2018 House Bills

Number of bills analyzed

Bills supported

Bills Opposed

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OpposeHB 0005: Sale of wildlife information-prohibition
Position: Oppose

Under current law, you must have a license in order to guide people on big game hunts and receive compensation for it. It sounds like some enterprising entrepreneurs found a loophole: while they can’t guide a hunter to an animal, there’s nothing to say they can’t pre-scout an area and then tell hunters about the big animals they spotted there—for a fee, of course! This bill would make that illegal unless you’re licensed, you’re acting as a resident guide in compliance with the resident guide laws, or you’re acting as a resident landowner guiding in compliance with W.S. 4 23-2-406 through 23-2-418. As with all hunting, there’s no guarantee that the animal will be where you last saw it, but if someone (who by the way, has paid for their hunting license the same as everyone else) wants to pay you for information that you have and they don’t—that’s the free market at work. The state has already limited a true free market in the hunting industry, and this bill continues that trend.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0006: Research and wildlife information-confidentiality
Position: Oppose

Transparency is a critical feature of accountable government. In Wyoming, the Public Records Act ensures that citizens can request the documents they need to see what their government is up to with a few exceptions (for example, you can’t see medical records that the state might have on individual persons). Currently, the state can withhold from public examination “the specific details of a bona fide research project being conducted by a state institution.” This bill would allow agencies or any other person to withhold the details of their research projects, too. Agencies conduct research projects with the tax dollars of Wyoming citizens. If citizens can’t keep a close eye on what agencies are doing with their tax dollars, that’s a blow to accountability. This bill would also allow the state to withhold “Sensitive wildlife location data in the custody of the game and fish department which could be used to determine the specific location of an individual animal or a group of animals.” We understand that Fish & Game doesn’t want to act as your outfitter, but our critique of this bill is limited to the portion pertaining to research projects.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0008: Stalking Revisions
Position: Support

This bill would amend stalking statutes to tighten up protection for victims, cover stalking in the technological age, and make potential penalties for stalking stricter. The bill would add, “…conduct that causes a reasonable person to fear for their safety, the safety of another person, or their property…” to the definition of harassment which is used to charge someone with stalking. The bill specifies that an offense can be deemed to have been committed at the location where the act was initiated, where the victim receives communications that constitute stalking, or is affected by the stalking while located in Wyoming. It also notes that an act that indicates a course of conduct but occurs in more than one jurisdiction may be used by any jurisdiction in which the act occurred as evidence of a continuing course of conduct. The bill would also increase the maximum term of imprisonment for misdemeanor stalking from 6 months to 1 year, the maximum term of probation from 1 year to 3 years and requires notice in protection orders that stalking violations could result in the penalties for felony stalking.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0010: Worker’s compensation-extraterritorial reciprocity
Position: Support

This bill would clarify that the Wyoming Worker’s Compensation Act, which implemented a mandatory worker’s comp program for employees engaged in “extrahazardous” employment, does not cover individuals with out-of-state employers unless the out-of-state employer’s home state’s worker’s comp covers all injuries and deaths occurring in that state or Wyoming has an active agreement with that state. The idea here is that only employees of employers that are paying into Wyoming’s comp program should be able to use it. Whether or not the state should be running an “extrahazardous” (we just can’t resist using quotes around that term) worker’s comp program, the program currently exists and this bill would make it a little more fiscally responsible.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
SupportHB 0011: Professional licensing-time limit regarding convictions
Position: Support

This bill tells licensing boards and commissions that they can’t consider evidence of a conviction more than 20 years old when they are analyzing a person’s criminal history in the course of their regulatory duties unless the sentence hasn’t been completed or the conviction is related to the duties and responsibilities of the profession or occupation they’re dealing with. Should you be blackballed by a licensing authority for something you did more than 20 years ago and is unrelated to your profession? We think not.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0012: Speeding fines amendment
Position: Support

