Ordinarily a budget session doesn’t focus on so many non-budget issues. However, this session #WyLeg took us for a loop.
Criminal Justice Reform: One win, one bill to work on
The ACLU of Wyoming supported two bills, one of which passed and one of which didn’t. We’ll be working with the sponsors to bring House Bill 55 back next year.
- House Bill 42: Justice reform-graduated sanctions, will allow for more options for people under probation or parole. The bill passed both the House and the Senate and is on its way to becoming law.
- House Bill 55: Property offenses, is one of our major initiatives for the 2019 legislative session. It would raise the threshold for the amount of damage necessary before someone is convicted of a felony. These amounts have not been raised in far too long, so we will be working to get it passed next year.
Voting Rights: A Win!
Over the interim, politicians brought House Bill 38, which would have criminalized people who try to vote or register to vote but for whatever reason cannot. Luckily, we worked behind the scenes to put a stop to this attack on voting rights in Wyoming.
Right to Protest: A Loss – but we are still fighting
To the surprise of many, Senator Leland Christensen brought forward Senate File 74, Crimes Against Critical Infrastructure. An ALEC-written bill favored by the fossil fuel industry, SF 74 criminalizes protest, violates first and fourteenth amendment rights, and would cause confusion and problems in the courts.
We organized against SF 74 alongside a coalition of labor, environmental, rancher, and indigenous rights groups but the bill passed the House close to the end of session. We are still waiting to see if the bill will be signed by the Governor and we are examining what options might exist to continue fighting this terrible piece of legislation.
There were several collective wins alongside the losses during the budget session in Wyoming. For example, NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming was able to stop an anti-abortion bill brought by Senator Boner. Our work would not be possible without the coalitions and alliances we work with and within. We applaud the great work by these and other organizations and look forward to continuing our work together in 2018.