Wyoming Liberty Group
There were a number of developments at this week’s interim meeting of the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions committee of the Wyoming Legislature. Several draft bills suggest potential amendments to Wyoming’s campaign finance laws; some of proposals are good, and some of them are not. I am encouraged that members of the committee, Secretary of State Ed Murray, State Election Director Kai Schon, and Attorney General Peter Michael understand that campaign finance law is not a panacea and can, in fact, damage the political process for everything it supposedly fixes. Nevertheless, some are pushing for enhanced campaign finance “disclosure”—more frequent filing of more forms regarding broader swaths of political speech.
One of the truisms of our political system is that Interim Committee members change. After two years of very hard work by the previous Judicial Interim Committee, a comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform (CJR) Bill was not introduced in the Senate after passing through the House last session.
A group called Wyoming Promise has declared the dastardly goal of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and to open the doors to campaign finance “reform,” or regulating free speech by restricting the money used to pay for it. Wyoming Promise aims to accomplish this by gathering 38,818 signatures to trigger a ballot initiative in the 2018 or 2020 election. This means an intense statewide effort, because Wyoming law requires gathering signatures not just in number but geographically throughout the state. Signatures for censorship; what a depressing idea.
It’s been a topsy-turvy ride for Wyoming’s Criminal Justice Reform bill, HB94. Too few understand the magnitude of effort it has taken to get the evidence-based legislation to where it is now. After nearly FIFTEEN years of discussions, studies, and analysis, the bill finally stands a fighting chance at becoming law.
There are four main approaches to administering criminal justice; 1) Deterrence, 2) Restraint, 3) Retribution, and 4) Rehabilitation. Every criminal justice system uses some combination but over the years, trial and error throughout the 50 states has called into question the effectiveness of each. Making sure Wyoming’s focus is on an efficient, evidence-based combination will go a long way towards increasing long-term public safety, saving taxpayer dollars, and giving offenders a shot at redemption.
In case you missed it, Anthony sat down with Gary Freeman on KGAB Radio to answer the tough questions surrounding criminal justice reform. Much appreciation to the thoughtful listeners that took the time to call in. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Anthony directly via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
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.