Death penalty repeal, abortion waiting period passed as Legislature nears midway point

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By Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s legislators spent long hours on the floors of the House and Senate this week as they neared the midway point for their general session.

With a major deadline looming on Monday, legislators spent much of the week trying to get through a backlog of bills reviewed by committees and sent to the floor for debate.

One bill proposing a repeal of Wyoming’s death penalty won final approval and was sent to the Senate for its review. HB 145 would make life without the possibility of parole the harshest possible sentence in Wyoming.

Also approved in its final House review was HB 140, a bill that would impose a 48-hour waiting period on women seeking abortions. Under Wyoming law, a doctors must give a woman seeking an abortion the chance to see an ultrasound of the fetus or hear a recording of its heartbeat. The 48-hour waiting period would begin after that offer is made. The waiting period would be waived in emergencies.

A bill that would keep Wyoming on daylight savings time year-round is also headed to the Senate after its final approval in the House. The change outlined in HB 14 could only occur after three neighboring states agree to stick with daylight savings time through the year as well.

However, the House killed a bill aimed at luring film production companies to the state. HB 164 would have reimbursed production companies for some of their costs while filming in Wyoming.

Committees also killed several bills. A proposed $1 increase in taxes on a pack of cigarettes was killed by the House Revenue Committee. And the House Judiciary Committee killed HB 234, which would have made the possession of more than three ounces of marijuana a misdemeanor. That crime is now a felony.

On Monday, representatives and senators will get their last chance to review bills on “General File.” Those are the bills that have been reviewed by committees and sent back to their chambers of origin for debate by the full body. Any bill on the “General File” not reviewed by the end of business Monday will be dead for this session.

The bills approved in three readings in the chamber where they started — the House or Senate — will now head to the other chamber for a second review.

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