Bills of Interest- Updated 2/08/19

This is by no means a complete list of bills that are of interest. The following bills are still alive as of 2/18/19.



HB0103 – Reporting of abortions.

Sponsored by: Representative(s) Clem, Edwards, Jennings, Salazar and Wilson and Senator(s) Steinmetz

Some have claimed that legislation which furthers protection for the pre-born is not necessary in Wyoming because, they claim, abortions do not occur in the state. The Guttmacher Institute conducted surveys in 2011, 2013, and 2014 showed a total of 380 abortions in Wyoming over that time period. Reportedly, the Wyoming Department of Health showed the number for that same period of time to be 5. Two abortion providers within the state have publicly admitted they do abortions but do not report to the state. Part of the reason for this is that there are no repercussions for not reporting, even though reporting is required in current statute. HB0103 adds penalties for not reporting.
1/10/2019 H Received for Introduction 2/4/2019 H COW:Passed 2/5/2019 H 2nd Reading:Passed
2/6/2019 H 3rd Reading:Passed 38-21-1-0-0 2/7/2019 S Received for Introduction 2/7/2019 S Introduced and Referred to S10 – Labor

HOUSE BILL NO. HB0145  –Death penalty repeal-2.

Sponsored by: Representative(s) Olsen, Barlow, Brown, Burkhart, Connolly, Dayton, Flitner, Harshman, Lindholm, Miller, Pelkey, Schwartz and Wilson and Senator(s) Anselmi-Dalton, Boner, Landen, Pappas and Rothfuss

This one is self-explanatory. While it is a different question, for us, this is connected to the protection of all life including the pre-born. What is fundamentally at stake is whether or not the state will recognize that the value of an individual is inherent or whether the state believes that the value of an individual can be attributed.

I don’t like slippery slope arguments, but in this case, I find it applicable. If the state continues to enshrine the idea that an individual’s value is not inherent nor truly “unalienable,” but depends upon the attribution of “others,” then the only hope for individual security depends upon obtaining power. I think, our lack of legal protections for all life are what is driving the polarization of politics.

Furthermore, we understand that the values we enshrine in law, be they virtuous or vicious, have an instructive element to them. As we pray for an end to mass violence and preach about the value of all human life, our young people are learning from our laws. What they learn from this one (and from laws that permit the destruction of the unborn) is that the value of an individual’s life depends upon the perspective of the powerful. Anyone who has ever felt unwanted should recognize the danger here.
1/15/2019 H Introduced and Referred to H10 – Labor
1/24/2019 H10 – Labor:Recommend Do Pass 5-4-0-0-0
1/24/2019 H Placed on General File
1/30/2019 H COW:Passed
2/1/2019 H 3rd Reading:Passed 36-21-3-0-0 2/4/2019  S Received for Introduction 2/5/2019  S Introduced and Referred to S01 – Judiciary

Casper Star article

HOUSE BILL NO. HB0107-Sexual assault parental rights.

Sponsored by: Representative(s) Blackburn, Clem, Henderson, Miller, Newsome and Pelkey and Senator(s) Case and Nethercott

AN ACT relating to termination of parental rights; including sexual assault as a factor that a court may consider to terminate parental rights as specified; specifying no reunification effort is required; and providing for an effective date.
1/10/2019 H Received for Introduction
1/23/2019 H Introduced and Referred to H01 – Judiciary
1/31/2019 H01 – Judiciary:Recommend Do Pass 8-1-0-0-0
1/31/2019 H Placed on General File
2/4/2019 H COW:Passed 2/5/2019 H 2nd Reading:Passed 2/6/2019 H 3rd Reading:Passed 54-5-1-0-0 2/7/2019 S Received for Introduction 2/7/2019 S Introduced and Referred to S01 – Judiciary


HOUSE BILL NO. HB0140 -Abortion-48 hour waiting period.

Sponsored by: Representative(s) Tass, Edwards, Gray, Hallinan, Jennings and Loucks and Senator(s) Biteman, Hicks and Steinmetz

AN ACT relating to health and public safety; requiring physicians to wait a specified period of time before performing certain nonemergency abortion procedures
1/15/2019 H Introduced and Referred to H01 – Judiciary
1/22/2019 H01 – Judiciary:Recommend Do Pass 6-3-0-0-0
1/22/2019 H Placed on General File 1/30/2019 H COW:Passed 1/31/2019 H 2nd Reading:Passed 2/1/2019 H 3rd Reading:Passed 36-22-2-0-0 2/1/2019 S Received for Introduction 2/4/2019 S Introduced and Referred to S10 – Labor


HOUSE BILL NO. HB0127 Tax refund to elderly and disabled.