Under current law you can’t be fined for driving up to 5 mph over the speed limit as long as you’re not in a school zone or urban/residential area. This bill would extend that window of grace to speeds through 5mph over the limit, and remove the qualifications. The bill also proposes a new fee schedule that puts speeding fines into three categories (general, school, and construction/residential) and reduces fine amounts by about 20%. We’re iffy on the government telling you how fast it’s safe for you to drive in the first place (maybe you have excellent reflexes and a car that handles well, maybe you don’t—only you know), so we think reducing the government’s ability to extort you when you determine how to safely conduct your vehicle at a speed above the “legal” limit is a step in the right direction.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0013: Municipal extraterritorial jurisdiction-repeal
Position: Support

This bill would repeal current mayoral authority to assert jurisdiction over the area ½ mile outside the city limits along with the requirement that the board of county commissioners get the approval of cities/towns before approving applications for subdivision within 1 mile of city/town limits. The bill would also repeal language allowing municipalities to assume jurisdiction over “blighted” areas an entire 5 miles outside of their jurisdictional boundaries for the purpose of undertaking urban renewal projects. Under current law, cities and towns have other statutory authority they can use to annex land and the county clerk must post notice of the required public hearing in the newspaper. This bill would require the county clerk to give notice of the public hearing by mail to all landowners in the territory in addition to posting notice in the paper. This bill helps protect the individual liberty and property of citizens who live outside city limits from overreaching city authorities that they didn’t elect, and who aren’t accountable to them. No regulation without representation!

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
Not RatedHB 0014: Municipal jurisdiction
Position: Not Rated

This bill was run last year as SF0017, and we evaluated it as supporting the principles of individual liberty, property rights, and limited government because it would have helped protect citizens who live outside city limits by placing additional qualifications on municipal extraterritorial jurisdiction authority. This year we aren’t rating this bill, because 2018’s HB0013 addresses this issue in a superior manner by eliminating the municipal extraterritorial jurisdiction provisions in question entirely. Since we utilize how legislators vote on the bills we evaluate to put together a legislator scorecard at the end of the session, scoring a yes vote on HB0014 would penalize legislators who vote in favor of HB0013 but vote against this bill and it would help give the score of legislators who vote for HB0014 a boost even if they don’t vote for HB0013. Last year, factoring a vote on SF0013 as supporting our principles made sense because it was the only available option that would be an improvement to the existing situation, however this year with a superior option on the table, making it a part of our scorecard doesn’t make sense. If you still want an explanation of the changes this bill would make, keep reading:

Under current law, there are instances in which city authorities can exercise jurisdiction over land that lies outside of city limits. This bill would require city authorities to get preapproval for any extraterritorial jurisdiction they plan to exercise from the county commissioners. This would act as a check on city government and, since citizens who live outside of city limits get to vote on their county commissioners, ensure that citizens have recourse at the polls should city governments begin to violate their rights. The bill would also clarify that a plat application for land located within 1 mile of a city but that lies outside city limits only needs the approval of the municipality in addition to the approval of the board of county commissioners if the land in the plat is not regulated by zoning consistent with a comprehensive plan adopted under the commissioners’ authority pursuant to 18-5-202(b).

SupportHB 0019: Wyoming Money Transmitter Act-virtual currency exemption
Position: Support

Wyoming statutes 40-22-101 through 129 regulates “Money Transmitters”, which basically means the state regulates sending/receiving money electronically. Banks and credit unions and the government are exempt because they are already regulated by the government. Non-banks (western union and similar places where you can go to send money to someone) are regulated as money transmitters by all states except for Montana. Wyoming’s money transmitter statutes require licensing, heavy tracking/recording burdens for every transaction, surety bonds or assets (money or insurance) to be set aside to make someone whole if they mess up a transaction, compliance with Bank Secrecy Act regulations etc., and dictate “permissible investments.” Exchanges such as Coinbase allow a person to buy/sell virtual currencies like bitcoin for themselves. These exchanges won’t/can’t operate in in Wyoming because Wyoming treats them as money transmitters. This bill would specifically exempt these types of virtual currency exchanges from regulation as money transmitters, allowing Wyoming residents easier access to utilizing virtual currencies as they see fit.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0020: Game and fish agreements with federal agencies
Position: Support

