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The People’s Review

 

Dear Friend:

 

Before a legislative website existed in Wyoming, it was nearly impossible for Wyoming’s people to find vote records from the State Legislature. The Equality State Policy Center aimed to improve this lack of accessibility by creating the Legislative Accountability Project, an extensive volume of every vote recorded during each legislative session. While this was a great resource, unfortunately, it was only utilized by those willing to dig through a behemoth document and who were at the Capitol on a daily basis anyways.

 

Two decades later, we now have a legislative website yet a large disconnect between Wyoming’s people and the decisions being made by those they elect still exists. We want to bridge this gap by launching The People’s Review – a streamlined, digestible version of our old accountability project that connects you with the governmental decisions most affecting your life and the future of our state by enhancing transparency and accessibility.

 

A representative democracy only functions when the decisions of our elected officials are accessible to you, the people they represent. Our future is dependent on informed and engaged voters like you in order to hold our elected officials accountable to their decisions. To do so, you need to have accessible voting records throughout all levels of Wyoming’s government.

 

The People’s Review is a tool for you to understand our elected official’s values and vision for Wyoming, while placing the power of government back in your hands. Through this project, we want to inspire you to learn more about governmental process and to ignite discourse between you and our elected officials.

 

This year, The People’s Review highlights how each Wyoming legislator voted on select bills from the 2017 General Legislative Session. These bills were chosen by our coalition to represent the issues most relevant to our vision for Wyoming.

 

While vote records are typically indicative of where legislators stand on issues, they might not grasp the complexity of their votes. Legislators often vote for or against a bill for a variety of reasons that may extend beyond the initial purpose of the legislation. We encourage you to contact your legislator to have a conversation on the intentions behind their decision and your own perspective.

 

Engage, ask questions, stay informed, and remember, there is nothing more powerful in our democracy than your voice.

 

The ESPC is proud to present The People’s Review to you, our coalition members, and our elected officials. Join us in celebrating this project by signing up for updates on our work and supporting our efforts.

 

Sincerely,

Phoebe Stoner

ESPC Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

(HB140 Bill Failed – ESPC Supported Bill)

Would have increased Wyoming’s minimum wage from $5.15 to match the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Currently, Wyoming is tied for having the lowest minimum wage in the country. We believe a minimum wage increase would provide a needed boost to Wyoming’s economy, especially for working families around the state.

Omnibus Education Program

(HB236Bill Passed – ESPC Opposed Bill)

Cuts an additional $34.5 million in 2017-2018 from Wyoming’s public schools. Initially, this bill was a comprehensive public education finance bill including both cuts and alternative revenue options designed to help navigate the state through the difficult financial times we find ourselves in. New revenue sources must be explored in the face of Wyoming’s economic downturn rather than simply continuing to cut funding for our public education system. We believe these cuts to our public education system went too far by not including additional revenue streams in the final version of this bill.

(HB75 Bill Passed – ESPC Supported Bill)

Allows first-time, nonviolent offenders to regain their right to vote automatically once they have completed their sentence. By streamlining the process and reducing governmental waste, first-time, nonviolent offenders no longer have to wait 5 years after completing their sentence and navigate a convoluted application process to regain their right to vote and participate in our democratic process. We believe support is a more effective way for people to reintegrate into our communities and democratic process rather than punitive consequences.

(HB276 Bill Failed – ESPC Supported Bill)

Would have required the Legislative Service Office to record Interim Committee meetings and archive them within a month for public access. This simple gesture of transparent government would have had no financial or staff implications. We believe transparency is vital to the democratic process and increases civic participation in our state government.

(SF153Bill Failed – ESPC Supported Bill)

Would have extended wage and employment protections to Wyoming’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. This bill would have been a positive step towards ensuring LGBT workers could not be discriminated against in hiring or pay practices due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. We believe protecting LGBT workers from discrimination is both good for business and for all Wyoming’s people.

