Legislature kicks into high gear: Hill files lawsuit, gun bills pass, seismic dustup

By Gregory Nickerson
January 29, 2013

The Wyoming legislature just had one of its most eventful days of the session thus far. Committees, both houses, and the Governor’s office all contributed to the action as lawmakers rushed to meet the Friday deadline for getting legislation on the floor in the house of origin. Any measures still in committee next Monday will be considered dead.

In the morning, the House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly passed several Second Amendment bills.

The gun bills included House Bill 105, a measure to allow concealed carry of firearms in schools, and House Bill 104 that calls for the arrest of officials seeking to enforce new federal gun laws. The audience at the meeting stood almost unanimously in favor of the bills, and the committee passed them by a vote of 8-1.

In the afternoon the Senate began a long and involved debate on Senate File 136, which aims to stop seismic companies from trespassing on private land. After two hours of testimony with a break in the middle, at least one legislator appeared to fall asleep. The bill passed first reading.

In the midst of the Senate seismic debate, Gov. Mead called a press conference in which he signed Senate File 104. That controversial bill transferred many duties of Supt. of Public Instruction Cindy Hill to interim director Jim Rose, who currently heads up the Community College Commission. The bill is effective immediately.

Hill promptly responded by serving a lawsuit to Gov. Mead. In the aftermath Rep. Steve Watt (R-Rock Springs) distributed a flyer to the Capitol press corps calling for Cindy Hill to run for governor.

Also in the afternoon, House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Keith Gingery (R-Jackson) called for his colleagues to vote down House Bill 200. The bill came out of Gingery’s committee yesterday with an amendment that would allow concealed carry of weapons in government meetings.

Debate on the floor the House stripped off the amendment. That brought back the original version of HB 200 to allow concealed carry in meetings only with the permission of the head of the entity conducting the meeting.

Unsatisfied with the permission to carry requirement, Gingery moved that the bill be voted down, and his colleagues complied.

Tomorrow morning the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear Senate File 131, which deals with discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The House Education Committee will debate several measures on education accountability that hinged on the passage of Senate File 104.  The legislature may hear the budget bill by the end of the week.

For a committee schedules and floor schedules, click here.

— Gregory Nickerson is the government and policy reporter for WyoFile. He is based in Cheyenne during the 2013 legislative session. Contact him at greg@wyofile.com.
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Gregory Nickerson worked as government and policy reporter for WyoFile from 2012-2015. He studied history at the University of Wyoming. Follow Greg on Twitter at @GregNickersonWY and on www.facebook.com/GregoryNickersonWriter/

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