This bill would require Game and Fish to send any memoranda of understanding or cooperative agreement they enter into with federal agencies pertaining to ‘endangered’ or ‘sensitive’ species to the legislature for review, and make those agreements subject to approval and cancellation by the legislature. It would also require Game and Fish to report on the status of those agreements to the legislature every 3 years. Wyoming: 1 Federal bureaucrats: 0.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
OpposeHB 0027: Continuing teacher contracts for military spouses
Position: Oppose

This bill would allow teachers who are surviving spouses of veterans or are married to military members to achieve continuing contract status a year earlier than non-military spouses/widows. The state of Wyoming seems convinced that affiliation with the military entitles you to special privileges when it comes to educating people’s children, but we beg to differ. The rule of law is unjust if it is not applied equally to everyone.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 0028: Education reporting-children of military personnel
Position: Oppose

Under current law, the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act requires reporting on performance results. It specifically requires reporting on the performance of the following subgroups: “economically disadvantaged students, English language learners, identified racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities and full-time virtual education students.” This bill would add students with a parent or guardian in the military to the list of those groups. Carving folks into groups is not a feature of good government. Studies like these always pave the way for legislation and programs providing preferential treatment/programs etc. for the specified group in question. Adding yet another group to the especially considered cadre does not support limited government or the equal application of the law.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 0036: Move over requirement
Position: Oppose

Apparently the nanny state also believes in the old adage “if at first you don’t succeed… try, try again.” A reiteration of last year’s HB0064, this bill gives you directions on what to do when you see certain cars on the side of the road with flashing lights. The bill would require drivers approaching these vehicles while “driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two (2) or more lanes traveling in the direction of the parked vehicle” to “merge into a lane at least one (1) moving lane apart from the vehicle, except when otherwise directed by a police officer” and those on two lane roads with a speed limit of 45 mph or greater “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.” Like we said last year: 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 legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0038: Election offenses and penalties
Position: Support

Voter eligibility matters. Under current law, it’s an offense to try to register to vote or to vote if you know you’re not an eligible elector. But proving somebody tried to register or voted knowing they couldn’t do so probably isn’t easy. This bill would change Wyoming statute to impose a misdemeanor and up to a $ 200 fine for unknowingly violating these provisions, and up to a year in jail and/or up to a $ 5,000 fine for doing it on purpose. If you continue to willfully flout this law, penalties increase. It is a proper role of government to protect the integrity of our vote.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0043: Tobacco Tax
Position: Oppose

This bill would increase the cigarette tax from [insert_php] $a = file_get_contents(“http://principlesofliberty.org/2018/Wyoming/wyohouse.php”); echo ($a); [/insert_php].60 per pack to .60 per pack, the excise tax on moist snuff from [insert_php] $a = file_get_contents(“http://principlesofliberty.org/2018/Wyoming/wyohouse.php”); echo ($a); [/insert_php].60 per ounce to .60 per ounce, the excise tax on cigars, snuff and other tobacco products purchased or imported by wholesalers from 20 percent to 531/3 percent of the wholesale price, and the excise tax on cigars, snuff and other tobacco products used or stored by consumers from 10 percent to 262/3 percent of the retail price. This bill would also create a floor stock tax proportionate to the tax increases on cigarettes, moist snuff and cigars, snuff and other tobacco products in wholesaler possession.  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.) Like we said about last year’s 2017 HB0168, “using tax policy in an attempt to force citizens to make healthier decisions is not the role of government.” It’s also not appropriate for government to pick particular industries to shoulder a disproportionate share of the state’s expenses.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Limited Government
  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 0049: Unemployment compensation exemption-seasonal employment
Position: Support

Under current law, employers must pay a certain amount per employee into a state-run unemployment compensation fund. There are some exceptions to this policy for employers. This bill would add seasonal employees to the list of exceptions. This makes sense, given that seasonal employees could find themselves unemployed a large part of the year simply due to the nature of seasonal work, and shouldn’t be drawing unemployment simply due to being out of season.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government
  • Fiscal Responsibility
OpposeHB 0054: Interfering with or assaulting a process server
Position: Oppose