Sponsored by: Representative(s) Hallinan, Blake, Clem, Connolly, Edwards, Haley, Jennings, Miller, Pelkey, Pownall, Salazar, Sweeney and Zwonitzer and Senator(s) Anselmi-Dalton, Ellis and Pappas

AN ACT relating to taxation and revenue; amending eligibility criteria for the tax refund to the elderly and disabled program; providing an appropriation
1/17/2019 H Introduced and Referred to H03 – Revenue
1/18/2019 H03 – Revenue:Recommend Amend and Do Pass 9-0-0-0-0
1/24/2019 H Placed on General File 2/4/2019 H 2nd Reading:Passed 2/5/2019 H 3rd Reading:Passed 47-13-0-0-0

HOUSE BILL NO. HB0163 Child labor penalties.

Sponsored by: Representative(s) Connolly, Barlow, Brown, Hallinan and Sweeney and Senator(s) Gierau

AN ACT relating to employment of children; clarifying the penalties for violating child labor laws; clarifying an exemption; repealing a provision 1/17/2019 H Introduced and Referred to H01 – Judiciary 1/22/2019 H01 – Judiciary:Recommend Amend and Do Pass 8-0-1-0-0
1/22/2019 H Placed on General File 1/30/2019 H COW:Passed 1/31/2019 H 2nd Reading:Passed 2/1/2019 H 3rd Reading:Passed 33-25-2-0-0 2/4/2019 S Received for Introduction 2/5/2019 S Introduced and Referred to S10 – Labor



SENATE FILE NO. SF0085 Wyoming Medicaid Fraud Control Act.

Sponsored by: Senator(s) Nethercott, Anselmi-Dalton, Baldwin, Boner, Kinskey and Perkins and Representative(s) Greear, Larsen, Pownall, Stith and Wilson

AN ACT relating to medical assistance; establishing the Medicaid fraud control unit within the office of the attorney general; specifying duties; requiring access to Medicaid records; creating criminal penalties relating to Medicaid; authorizing the aggregation of claims under certain circumstances; authorizing exclusion or suspension of Medicaid providers; making conforming amendments; authorizing the promulgation of rules; repealing provisions
1/14/2019 S Introduced and Referred to S01 – Judiciary
1/18/2019 S01 – Judiciary:Recommend Amend and Do Pass 5-0-0-0-0 1/23/2019 S 2nd Reading:Passed 1/24/2019 S 3rd Reading:Passed 25-3-2-0-0
1/28/2019 H Received for Introduction

SENATE FILE NO. SF0078 Archaeological human burial sites.

Sponsored by: Senator(s) Boner, Anselmi-Dalton, Case, Ellis and Hicks and Representative(s) Blake, Clausen, Clifford, Larsen and Lindholm

AN ACT relating to criminal procedure; requiring notification of law enforcement and the coroner when human remains are discovered; providing for exhumation and reinterment of human remains on state and private lands; providing for notification of the state archaeologist and others of archaeological human remains and burials; requiring development of a protocol for consultation, repatriation and reinterment or other disposition of Native American human remains; creating a misdemeanor; making conforming amendments; requiring county coroners to produce an inventory 1/11/2019 S Introduced and Referred to S01 – Judiciary
1/23/2019 S01 – Judiciary:Recommend Do Pass 5-0-0-0-0 1/23/2019 S Placed on General File 1/24/2019 S COW:Passed 1/25/ 2019 S 2nd Reading:Passed 1/28/2019 S 3rd Reading:Passed 30-0-0-0-0
1/28/2019 H Received for Introduction
2/6/2019 H Introduced and Referred to H06 – Travel

SENATE FILE NO. SF0072 Sexual assault biological evidence reporting.

