By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The special session of Wyoming’s Legislature, originally scheduled to last three days, will now stretch into the next week at least, the Wyoming Speaker of the House said on Thursday.
Rep. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, told his fellow legislators to plan on being at the Wyoming Capitol until at least Wednesday.
“No bills will be accelerated, that means we’ll do third reading tomorrow,” Barlow said. “I don’t see any point working on a Saturday. Then come back Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”
Barlow added that the House, which spent the better part of Wednesday and Thursday reviewing two bills, will likely see short days next week when it receives the Senate’s measures. The Senate, which wrapped up its work before noon on Thursday after finishing its second review of two bills, will probably have longer days as it looks over the House bills, he said.
Only four bills remain of the 20 originally proposed in each chamber for review during the special session, called to chart Wyoming’s response to a proposed federal coronavirus vaccine mandate.
In the House, those bills still in play 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 bar 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.
Initially when the special session was proposed, it was only supposed to last three days and would have wrapped up Thursday. However, special rules for the session drafted to speed up the process to accommodate that timeline were rejected.
By law, legislators have up to 20 days to finish the session.
Beginning Monday, the House bills will move to the Senate for review and the Senate bills will move to the House.