway scholarships and “a student is not eligible for a scholarship under this article if he: is not a United States citizen or a permanent resident alien who meets the definition of an eligible noncitizen under federal Title IV requirements or requirements of a subsequent similar federal enactment.” This bill would repeal the latter half of that provision. Should the state be funding education for non-U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens?

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Limited Government