Question: do you believe that all people are worth the same amount? We think so, but this bill doesn’t treat them that way. Under current law, the penalty for the assault of any person is a fine of up to $ 750 and the penalty for battery or unlawful contact is imprisonment for up to 6 months and/or up to a $ 750 fine. This bill would double those penalties for committing assault/battery/unlawful contact if you knowingly do it against a “process server” who is performing their duties (or should have known they were a process server). Process servers are defined as a non-peace officer “authorized by law, rules of the court or court order to serve legal process in this state.” Are process servers worth 2x what you are? We don’t think so. If the penalties for a crime aren’t strong enough, make them stronger, but do it for everyone—creating classes for special protections violates the important principle that the law should protect everyone equally.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
SupportHB 0061: Roadside waiver of property rights prohibited
Position: Support

This bill would prohibit law enforcement officers from requesting, requiring, or inducing a person to execute a document purporting to waive the person’s interest in or rights to property seized. The bill states that “Any document obtained by a law enforcement officer purporting to waive a person’s interest in or right to property seized under this section is null and void.” The bill specifies that these provisions do not prohibit the commissioner from requesting an individual to waive their interest in property if, in accordance with current law, a hearing has been conducted and it has been found that probable cause existed at the time of the seizure. Under current law this must be done by a circuit court, officers must testify under oath regarding the facts and circumstances which established probable cause to seize the property, and the hearing must be recorded. It’s a big deal for the state to confiscate your property, and this bill helps protect citizens from intimidation by government officials and ensure that civil asset forfeiture is a process executed in an appropriate manner.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
Not RatedHB 0062: Hemp extracts-amendments
Position: Not Rated

This bill is almost to identical to 2017’s HB0081, which we evaluated last year as supporting the principles of individual liberty and limited government (for an explanation of that bill, read the write up on our website under 2017 House Bills). This year we are not rating this bill because there is a very similar 2018 bill HB0064 which addresses the issue in a superior manner by completely eliminating the registration card system currently in place for hemp use (whereas HB0062 would modify it, which would be an improvement relative to the existing situation, but not as great an improvement as HB0081 would make.) Since we track how legislators vote on the bills we evaluate in order to put together a legislator scorecard at the end of the session, rating both of this year’s very similar bills as a support could unfairly penalize legislators who choose one bill over the other, voting yes for one and no for the other, so we have chosen to only rate the better of the two bills this year. If you still want an explanation of the changes this bill would make, keep reading:

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 a licensed physician determines 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 subject to similar requirements. Currently, adults can get a registration card on behalf of a minor but only for seizure disorders or intractable epilepsy with a signed statement from a neurologist, and adult dependents are not mentioned.

SupportHB 0064: Use of hemp extracts
Position: Support

This bill would authorize people over 18 years of age to possess and use hemp extract, and eliminate the registration requirements for the use hemp that are currently in place. A parent or guardian can still administer hemp extract to a minor under this bill. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that at POL we believe the role of government is to protect life, liberty, and property. Our definition of the protection of life does not include protecting people from themselves. We think that you should be free to make your own choices (that would be our principle of individual liberty) and live with the consequences of those choices to your gain or to your detriment (that would be our principle of personal responsibility). We think you’re capable of making your own decisions when it comes to the use of hemp extract just like you’re capable of making your own decisions when it comes to anything else.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0070: Open blockchain tokens-exemptions
Position: Support

Advancements in technology have defined the progress of civilization. From the lightbulb to smart phones, new technologies change the way we live our lives in a profound way. Enter blockchain technology. To oversimplify, blockchain technology, also sometimes called distributed ledger technology, uses cryptography and a protocol to record transaction data in a way that is publicly and independently verified by multiple parties and cannot be altered later in time. It provides a way for multiple parties to interact in a public manner while maintaining individual security. BitCoin is built on blockchain technology. While BitCoin has taken up the headlines as an alternative currency, there are many other uses of blockchain technology. Unfortunately, this cutting edge tech and its applications are being hampered by existing regulations that shouldn’t really apply to them. This bill would clarify that certain open blockchain tokens are not securities, and therefore shouldn’t be regulated as securities. These tokens are more analogous to pre-paid gift cards or reward points than investments. This bill would exempt a person that develops, sells or facilitates the exchange of an open blockchain token from the laws intended to regulate securities.

