Legislative Watch

About the U.S. Congress

Congress budgeted $526.6 million for member expenses in 2017.

Each of the 468 Members of Congress receives +/- $1,503,000 per year in salary ($174,000), benefits, allowances, and expenses.

It costs $4.1 billion per year in salaries and expenses to keep Capitol Hill functioning.

Senators on average employ 34 aides and House members employ about 14. Most such staffers are paid from the Member’s allowances.

In addition Congress supports 41 permanent committees and some 174 subcommittees.  Each of these also have permanent staffs that shadow and often duplicate the work of the executive branch office/bureau/agency covering the same subject matter.

Key State & Federal Legislation 2017 by WRN Committee

EDUCATION           HEALTH           ENVIRONMENT                 ECONOMY           CIVIL LIBERTIES

EDUCATION
State.  HB0136 failed  Campus Carry.  In the House:  Flitner, Greear, and Laursen voted AYE.  Northrup voted NAY.
State.  HB 019 School District Choice on Gun Carry.  passed & was signed.  All Park County legislators voted AYE.
State.  HB 236 Omnibus Education Funding.  passed with all PC reps voting against it.

Laursen introduced.  HB 0093.  Failed.  WICHE repayment program-veterinary medicine students.
Laursen introduced.  HB 0211.  Passed/Signed.  Developmental preschool payment calculations-amendments.

Northrup introduced. HB 0139.  Passed/Signed.  School finance-court ordered placement; specifying when a school  district may count children under court ordered placement among its average daily membership

Enzi introduced.  S. 749 — Transparency in Student Lending Act (Introduced 3/28/2017). Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. This bill amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to expand disclosure requirements for an institution of higher education (IHE) that participates in the Direct Loan program. Specifically, it requires an IHE to disclose, in federal student loan application materials, the annual percentage rate applicable to a Direct Loan.  Back to top.

HEALTH

Cheney introduced.  H.Res.55 — Amends H.R. 7, prohibiting the use of federal funds, facilities, or personnel for abortions and amends the Internal Revenue Code and the Affordable Care Act to prohibit qualified health plans for covering abortions.  H.Res.55, sponsored by Cheney, sets forth the rules to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions. (Introduced 01/23/2017)  Committees: House – Rules Committee Reports: H. Rept. 115-5.  Latest Action: House – 01/24/2017 Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

Barrasso introduced.  S.Amdt.181 —Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to strengthening Social Security and repealing and replacing Obamacare, which has increased health care costs, raised taxes on middle class families, reduced access to high-quality care, created disincentives for work, and caused tens of thousands of Americans to lose coverage they had and liked, and replacing Obamacare with patient-centered, step-by-step health reforms that provide access to quality, affordable private health care coverage for all Americans, including people with disabilities and chronic conditions, and their families, by increasing competition, State flexibility, and individual choice, and safe-guarding consumer protections, such as a ban on lifetime limits, that Americans support.Amends Bill: S.Con.Res.3 )Latest Action: 01/11/17 Amendment SA 181 ruled out of order by the chair.

Senator Barrasso.  S.Amdt.173 — Purpose: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to rural health and repealing and replacing Obamacare.  Amends Bill: S.Con.Res.3 (Submitted 01/11/2017) (Proposed 01/11/2017)Latest Action: 01/11/17 Amendment SA 173 ruled out of order by the chair.

Laursen introduced. HB 0072.  Failed.  To consider volunteer health care workers attending the poor to be government workers an immune to liability claims.

Barrasso introduced.  S.1879 — Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act  (Introduced 09/27/2017)  A bipartisan bill sponsored jointly with Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) the bill would allow America’s seniors access to marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and licensed professional counselors (LPCs) through Medicare. By providing these mental health professionals the opportunity to participate in the Medicare program, this bill expands the number of mental health would providers available to our nation’s seniors.  Referred to the Committee on Finance.

Cheney introduced.  H.Res.55 — Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 7) to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions. (Introduced 01/23/2017)  Committees: House – Rules Committee Reports: H. Rept. 115-5Latest Action: House – 01/24/2017. Motion to reconsider laid on the table. Agreed to without objection. Status:  Agreed to in House.

