Gun-Free Zone Repeal, I-80 Toll Road Bills Dead In Wyoming Legislature
With a little over two weeks left in the 2023 General Session of the Wyoming Legislature, a number of high-profile bills are dead for this session.
The dead bills include legislation that would have repealed gun-free zones, banned the teaching of critical race theory in K-12 schools and legislation that could have led to making Interstate 80 a toll road.
While proponents pf those bills can try again next session, getting them introduced will be more difficult. That's because next year will be a budget session.
That means it will take a 2/3 majority vote to get non-budget legislation introduced. In a General Session such as this year, it only takes a simple majority for introduction.
Among the high-profile bills that are dead for this session:
Gun-free zone repeal bills. House Bill 105 and Senate File 135 were the latest efforts to remove most gun-free zones in Wyoming. The repeal would have allowed people to carry guns into governmental meetings and local proceedings such as city council and county commission meetings. Both the House and Senate bills died because legislative leadership didn't bring them before the Committees of the Whole of the respective houses in time to meet deadlines
House Bill 205, which would have banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools was never considered for introduction. Opponents of the legislation say it is pointless political posturing because CRT is a topic for advanced college-level courses that is not taught in K-12 schools. But supporters say elements of CRT are seeping into K-12 classrooms through textbooks and in some cases, opinions expressed by classroom teachers, often amounting to indoctrination of students. A number of other states, including Florida, have passed CRT classroom bans, often leading to court battles.
Senate File 160, which theoretically could have eventually led to making Interstate 80 in Wyoming a toll road, died Feb. 6 when it missed the deadline for Committee of the Whole consideration. There are questions about whether the federal government would allow the state to toll a federal interstate. But supporters say the idea is at least worth pursuing to help pay for highway maintenance.
House Bill 68, the crosswalk safety bill. The bill would authorize the use of video systems on official traffic control devices to monitor pedestrian safety at school zone crosswalks between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on days that school is in session. The bill died in committee without ever making it to the floor of the house.
The legislative session is slated to run until March 3.
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