(HB76Bill Passed – ESPC Supported Bill)

Establishes a comprehensive Native American history program to be taught in all Wyoming public schools. The curriculum will be designed in consultation with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation. We believe a complete history of Wyoming, one that includes the history of American Indians and Indigenous people, is essential to cultural understanding and inclusion.

(HB288 Bill Passed – ESPC Supported Bill)

Increases the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s fees relating to licenses, permits, and applications, as well as watercraft licensing fees. We believe these increases were necessary so the Game and Fish Department could continue its vital work despite funding cuts from the state.

(SF157 Bill Failed – ESPC Opposed Bill)

Would have diminished the ability of Wyoming teachers to obtain continuing contract status. This bill would have undermined Due Process of law in employment for teachers, while threatening their job security. We believe job security is paramount if Wyoming’s teachers are to establish themselves within a community.

(SF89 Bill Passed – ESPC Supported Bill)

Creates automatic disability payment eligibility for firefighters who develop cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, and other work related diseases. Firefighters in Wyoming who develop these diseases are now presumed to have developed them while on the job. We believe making disability more accessible for the hardworking firefighters of Wyoming is a positive step toward repaying them for their public service.


In light of our state’s recent revenue shortfalls, education funding was easily the most pressing and contested issue of the 2017 General Legislative Session. While this session could have been an opportunity for our legislators to create new revenue streams and stabilize school funding outside of our boom and bust economic cycle, many decided not to act. The cutting of an additional $34.5 million in 2017- 2018 through School Finance – Omnibus Education Program (HB236) will only worsen the impact of similar cuts we experienced last year. We must seek new revenue streams to fund our education system. Failure to do so will jeopardize our students’ futures.

Think of the term “continuing contract status” as a shorthand for job security. During the 2017 General Legislative Session, the ability of Wyoming teachers to obtain job security was called into question through Education – Continuing Contract Teacher Status (SF157). Our state offers its employees job security after one year, while our teachers must wait three years. How do we expect new or young teachers to settle down in our communities without some guarantee of job security? Obtaining continuing contract status must be readily attainable for Wyoming’s teachers. Teachers who have job security bring more to their classrooms, their communities, and Wyoming.

The most important conservation related issue in the 2017 General Legislative Session came in the form of two bills that would have set up a framework for the transfer of our federal public lands to the state – Public Lands Constitutional Amendment (SJ3) and Public Lands Management Extension (HB293). The transfer and possible sale of our public lands was opposed by the majority of Wyomingites. In the months leading up to this past session, a diverse and widespread opposition was demonstrated through rallies, petitions, social media, and by hundreds of people across our state showing up to interim committee meetings to voice their concerns. The result? We have no vote records to show our legislator’s stance on this issue. These bills never saw the light of day this year – a testament to the power the people have over our government.

Between the conclusion of the 2017 General Legislative Session and the release of The People’s Review, Representative Mark Baker (House District 48) and Representative Robert McKim (House District 21) resigned. Representative Clark Stith was appointed to replace Representative Baker in June 2017, while no replacement had been named for Representative McKim by the release of this project. Consequently, all three are not included in this version of The People’s Review.

While some legislators have multiple counties in their district, we organized county regions based upon the county predominately located within a legislator’s district.


See Where These Legislators Stand

Cathy Connolly (HD 13-Laramie)

Dan Furphy (HD 14-Laramie)

Charles Pelkey (HD 45-Laramie)

Bill Haley (HD 46- Centennial)

Chris Rothfuss (SD 9-Laramie)

Glenn Moniz (SD 10-Laramie)

See Where These Legislators Stand

Eric Barlow (HD 3- Gillette)

Timothy Hallinan (HD 32- Gillette)

Bill Pownall (HD 52- Gillette)

Jeff Wasserburger (SD 23- Gillette)

Michael Von Flatern (SD 24- Gillette)

Scott Clem (HD 31- Gillette)

Roy Edwards (HD 53- Gillette)

See Where These Legislators Stand

Tyler Lindholm (HD 1-Sundance)

