a WY Supreme Court Decision

You may have heard that, yesterday, the Wyoming Supreme Court reached a decision on Judge Ruth Neely’s case.

Here’s a link to the court document:

The court has ruled (3-2) against recommendations made by the Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics that Judge Neely be removed as a circuit court judge and magistrate and fined. The court has instead publicly censured her and instructed her that she must decide whether she will participate in marriages in the future. If she chooses to continue, she must also participate in same-sex weddings.

The dissenting opinion (beginning on page 33) given by Justice Kautz and joined by Justice Davis states the following:

This case is of the utmost importance to the State of Wyoming. It is a case confronting new and challenging issues, where the parts of the legal landscape recently changed dramatically and rapidly. Contrary to the position asserted by the majority opinion, this case is about religious beliefs and same sex marriage. The issues considered here determine whether there is a religious test for who may serve as a judge in Wyoming.

We are relieved that Judge Neely was not removed from either position. However, this is a matter of grave concern, one that we will continue to be engaged with. As always, if you have questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to call me.



Brief Summary

Here is a snapshot of the bills we were following this session, as well as their latest status.

Sanctity of Life

 House Bill 116 – prohibitions on use of aborted fetal tissue; passed

House Bill 182 – requirement to offer ultrasound; passed. (Both this and the bill above will be signed tomorrow by Governor Mead.)

House Bill 250 – abortion reporting and other abortion-related laws; failed.

Senate File 150 – funding of long-acting reversible contraceptives; failed.

House Bill 240 – repeal of death penalty; failed.

Senate File 088 – advisory council on palliative care; passed.

House Bill 122 – “death with dignity”; failed.

Senate File 042 – opiate overdose emergency treatment; passed. Signed by the governor on March 6th.

Marriage, Family, Children and Education 

 House Bill 099   ‒ marriage certificates; failed.

House Bill 153 – parental rights; passed.

House Bill 140 – minimum wage; failed.

House Bill 236 – school funding; passed.

House Bill 076 – American Indian education; passed.

House Bill 159 – homeless minors; passed. (To be signed by Governor Mead tomorrow.)

Senate File 129 – sexual assault by school employee; passed.

Rights and Liberty

House Bill 144 – new trial for actual innocence; failed.

House Bill 094 – criminal justice reform; failed.

House Bill 135 – government nondiscrimination; failed.

Senate File 153 – employment discrimination; failed.