Friday, May 3, 2013

ESPC: A Great Organization for Wyoming

The Equality State Policy Center (ESPC) held its bi-annual retreat at the Saratoga Inn on April 24th. I have been a member of this organization for a number of years and have gained an enormous amount of fulfillment from this association. The bi-annual retreat gives us time to discuss past successes and failures, and plan for the next two years’ work.

The ESPC is a progressive “think-and-do tank” that utilizes research, public education and advocacy to advance a cooperative program of work designed to establish and maintain accountability in state government and to substantially increase public participation in and influence over public-policy decision-making. Its programs fall into three main areas: government accountability; tax and fiscal policy; and Wyoming working families.

The ESPC started in 1994 with a small group of dedicated individuals who were interested in a more transparent state government. The group originated a “lap book” which recorded legislative votes and donor connections. This led to more transparency and the recording of votes by the Wyoming Legislature. The current state legislative website provides a great deal of legislative information. The ESPC continues to work on greater accountability, and would like to see more legislative votes recorded.

Fair taxation, workers’ rights, voting and election issues are some of the other areas the ESPC staff and member organizations continue to address. The board finalized the priorities for the next two years: government accountability, water protection, workers’ rights and taxation issues. As with most organizations, the ESPC struggles with too many issues and too few resources.The ESPC and the ACLU of Wyoming work in tandem on many issues during legislative session, and it is an honor to work with such effective coalition partners.

The ESPC's next board meeting will be held on September 17th in Sheridan. The public is welcome to attend these meetings.

Linda Burt
Executive Director
ACLU of Wyoming