Legislative leaders revive talk of special session on SF 104

By Gregory Nickerson
— March 5, 2014

Leaders of the Wyoming legislature revived talk of a special session to address the duties of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Management Council directed the Joint Education Committee to draft legislation responding to the Supreme Court ruling that Senate File 104 is unconstitutional. That 2013 law removed Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill (R) from management of the Wyoming Department of Education. Gov. Mead appointed Richard Crandall Director of the department to take over Hill’s duties.

A bill that would have called a special session of the Legislature died in the House on Monday.

“The idea is to get something moving and in position so we have a plan,” said Sen. Eli Bebout (R-Riverton) of the directive to the Education committee. “This provides the legislature a chance to look at the issue, be deliberative, and move forward on an issue I think all of us want to be resolved.”

House majority floor leader Rep. Kermit Brown (R-Laramie) allowed  Senate File 106 – State education administration to die on Monday afternoon. He said legislation to call a special session would be premature without further direction from District Court.  The state Supreme Court ordered Laramie County District Court Judge Thomas Campbell to direct the state’s compliance with its decision on Senate File 104. No one is certain how long that might take.

The committee must provide “alternative draft bills including a bill implementing state education duties prior to enactment of 2013 SF 104” to Management Council by April 30, according to a Management Council  amendment. The Joint Education Committee would be required to make a recommendation for calling a special session. Any Joint Education Committee decision about recommending the draft bills to the larger Legislature would require a majority vote of both the Senate and House members of the committee. 

Asked the reason for the April 30 deadline, Management Council Chair Sen. Tony Ross (R-Cheyenne) said that leadership wanted draft bills relating to the duties of the Superintendent of Education to be available prior to the May 15 filing deadline to run for that office. Should a special session be called to vote on bills coming out of the Joint Interim Education Committee, it would tentatively be held in May.

To read about Senate File 106, click here.

— Gregory Nickerson is the government and policy reporter for WyoFile. He writes the Capitol Beat blog. 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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