Sponsored by: Senator(s) Ellis, Anselmi-Dalton, Biteman, Driskill and Gierau and Representative(s) Duncan, Greear, Kinner, Lindholm, Newsome, Olsen, Salazar and Schwartz
1/16/2019 S01 – Judiciary:Recommend Do Pass 5-0-0-0-0

AN ACT relating to criminal history records; requiring statistical reports relating to sexual assault biological evidence and the status of laboratory analysis; providing for publication; amending payment obligations for examination costs; prohibiting the destruction of evidence as specified; providing definition; making conforming amendments

1/10/2019 S Received for Introduction 1/10/2019 S Introduced and Referred to S01 – Judiciary 1/16/2019 S01 – Judiciary:Recommend Do Pass 5-0-0-0-0 1/16/2019 S Placed on General File 1/17/2019 S COW:Passed 1/18/2019 S 2nd Reading:Passed 1/22/2019 S 3rd Reading:Passed 29-0-1-0-0
1/22/2019 H Received for Introduction
2/6/2019 H Introduced and Referred to H01 – Judiciary

SENATE FILE NO. SF0089 Death benefits- Wyoming Retirement Plans

Sponsored By: APPROPRIATIONS

AN ACT relating to retirement plans administered by the board of the Wyoming retirement system; amending death benefits paid under specified retirement plans for future nonvested members who are not employed by a participating employer at the time of death; specifying applicability; and providing for an effective date. 1/11/2019 Bill Number Assigned 1/14/2019 S Received for Introduction 1/14/2019 S Introduced and Referred to S02 – Appropriations 1/16/2019 S02 – Appropriations:Recommend Do Pass 5-0-0-0-0 1/16/2019 S Placed on General File 1/17/2019 S COW:Passed 1/18/2019 S 2nd Reading:Passed 1/22/2019 S 3rd Reading:Passed 29-0-1-0-0
1/22/2019 H Received for Introduction


Respecting One Another

This morning, I was privileged to speak at the Pre-session Interfaith Prayer Service. Our new Governor, Mark Gordon, and several legislators were in attendance. Thanks to Matt Potter for the pictures. Below is the text of my speech.

https://matthewpotter.smugmug.com/Diocese-of-Cheyenne/Diocese-of-Cheyenne-2019/Legislative-Prayer-Breakfast-2019/i-LbZZJmm

Political division is not new to our country. But the animosity between people with different views has intensified. There is so much fear and people seem less capable of being able to speak respectfully or listen earnestly.  

This morning, we have gathered representatives of various faiths and worldviews. It is a wonderful vision to see. Even in our diversity, many of us share the belief that each person is created in the image and likeness of God. This belief means that each person has an immeasurable value, not because he or she is favored by the majority or the powerful, not because he or she can contribute to society. Your inherent value would exist, even if no one on earth wanted you. 

As the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams once wrote, “The reverence I owe to every human person is connected with the reverence I owe to God, who brings them into being and keeps them in being.  I stand before holy ground when I encounter another person – not because they are born with a set of legal rights which can be demanded and enforced, but because there is a dimension of their life I shall never fully see.” The Archbishop later continues, “It means that there are no superfluous people, no ‘spare’ people in the human world. Everyone is needed for the good of all.”  

Many of our brothers and sisters do not share this theological belief but can still see, that if we hold that an individual’s value is not intrinsic, but is instead assigned by others, then we stand upon the ultimate slippery slope.

In such a setting, politics become not just one important aspect of the social realm, they become the most important aspect; whereby, individuals instinctively understand that their only hope for security is power, gaining it and maintaining it. And anyone who enjoys the slightest advantage in power, becomes a threat. In my tradition, such worship of power is called idolatry. As long as security within our country depends upon power, then the tribalism and the animosity within it will only get worse. 

We pray for political solutions that will prevent the next act of mass violence. We will continue to preach about the intrinsic value of human persons, but as long as there is a single law that enables the willful destruction of human persons, our young people will notice. They are far more interested in what we do than in what we say. What they have learned from such laws so far, is that the value of individuals can be set by those with power.   

But it does not have to be this way.  

Mathew Kelly tells a story in one of his books about a man who entertains his son by tearing a picture of a map of the world out of a magazine. He tears the picture into many pieces and tells his son that if he can put the map back together again, he will give him 20 dollars.  

He thinks he has just bought himself time to focus on his work. But five minutes later, his son comes back with the map put back together again. He is amazed, and asks his son how he put it back together so quickly. His son said, “I didn’t know what a map of the world looked like. But I noticed on the backside of the pieces, there were parts of a person’s face. I know what that looks like. So, I put the face back together and then turned the puzzle over.  

To me, politics seem as complicated as the map of the world was to that little boy. But the dignity of human persons is not so complicated.  

