Wyoming Liberty Group

We here at the Wyoming Liberty Group strive to bring you the latest information. Please enjoy the blogs and comment on them often.

Steve Klein serves as attorney and research counsel with the Wyoming Liberty Group and Pillar of Law Institute, focusing on free speech and criminal law.  Steve has co-authored numerous amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs for state and federal courts in several important free speech cases, advocating in favor of political speech across the country. In 2014, Steve was co-counsel in three successful free speech cases in Wyoming.
In the 2015 Wyoming Legislative Session, Steve lobbied on behalf of reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture law. 2015 Senate File 14 passed the entire legislature 80-9 before being vetoed by Governor Mead. Steve continues to lobby on behalf of reform in the 2015-16 legislative interim.
Steve holds a bachelors degree in politics from Hillsdale College and a law degree from Ave Maria School of Law, where he served as Managing Editor of the Ave Maria Law Review and President of the Ave Maria Federalist Society. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Michigan.

Wyoming Legislature 2015: Political Speech Boogaloo

Although many excellent bills in the 2015 Legislative Session did not become law—asset forfeiture reform, drone regulation, and RS2477 rights of way, to name a few—a number of excellent amendments to the Wyoming Election Code passed and were signed by Governor Mead. Given the campaign finance “reform” efforts nationwide that amount to little more than censorship by red tape (or even more direct efforts), one could describe the 2015 session as a political speech boogaloo.

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A Constitutional Coda to Wyoming’s Failure to Reform Asset Forfeiture

On Friday, in a devastating final vote of 7-to-23, the Wyoming Senate voted to not override Governor Matt Mead’s veto of Senate Enrolled Act 1 (SEA 1), which would have amended the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act (WCSA) to require a felony conviction before alleged drug-related property could be forfeited to the state. In his veto letter, the Governor argued that we, the critics, “have not found an egregious case or one abuse of law or of individual rights in a 40 year history.” This was, politely, an exaggeration of our findings. In fact, the absence of due process is such a serious concern in the WCSA that the current law may actually be undone by the courts before the Legislature can consider reform again.

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Free-Speech-Hating Thugs Lose Again

On Friday the Institute for Justice (IJ) won an important free speech victory against the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC). IJ charitably refers to the PDC as “bullies.” I think a more apt description of the PDC is “free-speech-hating thugs.” Following a victory against such opposition, gloating is not only appropriate, but perhaps necessary.

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Governor Mead Vetoes Due Process and Property Rights

After it passed the Wyoming Legislature overwhelmingly, with a final overall vote of 80-9 (1 excused), this evening Governor Matt Mead vetoed Senate Enrolled Act 1–or Senate File 14. The bill would replace civil forfeiture under the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act with criminal forfeiture, requiring a felony conviction before alleged drug property could be forfeited to the government. Governor Mead has rarely used his veto power in the five legislative sessions since he took office, so it is especially shocking he would veto a strong reform for due process and property rights.

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Wyoming Drone Protection Act Dies in Senate Judiciary

House Bill 18 – the Drone Protection Act – died this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 2-3. The bill was a committee bill, considered by the Joint Judiciary Committee (that is, the Senate and House committees together) in the interim between the 2014 and 2015 legislative sessions. The bill passed the House 41-19, but had House committee and additional floor amendments that raised concerns in the Senate Judiciary.

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WyLiberty Supports Passage of Bill to End Civil Forfeiture in Wyoming

CHEYENNE – The Wyoming House of Representatives passed Senate File 14 today with a vote of 54-6, which follows the Senate’s passing vote of 26-3 (1 excused) on January 23. The bill would amend the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act to end the practice of civil forfeiture by requiring an individual to be convicted of a drug felony before the state can permanently confiscate property.

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Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform at the Wyoming Senate

After narrowly emerging from the Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee by a 3-2 vote on Monday, yesterday the entire Wyoming Senate began to consider Senate File 14, which would replace civil forfeiture under the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act with criminal forfeiture. That is, instead of law enforcement being able to seize and forfeit cash, cars, firearms and other property that is allegedly related to the drug trade through a civil proceeding (where the property owner is not provided an attorney and is subject to a preponderance of the evidence standard instead of proof beyond a reasonable doubt), the property owner will have to be convicted of a drug felony before losing any property.

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