By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s legislators continued to work Thursday morning on the four bills to survive the introduction process during their special session.
Representatives and senators were in the midst of their second review of the bills, three of which would address the proposed federal coronavirus vaccination mandate and one of which would correct an error in state law.
The session, which entered its third day Thursday, was called by legislators themselves to chart Wyoming’s response to the vaccine mandate proposed by the administration of President Joe Biden.
Of 20 bills originally proposed for review by each chamber, the bodies on Wednesday approved two for a second reading on Thursday.
In the House, those bills were HB1001, which specifies that vaccination status cannot be used as a condition of employment except under certain conditions and HB1002, which would prohibit the enforcement of mandates related to coronavirus and reiterate the governor’s authority to take legal action to defend the state against mandates.
In the Senate, SF1003 was the focus of much of Thursday’s work. The bill would prohibit using a person’s vaccination status to bear them from receiving public benefits, services or educational opportunities.
The second bill up for a second reading in the Senate, SF1019, would correct an error in existing law that prevented law enforcement officers for the Wyoming Gaming Commission from participating in the state’s retirement system.
A third bill was placed on the “general file” in the Senate, but there was no immediate indication that the bill would be considered for the special session.
The bill, SF1009, would require employers to provide severance pay for employees who quit or are fired because they are unable or unwilling to take the coronavirus vaccine and would require employers to grant exemptions to their vaccination requirements if employees submit written evidence of an objection on medical or religious grounds.
The measures receiving a second review on the House and Senate floor will most likely be read a third time Friday, when legislators will vote to approve or deny them as amended.
After that, beginning Monday, the House bills will move to the Senate for review and the Senate bills will move to the House.