With nearly 250 bills coming out of the Legislative Services Office this session, and only about 20 business days to deal with them, it’s easy to see how liberty can get subverted in Wyoming. Even liberty-friendly legislators don’t have the time to carefully consider everything that comes up, and instead of taking the liberty-safe route (simply voting no), too often things fly past our legislators and into the Wyoming Statutes. Here at WyLiberty, we’re keeping close track of health care and other bills, but we don’t have the resources to follow and fight every encroachment, either.
With this session half over, there have been some victories for liberty:
- Senate File 8 passed the Senate and is now in the hands of the House. If passed, it will end the state ethanol subsidy (“subsidol”), which has already cost us over $30 million to support less than 30 jobs in Torrington and to buy a lot of Nebraska corn. We’ll continue to follow and support this bill, but fortunately there is already overwhelming support behind it.
- Senate File 54, despite surviving introduction and making it out of the Senate Labor Committee, was not considered by the committee of the whole and is dead. This bill would have forced Wyoming college students to receive a vaccine against bacterial meningitis just to go to class, crashing head-on into the Health Care Freedom Amendment. This was an appalling bill, and its quiet death was likely in response to testimony from our own Regina Meena and grassroots outcry.
- House Bill 119 has had a strong reception so far. It would allow health insurance companies in Wyoming to sell policies that they sell in other states to Wyomingites. We’ve advocated for such a policy since last fall, and we were pleasantly surprised to find no strong opposition from vested interests and support from consumer-protection groups at the House Labor Committee last week. Today the bill passed second reading in the House and after third reading tomorrow it will head to the Senate.
- House Bill 84 was not considered by the committee of the whole and is also a dead letter. This bill would have added yet another cartel to Title 33 of the Wyoming Statutes and provided for the licensing of massage therapists by—you guessed it—a board made up mostly of massage therapists. WyLiberty strongly opposes most professional licensing, as the supposed consumer protections are usually outweighed by professional protectionism (or barriers to entry), which kills free-market competition. Take it from an attorney who’s not licensed here—I’m not going to waste my time passing another bar exam (it would be my third) to have the full privileges of being a Wyoming attorney, and that’s Wyoming’s loss.
These are solid victories for liberty, but we still have a lot of work to do. Just this morning, I took a careful look at House Bill 62, which would open up the subpoena powers for criminal investigations by Wyoming law enforcement agencies. This broad grant of power is far from an administrative revision, and puts the burden of challenging searches on the average citizen after the subpoena is issued rather than on the government before the fact. Although Senate File 91—the continuation of the Healthy Frontiers program—does not include a note for additional funding, it’s still a continuation of a socialist program that is doomed to fail. We have our work cut out for us!
If you have the time, get involved. We legislative liaisons are blessed to do this for a living, but even then there’s just not enough time to cover everything. Check out the LSO page, find what’s on your mind, and write or call your legislator. You could make a big difference by just speaking out, and serve the liberty of all through your vigilance.