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Legislature looks at shift in meeting schedule

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By Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s Legislature launched a review of its own schedule Wednesday as a House committee approved a possible change in the way lawmakers meet.

Wyoming’s legislators now meet for 40 days one year and 20 days the next — for a total of no more than 60 days every two years. The shorter session is dedicated largely to drafting and approving a budget for the state.

Under HJR 6, proposed by Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, the Legislature could decide on its own how to divide those 60 days — perhaps 30 days one year and 30 days the next.

The biggest change would be that the short session now designated as the “budget” session would be part of a “regular” session. During a budget session, all bills not related to the budget have to be approved for debate by two-thirds of each chamber of the Legislature. The change would eliminate that requirement.

Zwonitzer said that requirement for a two-thirds majority for introduction costs the Legislature valuable time.“We spend the first week of every budget session just getting those two-thirds introduction votes and that kills 20 or 30 bills,” he said. “If we didn’t have to do that two-thirds process, we could get through a lot more legislation, spend more time and effort on the budget.”

Zwonitzer’s bill proposes a change to Wyoming’s constitution. As such, it would have to be approved by two-thirds of the state’s Senate and House before it could be submitted to the state’s voters for their approval.

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