POL’s analysis of this bill is conceptual in nature – that is, we are not experts in blockchain technology. But we do know enough to see what this bill is doing, which is eliminating potential regulatory burdens that shouldn’t be inappropriately applied to this technology. We heard testimony in committee that companies travelled to the hearing from outside the state because of Wyoming’s work in this area, and a company from Nova Scotia has already moved to Cheyenne and begun to hire folks because bills like this are in the works. Maintaining a free market open to new technologies would be yet another reason for businesses to be attracted to our great state!

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0073: Safety belt usage
Position: Oppose

Nanny state is here, no need to fear! Just kidding. You actually should fear—fear the nanny state, that is. Under current law, drivers must require anyone in their car under 12 years old to wear a seatbelt. This bill would extend that requirement to apply to all passengers under 16 years of age. Is it smart to wear a seatbelt and make your kids wear them? Yup. But if you let the state start telling you how to comport yourself and take care of your kids in every conceivable situation, what principled basis do you have to tell the nanny state it can’t weigh in on things like how much sugar your kids should eat, what activities (or sports!) are “too dangerous” for children etc.? After all, the state just wants what’s best for you, right?! (sarcasm.) They say that roads to bad places are paved with good intentions. Well-intentioned government overreach is still government overreach, and it leads to bad places.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0090: Country of origin recognition-USA beef
Position: Oppose

A very similar bill to this one has been run unsuccessfully in the Colorado legislature the last two years. Current law already requires that retailers clearly label meat that is the product of other countries as “imported,” naming the country of its origin. This bill would require every retailer who sells beef in Wyoming to “place in the immediate vicinity of the beef a conspicuous placard that is clearly visible and readily viewable by the public to designate the beef as imported beef or USA beef. The placard for imported beef shall indicate each country in which the animal was born, raised or slaughtered.” At POL we love us some locally sourced beef, but it’s not the role of government to require retailers to post signs identifying where their beef was born and raised. If consumers really want to know, they can demand that information—without the state mandating that retailers provide a placard. You can find ‘gluten free’ food offered and advertised everywhere, without a state law/mandate. That’s what happens when consumers create a demand. If consumers don’t create a market for something via their purchasing choices, it’s not the role of government to do it for them. In Colorado one of the arguments for this bill was that there are problems with consumers being defrauded as a result of bad federal labeling laws, but more government intervention in the free market is not the answer to problems started by government intervention in the free market.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
SupportHB 0101: Electronic corporate records
Position: Support

It seems like everyone has heard of BitCoin. What most people don’t understand is that while BitCoin is very intriguing, the even bigger story is the blockchain technology upon which BitCoin is built. It is hard to overstate the magnitude of the effect that blockchain technology will have on our lives in the future.

To oversimplify, blockchain technology, also sometimes called distributed ledger technology, uses cryptography and a protocol to record transaction data in a way that is publicly and independently verified by multiple parties and cannot be altered later in time. It provides a way for multiple parties to interact in a public manner while maintaining individual security. It’s sort of a new form of database management.

While BitCoin has taken up the headlines as an alternative currency, there are many other uses of blockchain technology. Basically any transaction that you would want to verify, document, and ‘set in stone’ that can uniquely and securely identify each participant is a candidate for blockchain application. Whether it’s transmitting currency to someone, transferring a car title, recording stock ownership, recording a shareholder vote, or recording a marriage license, blockchain technology can be used for many types of transaction. Wall street firms are using it today in ever-expanding ways.

This bill basically allows the use of blockchain technology for corporate records such as identifying shareholders, authorizing corporations to accept blockchain verifications/signatures for shareholder voting, and tells the secretary of state to check the state’s rules to be compliant with this new way of documenting these types of records. POL’s analysis of this bill is conceptual in nature – that is, we are not experts in blockchain technology. But we do know enough to see what this bill is doing, which is really quite innovative and forward thinking and opens up opportunities for corporations to utilize this ground breaking technology if they choose to do so to conduct their business in our state. Yet another reason for businesses to be attracted to our great state.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0103: Wyoming Legal Tender Act
Position: Support

This bill would recognize “specie” as legal tender in the state of Wyoming and exempt it from taxation as property or taxation when you buy, sell or exchange one form of legal tender for another form of legal tender (because it’s being treated as money—not taxable property). Specie is defined in the bill as “(A) Coin having gold or silver content; or (B) Refined gold or silver bullion which is coined, stamped or imprinted with its weight and purity and valued primarily based on its metal content and not its form.” The bill directs Wyoming courts to “require specific performance as a remedy for breach of any contract provision that specifically provides for a type or form of specie as tender, regardless of whether the specie is legal tender under this article.” Treating money as money, and enforcing private contracts? Sounds like the proper role of government to us!

