A proposed law that would make it impossible for employers to prevent workers from going to work for a competing company cleared a legislative committee Wednesday morning with a 6-3 vote.
Its next stop is the Wyoming House of Representatives.
A noncompete clause is a contract stipulation that makes workers agree not to work for a competing company if they leave their current employer.
House Bill 38 would make noncompete clauses unenforceable, except for high-level executives and company insiders, as well as company part-owners.
Wyoming Hospital Association President Eric Boley asked the committee to exempt physicians from the bill as well, but that suggestion was rejected during the committee’s re-drafting process.
“Physicians have significant bargaining power,” said Boley. “In some of your communities you’ll even see physicians… take the high-paying, insured patients and go to a surgical center – and leave the non-paying patients to be taken care of by your community hospital.”
Boley also had argued that nurse practitioners and other specialists should be subject to noncompete clauses when needed.
Later saying the suggestion was made with “tongue-in-cheek,” Boley asked the committee to adopt the same terms of President Joe Biden’s executive order asking the Federal Trade Commission to ban some non-compete clauses, as the order would exempt physicians from the ban.
“I’m not wild about one of your comments of ‘just codify President Biden’s executive order,’” quipped House Judiciary Committee Chair Jared Olsen, R-Casper.
Boley said although the comment was mostly in jest, “We’re actually headed down the road of making (the law) more stringent and more restrictive than the Biden order.”