By Cowboy State Daily
Bills creating a felony crime of animal abuse and setting a deadline for the production of public records were among a group signed into law on Friday by Gov. Mark Gordon.
HB 235, one of the last bills to be approved by the Legislature in the closing hours of its general session, makes it a felony for a person to commit aggravated cruelty to animals resulting in the death or euthanasia of an animal or to abuse an animal with an intent to kill it.
The law takes effect July 1. Currently, a person convicted of animal abuse can only be found guilty of a misdemeanor. A felony conviction carries a prison sentence of up to two years.
The public records law, SF 57, sets a 30-day deadline for the release of public documents. It also authorizes the hiring of an ombudsman to help mediate disputes over the release of public documents.
Under existing law, there was no time limit for government agencies to release public documents.
Other bills signed into law Friday included:
- SF 159, designed to encourage utilities to sell old coal-fired electric plants rather than retire them;
- HB 103, requiring doctors who perform abortions to report those procedures to the state Office of Vital Records and requiring the the data be compiled into a public report;
- SF 122, creating the “Wyoming Works Program,” which will provide grants for students attending technical programs at community colleges, and
- HB 99, creating a state “Public Lands Day.”
Gordon has until late March to sign bills into law, veto them or allow them to become law without his signature.