Members of the Wyoming Legislature will formally vote over the next few days on whether to hold a special session to override vetoes of several bills by Governor Mark Gordon.

An informal straw poll of lawmakers reached the needed 35 percent threshold in both houses on Wednesday to trigger the vote. A simple majority in both houses will be needed to call a special session. The deadline for voting is Sunday night, and ballots must be postmarked by Monday.

The top leaders of both houses of the legislature, House Speaker Albert Sommers and Senate President Ogden Driskill released a joint Op-Ed yesterday opposing the session. House Minority Floor Leader Mike Yin [D-Jackson] likewise has come out against the idea.

Top Legislative Leaders Oppose A Special Session

In their Wednesday Op-Ed, Sommers and Driskill said they would "likely" support a special session if the discussion could be limited to overturning a veto of Senate File 54, the Homeowner Tax Exemption bill. But they say that is unlikely. ''Without special rules governing the special session, it’s likely to be a Pandora’s Box scenario devolving into a mini-session akin to what we witnessed in the 2021 special session, where 41 bills were filed, and only one passed. Further in 2021, we were unsuccessful in passing limiting rules for the special session. Based on our history, we fear that expecting self-restraint within the chambers might be wishful thinking. Remember, history has a tendency to repeat itself.''

They said the special session would burden legislators, legislative staff and their families, adding ''It is crucial to emphasize the importance of safeguarding the integrity of our citizen legislature. Calling for yet another special session in 2024 would mark the third such occurrence in the last five years, hinting at a potential trend towards a full-time legislature – a direction we do not embrace. Protecting the institution of our citizen legislature means respecting its intended function and preserving its capacity to effectively address issues within the framework of regular sessions.''

Freedom Caucus Leader Says Opponents Fear Election Consequences

But House Freedom Caucus Leader Rep. John Bear [R-Gillette] took a different view. In a Facebook post, Bear wrote ''From the presiding officers: “We cannot justify calling ourselves into a special session for matters better suited to the 2025 General Session,…”. In other words please wait until it is not an election year so that we can all vote our conscience rather than what the people desire.

Call your legislators today. They have to have this in by Sunday at 5PM and postmarked by Monday.''
It isn't known exactly when a special session might be held, but Bear told ''Wake Up Wyoming'' host Glenn Woods earlier this week that he thinks it would probably happen in May.

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Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore




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