Think you’re a law-abiding resident of Wyoming? Here’s a booster, as 126 new laws go into effect Saturday.
Most of the laws passed during the 2023 legislative session begin July 1. The impact of some will be immediate, while others may take months or even years to be fully realized.
One of the most publicized laws from this year’s session is a bill prohibiting transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports in grades 7-12. It’s unclear what the future of this law will look like as President Joe Biden’s administration has issued a new rule proposal that, if finalized, may override the functionality of Wyoming’s law.
One of the biggest health care-related bills that will go into effect is a new law extending postpartum Medicaid coverage for up to 12 months for new mothers.
Another bill restoring gun and other rights for nonviolent felons five years after they complete their sentences also begins Saturday.
Some Laws Blocked
Although most new laws are active Saturday, some went into effect immediately upon passage.
The two main bills prohibiting abortion passed during the 2023 session are being challenged in court.
The Life is a Human Right Act, which bans almost all forms of abortion in the state, was quickly challenged in court and now is under a temporary restraining order. The same is true for a new prohibition on chemical abortions in the state.
Legislation establishing a mountain lion pursuit season allows the pursuit of a mountain lion by dogs for training purposes under the agreement that no lions can be killed.
A bill adding a shed antlers conservation stamp also goes into effect Saturday, as does legislation requiring the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to set up rules and collection seasons for antlers and horns.
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Jeremy Haroldson, R-Wheatland, that allows the use of artificial light while hunting predatory animals at night starts Saturday.
Also set to begin is a law initiated by Laramie Democrat Rep. Karlee Provenza that prohibits people from putting up fake “no trespassing” signs on public land.
Another new law creates a Wyoming charter school authorizing board. Charter schools were a major point of discussion during the Select School Facilities Committee meeting Thursday.
A bill expanding Wyoming’s property tax rebate program started March 2, addressing a top issue for residents and lawmakers as property taxes continued their exponential growth this spring. During a Revenue Committee meeting earlier this week, people packed the meeting room in Sheridan to air their complaints.
Some Already Started, Some Still Won’t
Another new law that’s already active and hasn’t been challenged in court prohibits voters from changing party affiliation after the candidate filing period opens, a practice popularly known as “crossover voting.” This law also started March 2.
There are a handful of laws that still won’t go into effect until later this year and seven that won’t go into action until 2024.
For instance, a road and bridge contracting bill won’t go into effect until October, and a bill adjusting the fees for nonresident hunting license applications won’t trigger until Jan. 1, 2024.
In total, Gov. Mark Gordon signed or allowed 191 bills to pass into law during the 2023 Legislature.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.