If we stay focused on the faces, if we resist euphemisms that veil human dignity or veil the violence being perpetrated against them, we stand a far better chance of getting the world right. 

The intrinsic value of human persons provides a solid foundation to build upon. It prevents a government from coming to the false conclusion that it has the power to bestow human dignity. A just government merely protects what has been there from the beginning.

So my prayer is that all of us present this morning will recognize, that regardless of circumstance, everyone has a right to be. And because of this, we are all responsible for each other. May the Lord grant us the grace to always speak respectfully, listen earnestly, and seek to see the immeasurable value of every person, including those who happen to disagree with us. Amen.

Against Hate

 

My name is Deacon Mike Leman. I am here representing Bishop Steven Biegler and the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne. Bishop Steven could not be here today, but he sends his heartfelt regards and assurances that he joins our prayers for healing, peace and unity.

The reading I have selected comes from the Second Vatican Council, regarding The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

Men and women must not be content simply to support the efforts of others in the work for peace; they must also scrutinize their own attitudes. Statesmen…in their efforts to secure peace are of no avail as long as men and women are divided or set against each other by feelings of hostility, contempt and distrust, by racial hatred or by inflexible ideologies (Gaudium et spes, nn. 82-83).

I chose this reading for reflection because I think it is honest. In principle, we are all against hatred. We must continually examine the need for systematic changes which can aid the promotion of peace. But really, that’s the easy part. Because if systematic changes fail to happen, I can always blame somebody else. But if I fail to scrutinize my own attitudes, if I fail to change, there is no one else to blame.

We are here in principle to speak in defiance of fear and hatred. But the reading calls us to look beyond mere principle and ask, “How are we doing in practice?”

I recently heard an interview with a law professor from Notre Dame who was talking about the need for judges to be objective. She tells her students a story to illustrate what this looks like. I am going to borrow her analogy and put a twist on it. Because we are not considering the role of judges but our role as people of faith in our community.

The story she uses is that of Odysseus and the sirens. Odysseus is warned that the sirens’ song is so beautiful and seductive that it drives men mad, and in their desire to get near the sirens they willingly steer the ship into the rocks. Odysseus takes the warning very seriously. He orders his men to stop their ears with wax and to tie him to the mast of the ship. He tells them, no matter what he says, they are not to untie him until the ship has passed the island into safety. In this way, Odysseus is able to hear the song, but is not able to do himself or his men any harm.

Faith leaders are people too. We also, are susceptible to the power of the sirens’ song, the call of ideology. We underestimate this truth at our own risk. The songs often begin by highlighting an injustice against a particular group. We are beckoned to enter into solidarity with that group. That much, we must continue to do. Like Odysseus, our own ears cannot be stopped. We must hear the cry of the poor.

But when the ideological song goes beyond the call to solidarity and the refrain settles on a person or group to blame, a scapegoat, upon which we can channel all of our anger, and frustration, it becomes very seductive and can even feel righteous, to the point of madness.

As a diversity of faith groups our ship enjoys a plurality of ideas about who God is and what it means to be a creature of God. But if there is a mast to which we must be bound, it is the mast of human dignity. That by simply being human, regardless of age or stage in life, regardless of race, religion or any other factor, each person has a dignity that guarantees an inviolable right, to be. If that is our foundation, then we can safely enter into heated debate about every other subject under the sun. But, if we get that wrong, if there is a crack in mast, beware, for Odysseus is breaking free, and we are headed for the rocks.

We affirm our opposition to fear and hatred, how are we doing in practice? Does our language reflect the true dignity of every person? Have we adopted an ideological language that veils certain groups of people? Do we use language that diminishes the legalized violence being perpetrated? As faith leaders, everything we say and do matters.

As Christians, the image of God crucified is an image worthy of reflection. So, I would invite you to do that with me for just a moment. Because the message that God gives in that reflection is this; whoever you are, wherever you come from, whatever language you speak, whatever the color of your skin, know this: you are worth that kind of pain. You are worth that much suffering. In fact, you were even worth dying for, because you are precious in God’s eyes. Remember that.

May the Lord grant healing and consolation to all victims of hatred. May he grant us the grace to seek systematic changes where changes are necessary. May he grant us the courage to continually scrutinize our own attitudes. And may he grant us the wisdom to understand that we cannot fight the fires of fear and hatred, by adopting the very ideologies that feed them. In his most holy and sacred name we pray. Amen.