There will be many more opportunities to review bills as the 2019 legislative session unfolds. Here is a first rundown of what our beloved elected officials are up to; for references, open this link in a separate tab where you can review each bill in detail.
HB7 - Wyoming Health insurance pool amendments. This bill should be on your watch list. We will untangle its significance as we move forward; its impact may be bigger than a cursory reading suggests.
HB8 - Major maintenance multiplier. This one is about the funding of school maintenance, and appears to seek a more stable funding over time. Not a bad idea, but whoever wants to vote for it should keep in mind that when it comes to the cost of our school system, this one represents pennies on the dollar.
HB43 - Midwife Services in Medicaid. Representatives Barlow, Salazar, Simpson and Wilson, and Senators Anselmi-Dalton, Baldwin and Kost, who sponsor this bill, should present us taxpayers with a cost assessment before this bill goes any further. This is a classic case of creeping expansion of tax-funded health care.
HB58 - Sunset date for Wyoming investment in nursing program. Again, a cost assessment would be much appreciated.
HBs 64, 66, 67, 68. Watch out. These bills will raise your taxes. Expect big impact. We will keep a very close eye on them.
SF5 - Budget Reserve Account repeal. I fail to see the point in this bill, unless there is a concealed motive behind it. It makes no apparent sense from a public-finance viewpoint to repeal the BRA and let the money slush around in the General Fund. However, from a political viewpoint it has merit: it is easier to spend the money if it is already in the General Fund.
SF12 - Business licensing fees. I just explained, in a comprehensive statistical analysis, that Wyoming has the second-costliest government sector in the country. We cannot afford to jack up taxes, fees and charges anymore than we already have.
SF13 - Eminent domain for wind energy collector systems. This one actually looks like a good idea. Good job, Senator Case.
SF16 - Community development districts. Be very careful about this one. It will effectively lead to a sprawling, new level of government. It is not the case that it creates this new level, but it allows it to expand. Every development district will have its own authority to raise revenue; the only way that a bill like this can make sense is if it mandates the transfer of tax revenue from one level of government to another. This should be done in proportion to the transfer of government authority to the districts. If there is no such transfer, it means that the creation of a new development district adds to the size of government - and that is something we cannot afford here in Wyoming.
That's all on legislative bills. For now...