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3 Reasons Wyoming Citizens Should Demand a Special Session

Sen Cheri Steinmetz
March 28, 2024

1.  The Governor is usurping the authority of the People if left unchecked by the Legislative branch. Every Wyoming Legislator should jealously guard Legislative authority because it is the delegated power entrusted to them by Wyoming Citizens.  The State Legislature as a co-equal branch of government must not allow the Governor to silence the voice of the people by legislating through unchecked veto power. If this trend is allowed to continue it will be hard to curb. Citizens across the State understand the implications of these actions by the Chief Executive and should expect their representative to respond in order to maintain the proper role of government.  Right now, Legislators have a chance to do just that by voting to convene a special session. They can take action to revive legislation overwhelmingly passed during the budget session and send it to the Governor's desk again with days remaining to override his veto. Since these bills were already vetted and passed by a super majority of the Legislature, if done properly, this should expend only the three remaining working days that were budgeted for in the last session.  

2. The vetoed bills should concern every Wyoming citizen who asked for Wyoming solutions to Wyoming problems. Governor Gordon vetoed five bills that passed the Legislature with veto proof majorities.   

     o    SF054 Homeowner tax exemption is the only bill that provides every homeowner tax relief to the tune of approximately $220 million dollars from the state coffers. Local governments and schools are made whole by a backfill. 

     o    SF013 Federal land use plans-legal actions authorized allows the legislature to defend against illegal federal actions.  With the federal footprint in Wyoming being 48% of the surface and 65% of the mineral estate, federal overreach is detrimental to every Wyoming citizen because it negatively affects the economy, environment, and Wyoming jobs. 

     o    SF103 Wyoming prime act is a trigger bill so that if Congress acts to deregulate state meat processing, the state of Wyoming will as well. This could reduce the price of meat at purchase which benefits consumers and producers. 

     o    HB125 Repeal gun free zones and preemption amendments disallows the excuse of local control to infringe on the second amendment rights of citizens  by repealing gun free zones. 

     o    HB148 Regulation of abortions requires abortion providers to be regulated as ambulatory care centers which protects women’s health and requires an ultrasound before an abortion. 

The Governor line item vetoed five bills including the budget bill. In the budget, the Governor vetoed a provision that prohibited the University of Wyoming from implementing the “woke” agenda. The Legislature adopted a footnote that prohibited the use of state funds “on any program, activity or function for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI).                

 3, The Governor ran as a Republican but governs and vetoes like a Democrat. Actions speak louder than words. Mark Gordon offers a stunning example of this prevalent hypocrisy.  When he was campaigning, he said he would sign the repeal of gun free zones, he vetoed it.  He said he was pro-life, he vetoed HB148 Regulation of abortions.  He said he was a conservative low tax Republican, but he vetoed the most effective property tax relief bill.  He claims he is against the Biden/AOC “green new deal," but he is leading the effort to decarbonize the west.  And the list goes on and on. Actions speak louder than words, Governor Gordon.   

Just be honest with the people of Wyoming---if you are a Democrat admit it and be proud of it.  If you run as a Republican, ride for the brand and govern as a Republican. Pretty simple—just be honest! Ronald Reagan's “big tent” philosophy was not to compromise on foundational principles or values in order to make both major political parties the same. Rather, the point was to offer bold ideas and solutions for the future while maintaining the “bold colors” of the Republican identity.   

Wyoming, pay special attention, don’t just listen to what is said, evaluate what is done. If your Senator and Representative don’t vote for a special session, they are abdicating their authority and your voice. If your Legislator refuses to act, they are complicit in sustaining the Governor's vetoes and allowing him to breach the separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches as designated in our Constitutions.  Unless we want Wyoming to become as dysfunctional as Washington D.C., where power has been centralized in the Executive branch for decades, Wyoming citizens must demand a Special Session.

Senator Steinmetz represents Goshen, Niobrara and Weston Counties