Legislators Speak at Chamber Luncheon
Legislators Bo Biteman, Dave Kinskey, Mark Jennings, and Mark Kinner attended the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Wednesday, March 13, to recap their work and experiences during the recent legislative session.
Representatives Cyrus Western and Richard Tass were unable to attend.
Chamber Treasurer Cody Sinclair read a statement from Western, who described his first legislative session as a “whirlwind.”
“Nothing could have fully prepared me for actually being in the decision seat, where I had to make tough and difficult decisions about how to serve my constituents,” Western said, in the statement.
Western said that he personally felt that spending “went too far” in the budget.
Here are some highlights from each legislators remarks:
Rep. Mark Jennings said he was proud to have successfully sponsored two bills, HB 155 and HB 157, that provide more options and rights for Wyoming residents who have had custody of their grandchildren when their children were in legal trouble. Jennings said our culture and therefore, families, have changed.
Jennings said he will continue to fight the implementation of a corporate income tax, as was proposed in HB 220.
Rep. Mark Kinner began with some statistics regarding the session. He reported that 99 House bills and resolutions, and 92 Senate files and resolutions passed.
“So, thirty percent of the House bills introduced were passed by both houses,” he said. “Fifty five percent of the Senate files passed both houses so, at the end of the day, it worked out to be about thirty eight percent of all bills passed.”
In order to focus on his duties on the appropriations committee, Kinner said he chose not to sponsor any bills individually.
Kinner said he thought it was important to cosponsor a Senate joint resolution recognizing Dec. 10, 2019, as a celebration of 100 years of women’s suffrage in Wyoming.
Sen. Bo Biteman began by recognizing retired Sen. Bruce Burns, who was in attendance.“Boy, do I have some big shoes to fill, Senator,” Biteman said.
Biteman said there was a different atmosphere in the Senate than there was in the House, where he previously served.
“I ran about five bills,” Biteman said. “None of them made it through the killing fields of the committees.”
Biteman lamented the defeat of the Wyoming Budget Stabilization Act. He said the bill, which he sponsored, was designed to cap spending increases in the event of a boom.
Sen. Dave Kinskey said he is concerned that contracts go to out-of-state firms too often, and used the new UW marketing campaign as an example. He told the crowd to write down the web address www.publicpurchase.com. That is the website where all Wyoming government entities post bid opportunities. Kinskey encouraged everyone to check it from time to time.
Kinskey said there is a lot of work to do to resist the “war on coal.” He said one solid step was the passage of SF 159, legislation which requires a “reverse impact fee” from coal companies who plan to shut down a plant.
In response to a question from the audience, Kinskey said, “One of the more exciting things in the session, is we killed every attempt to raise taxes in Wyoming.”