The Wyoming State House defeated a bill on Wednesday morning that would have prohibited employers from requiring their staff to implant microchips in their bodies. Senate File 72 was defeated 32-28-1 on third reading, the last major hurdle it had left before being signed into law.
Fears and suspicion of current and future forced microchip use in Wyoming brought SF 72 close to being passed into law. Many supporters of the bill described it as an opportunity for the Wyoming Legislature to get ahead of a problem before it materializes, some drawing a comparison to COVID-19 restrictions placed in the workplace during the pandemic.
Despite expressing doubt that this practice is occurring in Wyoming, state Rep. Barry Crago, R-Buffalo, successfully passed an amendment to the bill on Wednesday making any past microchipping agreements still acceptable in Wyoming. He said he brought this amendment to conform the bill to the Wyoming Constitution.
“Why is this amendment needed? I suppose the same could be said about the bill,” Crago said. “But what we’re trying to do is get to a place where the bill as written is constitutional, nothing more, nothing less.”
Rep. Jeanette Ward, R-Casper, spoke against this argument.
“If no one is microchipping, why is this amendment necessary?” she questioned.
Rep. Cyrus Western, R-Sheridan, criticized the bill for having no adherence to federal regulations. An earlier amendment he made to have Wyoming law adhere to a federal law regarding animal microchipping was stripped from the final bill.
“Right now, we have no way of knowing whether we are in compliance or out of compliance with any of the federal regs that do monitor this technology,” Western said.
Reps. Allen Slagle, R-Lusk, and Chip Neiman, R-Hulett, drew comparisons between this aspect of the bill and pressure underway to microchip all cattle in America.
“There are things that are out there in the wings that are wanting to identify us,” Neiman said. “I know it’s not happening right now, but don’t fool yourself that this is not in the wings. This is going on right now in the livestock industry.”
Rep. John Bear, R-Gilette, said the federal government has no authority or laws to enforce any microchip laws in Wyoming.
Is It Happening?
Many legislators expressed doubt that any business in Wyoming is microchipping its employees, even with consent.
“We’ve heard testimony that this isn’t happening, but just in case it is, I don’t think if somebody was microchipping their employees they’re going to show up to the Legislature and tell us about it,” Crago said. Probably not going to say hey, ‘I’ve got all my people microchipped.’”
Rep. Chris Knapp, R-Gillette, claimed there are places in the world where people are being microchipped without consent, but provided no examples.
In 2021, Indiana became the 11th state to ban forced microchipping.
Although there are no documented instances of any American employer requiring employees to be microchipped, there have been a number of cases where workers have voluntarily had chips inserted into their bodies.
The primary use for the chips in workplace settings so far has been for automating rudimentary tasks such as entering buildings, using vending machines and serving as a password for computer logins, which all can be completed with the wave of a hand, much like a keycard.