Let's break down commonly used legislative so you can work it into daily discussions on local politics. 

What does it mean when a bill gets an “aye” vote? What does the “Committee of the Whole” even do?  

Well, let's talk about it!  

Commonly used phrases and lingo by stake lawmakers may not make a ton of sense outside of the legislative session. Yet it's important to know how to talk the talk.  

Scroll to learn more or email us at acluwy@aclu.org with questions. Be sure to bookmark this page for quick reference and check out the Wyoming legislature’s website for more lingo.  

  • Appropriation 
    • Funds allocated for various departments of government set aside by formal action for specific use. Allows money to be spent; is not actual expenditure record. 
  • Ayes and Noes 
    • Recorded vote of members on an issue, ayes mean yes, and noes mean no.  
  • Bill 
    • Proposed law presented to the legislature for consideration. 
  • Committee of the Whole 
    • A Committee of the Whole body. Usually assembled by a move to consider bills on General File and to make amendments thereto, and to recommend action to be taken by the body. Debate is not recorded in the Senate (S.R. 14-5) but is recorded in the House (H.R. 14-5) and the final recommendation of the Committee is entered in the Journal.  
  • Consent List 
    • Bills that have no amendments pending may be placed on the consent list. A roll call vote is taken and the results applied to each bill on the list except that the opportunity is made for any legislator to request a redesignation of his vote on any bill on the list. 
  • Constituent 
    • A citizen residing within the district of a legislator. 
  • Engrossed Bills 
    • In the top right corner of a bill that has passed the first house with amendments, you will find the word “ENGROSSED” under the LSO number. This indicates all passed amendments from the first house are incorporated into the bill. Once the bill is engrossed and distributed from the original house, House Bills are printed on green paper and Senate Files are printed on blue paper. 
  • General Appropriations Bill 
    • A bill which contains appropriations for the ordinary expenses of the three branches of state government and may include other appropriations allowed by Article 3, Section 34 of the Wyoming Constitution. 
  • General File 
    • Position of bills after having been considered by the Standing Committees to which they were assigned. From this position, bills can go either to the Committee of the Whole or back to the Standing Committee. 
  • Germaneness 
    • The relevance or appropriateness of amendments or substitutes to an introduced bill. 

A few important abbreviations  

  • Committee of the Whole (CoW) 
  • Join Conference Committee (JCC) 
  • Senate File (SF) 
  • House Bill (HB)  
  • Senator (Sen.)  
  • Representative (Rep.)  
  • Governor (Gov.)  
  • Government (Govt.)  

Reminder: This list is not entirely exhaustive of terminology you may encounter during the Wyoming Legislative Session. Send questions to acluwy@aclu.org or find us on social media.