Wyoming Legislature

A Republican state Representative from Laramie County says it appears "pretty firm" at this point that a special session of the Wyoming Legislature to appropriate federal COVID-19 stimulus money will convene on July 17.

Rep. Dan Zwonitzer made the comments on the ''Weekend in Wyoming' program on Saturday on am 650, KGAB. He said the session is scheduled to run through July 17 or so, as lawmakers make decisions on the money that the state will get in the latest round of COVID-19 stimulus funding.

In the interview, Zwonitzer said the session is ''right now slated for the 12th through the 17th."

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When asked later whether that date is firm, Zwonitzer replied '' I would say it's pretty firm. The legislature has contacted all of the members and said "block your calendars, plan on being here and start working on rooms and housing arrangements for that week at least. There was some talk about it going ten days. But as we all know, Frontier Days pricing for the125th is going to skyrocket for about that week before, so I bet we won't be in town more than a week.

A spokeswoman for the Wyoming Legislative Service Office said on Monday morning that the date for the special session has not yet been formally announced.

The 125th edition of Cheyenne Frontier Days is slated to begin on July 23. The demand for lodging during that time typically pushes the prices for hotel and motel rooms well above normal levels.

The state will be getting roughly $1.3 billion in stimulus money to be spent for such things as municipalities, education, rental assistance, and other areas.

Zwonitzer says the session will be "dedicated to having some legislative oversight" of that money and how it is spent. He noted that in 2020 the state got roughly $1.25 billion in COVID stimulus money and held a two-day session and did " some kind of quick, cursory funding streams without a lot more oversight by your legislative branch and gave the governor kind of broad authority on how to spend it.''

But he says the thinking this year is that the legislature "needs to have a better handle" on how the money is spent.

Zwonitzer chairs the House Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions and the Select  Committee on Legislative Facilities, Technology. and Process.

You can hear the entire Weekend In Wyoming interview with Rep. Zwonitzer, in which he also discusses school funding, Medicaid expansion, taxes and a number of other topics, in the audio file below.

 

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