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0105: Prohibition on sanctuary cities and counties
Position: Support

This bill would prohibit governing bodies of cities, towns, and counties from implementing or enforcing any policy that prohibits or restricts local officials or employees from communicating or cooperating with federal officials or law enforcement officers with regard to reporting immigration status information while the local official or employee is acting within the scope of their official duties. Under the bill, any governing body of a city or town that violates this prohibition is subject to the withholding of state funding and state administered federal funding (unless otherwise specifically provided by law) and state agencies that provide funding to cities or towns must require certification of compliance as a condition of funding. Cities, towns, and counties must certify to the secretary of state that they are in compliance with these provisions by July 1, 2018. It’s appropriate for the federal government to enact and enforce federal immigration law. The state should not undermine the federal government’s execution of its proper role. This bill ensures that cities, counties, and towns within the state of Wyoming don’t usurp or undermine federal immigration authority. This helps support a proper balance of state and federal powers and helps ensure that federal immigration law will be applied equally to those in violation of that law in the state of Wyoming, which supports the equal application of the rule of law.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
  • States vs. Federal Balance of Power
OpposeHB 0113: Violence against a health care provider-enhanced penalties
Position: Oppose

We addressed a similar issue in our last report with HB 0054 Interfering with or assaulting a process server. What we said in our write up of that bill still applies: “Do you believe that all people are worth the same amount? We think so, but this bill doesn’t treat them that way. Under current law, the penalty for the assault of any person is a fine of up to $ 750 and the penalty for battery or unlawful contact is imprisonment for up to 6 months and/or up to a $ 750 fine.” HB0013 would make it a high misdemeanor punished by imprisonment for up to a year, and/or a fine of up to $ 5,000.00 to commit one of those offenses against a health care provider while the health care provider is acting within the scope of their employment. These are much higher fines and imprisonment penalties for the same crime if committed against different people. Are health care providers worth 2x the jail time and over 6x as much in fines as compared to other people? We don’t think so. If the penalties for a crime aren’t strong enough, make them stronger, but do it equally for everyone—creating classes and giving them “extra” protection under the law by enacting stricter penalties for harming them violates the important principle that the law should protect everyone equally.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Equal Protection/Rule of Law
OpposeHB 0117: Domestic abuse-adverse landlord actions and phone numbers
Position: Oppose

This bill does two things: First, it prohibits a landlord from taking “adverse action” against a tenant, an applicant or a household member’s request for assistance from a law enforcement agency relating to domestic abuse or sexual violence. Adverse action includes terminating a tenancy, refusing to enter into or renew a tenancy, increasing rent, decreasing services, or imposing different rules/conditions/standards on the tenancy. The bill does qualify that this does not apply “if the landlord has previously given the tenant a written warning regarding the conduct of the perpetrator relating to domestic abuse or sexual violence” and “(A) The tenant consents to the perpetrator’s presence on the landlord’s premises knowing that the perpetrator is an actual and imminent threat to the safety of other persons on the premises; or (B) the perpetrator is an unauthorized occupant and the tenant consents to the perpetrator living on the premises owned by the landlord and covered by the lease without the landlord’s permission.” While we feel for the victims of domestic violence, the principle of property rights means you’re entitled to use your property however you see fit—including using any criteria you want when determining who to rent to. Sometimes people will refuse to do business with you for reasons you don’t like, but using government to violate the liberty of those people isn’t an appropriate response. The second thing this bill would do is allow the court to transfer the sole right to use and sole financial responsibility for a telephone number to a petitioner as part of an order of protection. The government shouldn’t be able to transfer the property of the account holder (in this case the contract holder’s contractual right to a phone number) to someone else, because the government should not be able to alter private contracts. The free market depends upon property rights and the sanctity of private contracts.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Property Rights
  • Free Markets
OpposeHB 0124: Health care transparency act
Position: Oppose

