Live, Independent, Internet Radio and News Media

We Now Have a Letters to the Editor Section!  Click Here.

Back to Articles

Letter to the Editor:
Where are the Consequences?

Fmr. Rep. Tom Reeder 
February 6, 2024

Dear Editor, 

  Reading some good bills that are being introduced this session made me realize we have totally missed the boat.   

The bills that pass and become Laws, have no teeth. If someone, some agency, public officer, etc. does not follow the law, there is no penalty.   How can a bill that passes be called a law if it is not enforceable?   

I believe Legislators have forgotten about inserting penalties. There are so many bills that have been submitted and existing bills that have passed to become laws, that have no way of being enforced other than going to court and hiring an attorney to enforce them. Why leave this up to attorneys and judges?   

We need to submit bills with a penalty. If you do not follow the statute (law) then here is the penalty.   For example, bill 24LSO-0323, which is a good bill in my opinion, has no teeth. Any agency or services that use child labor, what is the penalty? You would have to hire an attorney, go to court, a judge would decide and who knows. Is a judge going to go against the one who has appointed him or her?   

If we would just put into the bills “the penalty for violating this act is termination, loss of funding, misdemeanor, felony, etc.”   

We leave too much authority to the agencies promulgating their own rules. What started this?   

Example: I was involved in a situation with an elected County officer, they did not follow the election law statues.  I contacted our previous SOS (an attorney) and presented him with the situation. He read the statues with me, and he agreed there is no penalty provided if they do not follow the statute.   

We need to go through the existing statutes and amend penalties to those statutes that need them. Bingo, we have laws that can be enforced. Bills that pass and are not enforceable cause a need for more appointed judges, clerks, courtrooms, etc. This results in government growth and the need for higher taxes.   

Let’s set our sights on a complete bill. Please include a penalty or make sure a penalty exists if not followed. 

It’s very frustrating when a good sounding bill has no teeth.   

Respectfully Submitted,   
Tom Reeder

Tom Reeder represented House District 58 in Natrona County from 2011-2016.  He is the only certified parliamentarian in Wyoming and served as the Parliamentarian for the Wyoming Republican Party.