Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day at the Wyoming Legislature

Both Washington and Lincoln would probably be surprised to see the breadth of legislation offered in our current legislative session. There were numerous bills filed for consideration, some of which were introduced, some were not. Many failed on introduction and some failed in committee. There were some good bills that didn’t make it, and some very bad bills that did.

Make sure to check back with the ACLU of Wyoming blog as we keep you updated on bills that impact civil liberties during the 2012 legislative session.

HB0030 Sex offenders-residence near child care facilities
Sponsored by: Petersen

This bill prohibits sex-offenders from residing within 1000 feet of child care facilities

Position: Oppose

Status: This bill was pulled by the sponsor after extensive testimony as possible problems with the bill itself and in administration in addition to the number of people it would affect.

HB0032 Redistricting of the legislature
Sponsored by: Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee

This bill provides a redistricting plan based on the 2010 census

Position: Monitoring – neither support nor oppose

Status: Our office has followed the redistricting process throughout the year to ensure the Constitutional mandate of one man one vote. HB32 passed easily through the House with some minor amendments affecting southeastern Wyoming. There may be additional amendments offered in the Senate on districts in southwestern Wyoming.

HB0056 Penalties for misdemeanor offenses
Sponsored by: Gingery

This bill modifies penalties for misdemeanor offenses

Status: This bill failed introduction

HB0062 Investigative subpoenas
Sponsored by: Vranish

This bill provides for the issuance of an investigative subpoena

Position: Oppose (unless amended)

Status: This bill has been placed on General File. We believe it should contain a probable clause provision which it does not at this time. Basically, it’s a way for law enforcement to go on a fishing expedition for evidence.

HB0082 Public assistance-drug testing
Sponsored by: Miller

This bill requires controlled substance testing for those applying for public assistance and denies assistance for up to one year for those testing positive

Position: Strongly Oppose

Status: These types of bills have been considered in other states in the past year and generally states have not passed them In the where these types of measures have passed, they are being found not only unconstitutional but expensive as states have ended up paying more for drug testing than they save. The rate of positives in Florida was 2% of those tested. We strongly oppose this bill because suspicionless, mandatory drug testing policies are unconstitional, ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

HJ03 Resolution-parents' rights
Sponsored by: Botten

This resolution requests that the US Congress submit to the states a proposed amendment to the US Constitution prohibiting infringement of parents’ rights.

Position: Oppose

Status: These joint resolutions are often just political statements and as such are often a waste of time. The basis of this bill is the belief that by signing the U.N. Treaty on the Rights of the Child U.S. citizens lose their rights to discipline their children and raise them as they see fit. This is clearly not the case; however, the bill passed out of committee and has been placed on General File.

HJ0007 Resolution-conscience rights
Sponsored by: Brechtel

This resolution requests that the US Congress and President of the United States reverse a policy requiring health care plans to cover sterilization, abortifacients and contraception.

Position: Strongly Oppose

Status: This bill has passed introduction and will go to committee. The sponsor is presenting it as a religious liberty issue but this is, again, another attempt to construct barriers to women’s reproductive rights. We strongly oppose this bill.

SF0023 Death penalty method of lethal injection
Sponsored by: Joint Judiciary Interim Committee

This act amends the protocol permitted for lethal injection for execution

Position: Monitoring

Status: We are simply following this bill as it allows for use of an expanded protocol of medications for lethal injections. After researching the basis for the one drug protocol we choice to speak in favor of that provision of the bill. While we oppose the death penalty generally, the single drug protocol is the most efficient and humane protocol to use in executions.

SF0025 Public records
Sponsored by: Joint Judiciary Interim Committee

This bill relates to public records; amending and repealing definitions; amending provisions relating to inspection of documents and exemptions from disclosure; and amending penalty provision.

Position: Support

Status: Our office has been following the public records amendments with the goal of providing greater transparency and easier access for the public. Wyoming currently has some of the worst laws in the nation with the municipalities and county commissioners arguing against more availability and transparency. The current amendments are an improvement to the statute.

SF0027 Public meetings
Sponsored by: Joint Judiciary Interim Committee

This bill relates to public meetings; amending definitions; clarifying provisions relating to minutes and notice; amending provisions relating to meetings, special meetings, emergency meetings, and executive sessions and penalties.

Position: Support

Status: See also SF25 – Public Records. We will continue to follow and support these bills and currently they are going through the process with little opposition.

SF0044 Parental responsibilities
Sponsored by: Case

AN ACT relating to parents, guardians and custodians; increasing penalties relating to school attendance; and providing for an effective date.

Status: Our office is following this bill as part of our general interest in the school to prison pipeline and juvenile justice in the state. This bill failed introduction.

SF0056 Primary elections
Sponsored by: Rothfuss

This bill allows any voter to vote for any candidate during primary elections, eliminates election of precinct committeemen and woman, and allows the candidates with the two highest votes to advance into the general election.

Status: This bill is a bill that would change the primary election process in Wyoming and we will be following to ensure compliance with voting rights. This bill failed introduction.