The latest RMFU LegisLetter for WY

By Scott Zimmerman
RMFU Government Relations for Wyoming

With less than a week to go in the session, most issues have been decided.  Funding for local cities and towns has been an issue for more years than I care to remember. It started when the sales tax on food was repealed and in many small communities this was the largest single source tax item.  Most communities are maxed out on employing the maximum mills levied on property. The state has been quite generous in sharing its dwindling revenues by way of a direct appropriations through a complex formula. For the last several years, cities and towns around Wyoming have asked for a means of raising revenues locally within their control. HB 47 Local sales and use taxes is the Legislature’s answer as it has two significant changes to current law.

The first change has to do with existing optional fifth and sixth voter approved sales tax. The bill reduces the percentage needed from 66% to 50% of incorporated municipalities within a county to place the question before voters. It also removes the option of the tax being for two years allowing it now to sunset after four years. This bill also allows the tax to be continued on a permanent basis by resolution of 50% of municipalities in the county. The second portion of the bill gives municipalities the ability to impose an additional one-cent sales tax, bringing the total levied up to 7.25 cents (4 to state, 2.25 to county local option and 1 to municipal option). This last cent would only be levied within the incorporated boundaries of the municipalities.

Bills of interest to RMFU members:

HB 13 Sage grouse mitigation credits
Sponsor: Jt. Interim Minerals Comm.
Action: Awaiting final Senate action
Position: Monitor
Summary:  AN ACT relating to sage grouse; establishing a program for compensatory mitigation credits for conservation of the greater sage-grouse; creating an account; amending the duties of the board of land commissioners; requiring rulemaking; providing legislative findings; and providing for effective dates.

HB 14 Drilling units -risk penalties and mandatory royalties
Sponsor: passed both houses, on Governor’s desk
Action: On Senate General File
Position: Monitor
Summary:  AN ACT relating to oil and gas; amending the calculation of owners’ shares for drilling units as specified; providing for the expiration of pooling orders under specified conditions; providing a royalty during payment of risk penalty; making conforming amendments; and providing for an effective date.

HB 29 Designation of migration corridors
Sp. Select Natural Resource Management Comm.
Action:  Bill dead – was not considered for introduction
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to game and fish; providing procedures for the designation of migration corridors; requiring a report; and providing for an effective date.

HB 33 Agricultural land qualifications
Sponsor:  Jt. Interim AG Comm.
Action: : Bill dead -failed introduction vote –
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to agricultural land; increasing the production requirements for agricultural land qualification; and providing for an effective date.

HB 35 Wolf depredation compensation
Sponsor: Rep. Winter
Action:  Bill dead -failed introduction vote
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to agriculture; recreating a gray wolf depredation compensation program; imposing additional duties on the department of agriculture; authorizing rulemaking; providing for termination of the program as specified; providing an appropriation; and providing for effective dates.

HB 36 Pesticide registration fee
Sponsor: Jt. Agriculture Interim Comm.
Action: passed both houses, on GovernorMark Gordon’s desk
Position: Support
Summary:  AN ACT relating to food and drugs; increasing the pesticide registration fee; specifying distribution of the fee; specifying applicability; and providing for an effective date.

HB 38 Weed and Pest amendments
Sponsor:  in conference comm.
Action:  Passed both chambers awaiting Conference Comm. to resolve differences
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to weed and pest control; amending provisions related to inspections and remediation of weed and pest infestations; and providing for an effective date.

HB 44 Daylight saving time preservation
Sponsor: Rep. Laursen
Action:  On Senate  general file
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to legal time; requiring an application for the state to transfer time zones as specified; establishing a new uniform state time; specifying contingencies; making legislative findings; and providing for an effective date.

HB 47 Local sales and use tax
Sponsor: Jt. Revenue Interim Comm.
Action: In conference comm.
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to taxation and revenue; authorizing an election on the question of permanently imposing a portion of the local general purpose sales and use taxes; decreasing the number of local entities required to approve provisions related to specified local sales and use taxes; increasing the amount of time between elections for specified local sales and use taxes; authorizing the implementation of an optional municipal sales and use taxes as specified; providing procedures; amending related provisions; specifying applicability; and providing for an effective date.

HB 63 Fuel tax
Sponsor: Jt. Revenue Interim comm.
Action; Bill dead – failed introduction vote
Position: Monitor
Summary:  AN ACT relating to revenue for transportation purposes; increasing the fuel tax; amending certain distributions of fuel tax revenues accordingly; and providing for an effective date.

HB 81 Emergency water projects account
Sponsor:  Select Water Comm.
Action: On second reading in House
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to funding for emergency water projects; creating an emergency water projects account; authorizing emergency water project grants and loans; providing a continuous appropriation and providing an additional appropriation; providing for administration; and providing for an effective date.

