Wyoming Liberty Group
Boyd Wiggam and Gary Freeman discuss opportunities for state and local governments to expand economic opportunity and limit taxation including “Special Districts” reform legislation, the Transportation Network Companies bill, and a local government’s Fight the Blight Task Force.
Be careful where you’re spreading holiday cheer this season. You could wind up in the slammer for six months or pay up to $750 in fines. According to an ordinance approved by the City of Cheyenne in 1897, it’s technically unlawful to Christmas carol without a permit. The 120-year-old law isn’t just a prime example of regulatory nonsense and over-criminalization – it’s a clear violation of protected free speech.
When Cheyenne voters rejected the city administrator proposal last fall, they reaffirmed their commitment to vote responsibly and placed a special emphasis on this year’s mayoral elections. Those same voters must now examine each candidate and vote for who is best-equipped to do the day-to-day job of managing the city. It is never an easy job, and the fact that ten people filed applications for mayor makes vetting the candidates even more difficult.
Courts repeatedly strike down City Ordinances that violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. This is true even when cities try to justify censorship as a way to improve aesthetics, or fight litter. Even in Wyoming cities are willing to trample on free speech rights. As recently as 2013, the City of Cheyenne had to pay litigation costs in its futile attempt to censor political speech by its ham-fisted regulation of yard signs. The City of Laramie quickly repealed its own political yard sign regulations shortly thereafter.
The Cheyenne City Council’s decision about allowing a retail liquor license owner to sell his license to Cheyenne’s Sam’s Club is about more than liquor policy. It is really a referendum on whether Cheyenne is open to business. Perhaps not. The Council Finance Committee recommends that the Council block the sale. This is a signal to investors that the City is willing to flex its muscle to protect favored locals at the expense of outside investors.
Cheyenne has a housing supply and affordability problem. Housing is scarce and expensive relative to household incomes in the area, but current regulations force developers to add unnecessary costs in the name of “aesthetics” to satisfy the architectural taste preferences of regulators. Boyd Wiggam and Doug Randall of KGAB discuss the City Council's rejection of a deregulation proposal that would have saved money for families on a 5-5 vote—even though the regulatory costs are ultimately passed along to the lower-income families that are struggling to find housing that fits within their budgets.
Boyd Wiggam and Chuck Gray of KVOC in Casper discuss the Cheyenne City Council’s refusal to ease the economic burden that aesthetic design regulations for new apartment buildings impose on working families in Cheyenne, even in the face of the significant shortage of affordable, unsubsidized housing in the community.