Wyoming Legislators Call For Special Session After Latest Round Of Gordon Vetoes

Sen. Cheri Steinmetz and Rep. John Bear on Saturday both called for a special session of the Wyoming Legislature citing Gov. Gordon's vetoes of bills which were overwhelmingly passed by legislators.

Jimmy Orr

March 23, 20242 min read

State Rep. John Bear and Sen. Cheri Steinmetz
State Rep. John Bear and Sen. Cheri Steinmetz (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

The latest round of vetoes from Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon appear to be the straws that broke the camel’s back.

Both Sen. Cheri Steinmetz and Rep. John Bear issued strongly worded press releases Saturday asking legislative leadership to call a special session.

Stating that Gordon’s vetoes were an “overreach of the executive branch,” Steinmetz said a special session was necessary so, as co-equals, the legislative branch could do its job.

“Bills and issues of great importance to the citizens of Wyoming, which were overwhelmingly passed by a veto-proof majority of the Legislature, have been vetoed by the governor,” Steinmetz said, citing the governor’s veto of a property tax bill and a bill that would have eliminated gun-free zones.

She and Bear both lamented the decision of the Legislature's leadership to adjourn the session early, which allowed Gordon to issue vetoes without the legislative branch having the ability to override them.

“Many sage legislators warned we should never leave town without the governor completing his work and the legislative veto intact,” Steinmetz wrote. “I would say we learned our lesson.”

'No Recourse'

Bear, in issuing the release on behalf of the Wyoming Freedom Caucus, said the early adjournment of the session gave the people of Wyoming, through their elected representatives, “no recourse” to override his decisions.

That decision "served as an open invitation to Governor Gordon to veto measures important to the people," the release reads. "It appears that the governor took that invitation and ran with it."

Bear mentioned six bills in his press release, including the property tax and the elimination of gun-free zones bills.

He also pointed to Saturday’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s defunding of the controversial diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programming at the University of Wyoming.

“Our founders wisely created a system of government characterized by a division of power between three co-equal branches of government,” Bear wrote.

“Legislative leaders have destroyed this division of power, elevating the governor to the position of empirical king with unilateral, unchecked authority,” he wrote. 

When reached on Saturday afternoon, House Speaker Albert Sommers said he had no comment as he hadn’t seen the official request for a special session.

Senate President Ogden Driskill was not immediately available for comment.

Steinmetz letter 3 23 24
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)
John bear letter
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Jimmy Orr can be reached at jimmy@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.