Hans Hunt (HD 2- Newcastle)

Dan Kirkbride (HD 4- Chugwater)

Cheri Steinmetz (HD 5- Lingle)

Aaron Clausen (HD 6- Douglas)

Ogden Driskill (SD 1-Devils Tower)

Brian Boner (SD 2-Douglas)

Curt Meier (SD 3- LaGrange)

See Where These Legislators Stand

Jim Allen (HD 33-Lander)

Tim Salazar (HD 34-Dubois)

Lloyd Larsen (HD 54-Lander)

David Miller (HD 55-Riverton)

Cale Case (SD 25-Lander)

Eli Bebout (SD 26-Riverton)

See Where These Legislators Stands

Sue Wilson (HD 7-Cheyenne)

Bob Nicholas (HD 8-Cheyenne)

Landon Brown (HD 9-Cheyenne)

John Eklund (HD 10-Cheyenne)

Jared Olsen (HD 11-Cheyenne)

Lars Lone (HD 12-Cheyenne)

Bill Henderson (HD 41-Cheyenne)

Jim Blackburn (HD 42-Cheyenne)

Dan Zwonitzer (HD 43-Cheyenne)

James Byrd (HD 44-Cheyenne)

Tara Nethercott (SD 4-Cheyenne)

Fred Emerich (SD 5-Cheyenne)

Anthony Bouchard (SD 6-Cheyenne)

Stephan Pappas (SD 7-Cheyenne)

Affie Ellis (SD 08-Cheyenne)

See Where These Legislators Stand

Debbie Bovee (HD 36-Casper)

Steve Harshman (HD 37-Casper)

Tom Walters (HD 38-Casper)

Pat Sweeney (HD 58-Casper)

Joe MacGuire (HD 35-Casper)

Bunky Loucks (HD 59-Casper)

Jerry Obermueller (HD 56-Casper)

Chuck Gray (HD 57-Casper)

Bill Landen (SD 27-Casper)

James Anderson (SD 28-Casper)

Drew Perkins (SD 29-Casper)

Charles Scott (SD 30-Casper)

See Where These Legislators Stand

Debbie Bovee (HD 36-Casper)

Scott Court (HD 24- Cody)

Dan Laursen (HD 25- Powell)

Jamie Flitner (HD 26- Greybull)

Mike Greear (HD 27- Worland)

Nathan Winters (HD 28- Thermopolis)

David Northrup (HD 50-Powell)

Hank Coe (SD 18- Cody)

R. Ray Peterson (SD 19- Cowley)

Wyatt Agar (SD 20- Thermopolis)

See Where These Legislators Stand

Mark Kinner (HD 29-Sheridan)

Mark Jennings (HD 30-Sheridan)

Bo Biteman (HD 51- Ranchester)

Mike Madden (HD 40- Buffalo)

Bruce Burns (SD 21-Sheridan)

Dave Kinskey (SD 22-Sheridan)

See Where These Legislators Stand

Mike Gierau (HD 16-Jackson)

Albert Sommers (HD20-Pinedale)

Marti Halverson (HD 22-Etna)

Andy Schwartz (HD 23-Jackson)

Leland Christensen (SD 17-Alta)

Dan Dockstader (SD 16-Afton)

See Where These Legislators Stand

Donald Burkhart (HD 15- Rawlins)

JoAnn Dayton (HD 17-Rock Springs)

Tom Crank (HD 18- Kemmerer)

Danny Eyre (HD 19- Lyman)

Garry Piiparinen (HD 49- Evanston)

Jerry Paxton (HD 47- Encampment)

Stan Blake (HD 39-Green River)

John Freeman (HD 60-Green River)

Larry Hicks (SD 11-Baggs)

Liisa Anselmi-Dalton (SD 12-Rock Springs)

John Hastert (SD 13-Green River)

Fred Baldwin (SD 14- Kemmerer)

Paul Barnard (SD 15- Evanston)

 

 

 

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