HB 88 Livestock board investigators
Sponsor: Rep. Sommers
Action: On Senate third reading
Position: Support
Summary:  AN ACT relating to livestock board investigators; authorizing payment of livestock board investigators from the inspection account and from animal remedies registrations; increasing the animal remedies registration fee; creating an account; and providing for an effective date.

HB 97 Omnibus water bill construction
Sponsor: Select water Comm.
Action: In conference comm.
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to water development projects; authorizing construction of designated water projects; describing projects; specifying terms and conditions of funding for projects; providing appropriations; providing for a sponsor’s contingency fund; modifying project descriptions, amounts and terms of appropriations for specified prior projects; transferring funds from the Buffalo Bill dam account to water development account II; and providing for an effective date.

HB 111 Split Estates -measure of damages 3
Sponsor: Rep. Clausen
Action: Dead -No report on General File cutoff
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to oil and gas; amending provisions related to surface damage and disruption payments; and providing for an effective date.

HB 116 Split Estates – good faith negotiations
Sponsor: Rep. Clausen
Action: Bill dead – failed introduction vote
Position: Monitor
Summary:  AN ACT relating to oil and gas; authorizing surface owner objections for an operator’s failure to comply with requirements to negotiate in good faith; specifying procedures; amending notice requirements; and providing for an effective date.

House Bills added 2-14-2020

HB 84 Food freedom amendments
Sponsor: Rep. Duncan
Action: Passed both houses, on Governor’s desk
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to marketing homemade foods; authorizing the sale of certain homemade food items by parties other than the producer of the item as specified; providing definitions; making conforming changes; repealing provisions limiting where transactions can occur; and providing for an effective date.

HB 142 Agriculture marketing funds – processing plants
Sponsor: Rep. Flitner
Action:  On Senate general file
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to economic diversification and development; providing for the support of meat processing plants for Wyoming product export; limiting use of certain funds in the agriculture marketing subaccount within the economic diversification account to support such processing plants; and providing for an effective date.

HB 155 Animal shares
Sponsor: Rep. Lindholm
Action:  On Senate third reading
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to agriculture and livestock; specifying requirements for distribution of meat pursuant to ownership of an animal share; providing definitions; and providing for an effective date.

HB 194 Wyoming Department of Agriculture fees
Sponsor: Jt. Appropriations Comm.
Action:  Passed both houses, on Governor’s desk
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to the Wyoming department of agriculture; increasing specified fees; and providing for an effective date.

SF 31 University of Wyoming – land grant mission report
Sponsor: Jt. Agriculture Interim Comm.
Action:  On House General File
Position: Support
Summary:  AN ACT relating to education; requiring a report from the University of Wyoming; and providing for an effective date.

SF 41 Animal damage management funding
Sponsor: Jt. Agriculture Interim Comm.
Action: Passed both houses, on Governor’s desk
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to wildlife; increasing the request for funding for animal damage management from the game and fish commission; requiring the game and fish commission to recommend expenditures; clarifying who can request funding; establishing a fee for animal damage management funding; repealing provisions related to the wildlife damage management stamp; and providing for an effective date.

SF 61 Omnibus water bill -planning
Sponsor: Select Water Comm.
Action: On third reading in House
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to water development projects; authorizing specified level I and level II studies; providing appropriations; requiring reports; providing for the reversion of unexpended funds; authorizing unobligated funds to be used to complete other designated projects as specified; providing an appropriation for the office of water programs; and providing for an effective date.

SF 66 Retiring electric generation facilities – financial assurance
Sponsor: Sen. Driskill
Action:  Dead -No report on General file cutoff
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to environmental quality and public utilities; requiring deposits of financial assurance for retiring facilities as specified; defining terms; making conforming amendments; and providing for effective dates.

SF 74 Permit not required for using a de minimis amount of water
Sponsor: Select Water Comm.
Action: in House Ag. Comm.
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to water; eliminating permitting requirements for the beneficial use of a de minimis amount of water; and providing for an effective date.

SF 75 Instream flow application process
Sponsor: Select Water Comm.
Action: On house general file
Position: Monitor
Summary: AN ACT relating to water; amending the instream flow application process; requiring a hearing and providing for an effective date.

SF 81 Livestock brand administration
Sponsor: Jt. Agriculture Interim Comm.
Action:  Dead – file vote in house Ag. Comm
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to brands; amending provisions related to the rerecording of brands; authorizing the extension of the rerecording period for up to fifty years; repealing the provision for permanently recorded brands; and providing for an effective date.

Senate Files added 2-14-2020

SF 99 Mineral royalty grant and loan qualification
Sponsor: Sen. Steinmetz
Action: On House general File
Position: Support
Summary: AN ACT relating to government royalty revenue; amending the definition of “special districts” for purposes of mineral royalty loans and grants; clarifying projects that are eligible for loans and grants; and providing for an effective date.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.