A proposed constitutional amendment that would have specified only the legislature could impose new taxes to pay for school funding died in a Wyoming House committee late Monday.

House Education Committee Chair David Northrup [R-Park County] laid back any action on Senate Joint Resolution 4, effectively killing the measure for this session.

A similar bill to SJ 4, House Joint Resolution 9, likewise died in a House committee earlier this session. SJ 4 had passed the Wyoming Senate on a 22-8 vote and would have needed a 2/3 majority vote on the House floor before being sent to the voters. It would have then needed to be supported by a majority of the voters casting ballots on election day, not just a majority of those voting on the amendment itself.

That rule under Wyoming law means people not voting on a constitutional amendment essentially end up counting as ''no" votes. Getting state voters to sign off on constitutional amendments in Wyoming has historically been difficult.

SJ 4 was sponsored by Sen. Affie Ellis [R-Laramie County]. Had the proposal become law, Wyoming courts could still have found school funding formulas unconstitutional, but could not have ordered new taxes.

Wyoming school funding has been the subject of a long series of bitter court fights dating back to the early 1980s, and court decisions have had a major impact in shaping education funding plans in the state over the years.

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