By Cowboy State Daily
A proposal for a statewide lodging tax cleared an early hurdle in Wyoming’s House on Tuesday, while the Senate killed a bill that would have stiffened the penalties for animal cruelty.
Representatives, in their first full review of HB 66, agreed to move it forward to a second reading on Wednesday.
The bill would impose a statewide lodging tax of 5 percent, with 3 percent to be used to finance the state Tourism Division and 2 percent to go to local governments.
During its review of the bill, the House amended the measure to remove an exemption from the tax granted in the past for guides and outfitters.
Rep. Bucky Loucks, a member of the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee which reviewed the bill prior to its debate on the House floor, said he likes the fact that the measure would make the state Tourism Division self-supporting.
“The bottom line is tourism is a great part of Wyoming,” he said. “It’s our second leading industry and it needs to be there. I’d like to see (the Tourism Division) supported by the industry it benefits.”
In the Senate, members defeated by a vote of 21-7 a measure that would have doubled some of the penalties handed down for people convicted of animal abuse.
Senate File 33 would have increased the fine for misdemeanor animal cruelty from $750 to $1,500, with that fine rising to $7,500 for a second conviction.
The Senate did give final approval to a bill that would limit opioid prescriptions for some patients.
Senate File 46, approved on a vote of 27-3, limits doctors to providing a 14-day prescription for opioids for patients who have not had an opioid prescription for 45 days. Cancer patients and those with chronic pain would be exempt from the limits.
The bill now heads to the House for review by representatives.