This bill would require health care providers to tell patients at the time of the appointment and give them notice in writing before providing nonemergency services which health care plans in the health care provider participates in/is affiliated with. If the health care provider does not participate in the network of a patient’s (or prospective patient’s) health care plan, the provider must inform the patient/potential patient of the amount that the provider will bill them (or at least give them an estimate) before providing nonemergency services. This must be in writing if the patient so requests. The bill also requires providers to “establish and update a list of the provider’s standard charges for items and hospital services, including for diagnosis related groups established under section 1886(d)(4) of the Social Security Act and a statement that physician services provided in a hospital may not be included in the hospital’s charges and physicians who provide services in the hospital may or may not participate with the same health care plans as the hospital. This list shall be provided upon request.” Liberty and personal responsibility go hand in hand. Liberty means you are free to make your own choices as long as you don’t infringe upon the rights of others; personal responsibility means you must accept the consequences of your decisions, to your betterment or your detriment. It is not appropriate for government to separate personal responsibility from liberty by imposing mandates on providers to “ensure” you get you all the information that you should ask for prior to getting health care. Government isn’t your mother. If something is missing a price tag at a store, we hope you don’t just say “just charge it to my card.” If you do, that’s on you. See also our explanation of 2018’s HB0161.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
OpposeHB 0127: Online obscenity prevention
Position: Oppose

This bill would prohibit businesses from manufacturing, selling or distributing an internet enabled device (cell phone, lap top, tablet…) in this state unless the device contains software blocking the device from accessing “obscene” internet websites. Obscene internet websites are defined by the bill as sites containing pornography, child pornography, or facilitating illegal acts like human trafficking, prostitution, and sexual servitude. The bill requires people making/selling/distributing electronic devices to make “reasonable and ongoing efforts” to ensure that their software is updated and continues to function effectively. Consumers over 18 can have the software be disabled, but they must make that request in writing and receive and acknowledge a document describing “the potential dangers of the content that may be accessible as a result of deactivating the blocking software.” The bill requires any person making/selling/distributing electronic devices to maintain a way for people to report websites that should be blocked, or are blocked but shouldn’t be, and if the person doesn’t respond a court can order the manufacturer/seller/distributer to make “reasonable efforts” to remedy the situation. The bill makes people who violate the provisions of these proposed statutes guilty of the crime of promoting obscenity.

It is not the role of government to determine what is best for you and to violate your liberty and the liberty of people providing goods and services to impose that on you “for your own good.” We aren’t arguing that pornography doesn’t have a negative impact; but it’s not the role of government to protect you from your choices by mandating that manufacturers censor obscene materials any more than it’s the role of government to define and censor “dangerous political ideas.”

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
SupportHB 0141: Concealed weapons in places of worship
Position: Support

This bill eliminates Wyoming’s current statutory prohibition on carrying a concealed firearm into “any place where persons are assembled for public worship, without the written consent of the chief administrator of that place.” Under the current law, even if your church is on private property and fully supports your right to protect yourself, the state forces you to get a permission slip to exercise your Second Amendment rights.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
SupportHB 0145: Pharmaceutical manufacturers-promotion of off label use
Position: Support

Let’s start with some definitions so it’s clear what we’re talking about. “Off-Label Use” is defined by this bill as, “the use of a United States food and drug administration approved drug, biological product or device in a manner other than the use the United States food and drug administration approved.” When the FDA, in its infinite wisdom after an insanely expensive and bureaucratic approval process finally approves the use of a drug for a specific condition, then that drug can only be promoted/prescribed for that condition. If it turns out that the drug is also great for treating a different condition, then the drug manufacturer would have to go through the approval process again to get the FDA’s blessing to use the drug for the other condition too.

A highly simplified hypothetical example would be something like this: Drug A has been FDA approved for use in stopping runny noses. It later turns out that the drug is also good for lowering cholesterol and it’s WAY cheaper than the currently approved cholesterol drugs they can promote for prescription. However, manufacturers can’t promote this already FDA approved drug for lowering cholesterol— they can only promote it for use on runny noses. What’s a doc to do? Lie and say that they’re giving you this Rx for a runny nose when really it’s to treat your high cholesterol at a cheaper price? How would the doctors know that this option exists if the manufacturer can’t tell him about it? This bill would allow drug manufacturers to engage in the “truthful promotion” of an off-label use of a prescription drug, biological product, or device and specify that doing so doesn’t classify as “misbranding” under WY state statute. The bill would not force insurers to provide coverage for off label use, but they could if they wanted to.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0163: Physician noncompete clause
Position: Oppose

The free market means employers and employees are free to set and commit to the terms of a mutually agreeable arrangement. If an employer sets terms that you don’t like, you are free to utilize your individual liberty not to work from them. Enter noncompete clauses. Noncompete clauses are a clause in a contract under which one party (usually an employee) agrees not to enter into competition against another party for a certain period of time upon leaving employment. Example: a potential employer says, “Hey, you’re such a great salesman (or doctor, or whatever…) that if we offer you an employment contract, then as part of that contract we need you to agree that you won’t start working for a competing company for a 12 month period within 100 miles of us if you up and leave after getting fully trained by us and taught all about our secret sauce.” You can either agree to those terms, negotiate them, or say no thanks and find employment elsewhere. An argument you might hear for this bill is that there are a limited number of medical employers in Wyoming, and individuals HAVE to sign such an agreement in order to work here because there’s not enough competitive offers for employment. But much of the reason that the healthcare is in such a bad position right now is because of government intervention. In a truly free market, competition creates lower prices and incentivizes better services. The government should not be able to dictate the terms of private contracts, and the fact that they do so extensively in the health care market is much of the reason we have such high prices etc. The free market is built upon the freedom for two parties to freely come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. This bill would continue the cycle of government intervention creating government problems creating more government “solutions” creating more government problems…

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Free Markets
SupportHB 0168: Stand your ground-2
Position: Support

Please see our explanation of SF0071, which is very similar to HB00168. We explain both bills there. If both SF0071 and HB0061 make it out of their chambers of origin and cross over, we will determine how to factor legislator votes into our scorecard in a way that doesn’t penalize legislators who choose to support one form of the bill over the other. Until then, both of these bills will be evaluated as supporting our principles and legislator votes will be factored into our scorecard accordingly.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Property Rights
  • Limited Government
OpposeHB 0171: Minimum wage
Position: Oppose

This bill was run last year as HB0140, and but failed on first reading in the House. This bill would raise the minimum wage from $ 5.15 to $ 9.50 but permit 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. The negative consequences of minimum wage law violations of the free market are pretty well documented.

This legislation opposes the principles of:

  • Individual Liberty
  • Free Markets
  • Limited Government
SupportHB 0192: Legislator communications on recordings and broadcasts
Position: Support

This bill would specify that “the recording or broadcast of a communication made by a legislator or legislative staff which would otherwise be confidential and privileged under this section shall not be deemed confidential and privileged to the extent that the communication is audible on the official legislative service office recording or broadcast of a public meeting of a joint interim committee, select committee or task force.” Currently, interim committee meetings are recorded and those recordings are allegedly available to the public. The problem is that they aren’t made available to the public until LSO has an attorney review them (interim committee meetings often last for two days, so it’s a lot of audio) to make sure that there were no privileged or confidential communications between an attorney and a legislator accidentally caught by the audio recording. The thinking is that a legislator could ask for a legal opinion while sitting in the committee hearing, and in the course of whispering it to the legislator the communication could accidentally get recorded by the legislator’s microphone for all to hear. The problem with this is it means you can’t get the audio recordings for months. Principles of Liberty is still waiting to receive audio from an interim committee meeting held in September, 2017 that apparently has not been reviewed yet. It is now January, 2018. That’s not transparency in government. This bill will make it much easier for the public to actually get and use the audio that’s allegedly being recorded for their benefit. If legislators need a legal opinion, we’re confident they can exercise their personal responsibility and step away from the microphone.

This legislation supports the principles of:

  • Limited Government