Cheney Introduced.  H.Res.548 —Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 36) to amend title 18, United States Code, to protect pain-capable unborn children, and for other purposes. (Introduced 10/02/2017) ) Committees: House – Rules Committee Reports: H. Rept. 115-338.  Latest Action: House – 10/03/2017 Motion to reconsider laid on the table. Agreed to without objection.

Enzi introduced.  S.811 — Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017. Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. This bill prohibits the federal government, and any state or local government that receives federal funding for any program that provides child welfare services under part B (Child and Family Services) or part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act (SSAct), from discriminating or taking an adverse action against a child welfare service provider that declines to provide, facilitate, or refer for a child welfare service that conflicts with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions

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CIVIL LIBERTIES

Laursen introduced.  HB 0050.  Pending.  To limit the scope of actions of delegates to a U.S. Constitution Article V (concerning amendments to the U.S. Constitution).

Northrup introduced. HB 0201.  Failed.  With Senator Coe.  Presidential primary elections.  Provides for a Presidential primary election to determine the major parties preferred primary candidate.

Peterson introduced.  SF 0087.  Not considered.  With Rep Winters.  Countermand amendment provisions.  An Article V constitutional amendment limiting the powers of the federal government and expanding those of the states.  Back to Top.

ECONOMY

Enzi introduced.  S. 976 — Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 (Introduced 4/27/2017)  Hearings held – 05/18/2017 Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2017 would grant states the right to require that out-of-state businesses, such as those selling online or through catalogs, collect state sales taxes on purchases sold into their states.  Back to Top

 ENVIRONMENT

Cheney Introduced.  H. Amend. #1 to H.R. 4239, Secure American Energy Act concerning oil and gas leasing on the outer Continental Shelf and to empower states to manage the development and production of oil and gas on Federal lands.  Cheney amendments, adopted by a vote along party lines, negates the bird protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.   What this means:

  • 4239, according to the National Parks Conservation Association “make extensive revisions to federal land use policy and weaken long-standing environmental safeguards that protect parks from the harmful side effects of oil and gas development.”
  • Cheney Amendment, according to the National Audubon Society ends the protection of birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and is a Bird Killer.

Barrasso introduced.  S.1514 — HELP for Wildlife Act  (Introduced 06/29/2017) The Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act, is a bi-partisan bill commonly called The Sportsman’s Act.  The bill contains several provisions important to conservationists, sportsmen, and fisheries managers including re-authorizations of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Chesapeake Bay Program.  It also reaffirms a March decision by the DC Court of Appeals that upholds the de-listing of the wolf in Wyoming while closing the door on challenges to the WY wolf management programs. Co-sponsors include Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).  Committees: Senate – Environment and Public Works Committee Reports: S. Rept. 115-168.  Latest Action: Senate – 10/05/2017 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 237.

Barrasso introduced.  S.826 —WILD Act  (Introduced 04/04/2017) Committees: Senate – Environment and Public Works | House – Natural Resources, Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, Science, Space, and Technology; Committee Reports: S. Rept. 115-73. Latest Action: House – 09/07/2017. Referred to the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. (All Actions)

The Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver (WILD) Act aims to promote wildlife conservation, assist in the management of invasive species, and help protect endangered species. The bipartisan legislation will reauthorize government conservation programs to protect animals like elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, turtles, and more.  THE WILD Act will also establish cash-prize competitions for technological innovations in the prevention of illegal poaching and trafficking, management of invasive species, promotion of conservation, and protection of endangered wildlife.  It has received wide bi-partisan backing from environmental and other groups.

Cheney introduced.  H.R.1778 —To provide that an order by the Secretary of the Interior imposing a moratorium on Federal coal leasing shall not take effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted, and for other purposes. (Introduced 03/29/2017)  Committees: House – Natural Resources  Latest Action: House.  11/17. Natural Resources Committee reviewed, voted on, and passed H.R. 1778, ensuring there will be no future moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands without approval from the House and Senate.  

Cheney Introduced in the House; Enzi in the Senate H.R.2661 & S. 1267 —State Mineral Revenue Protection Act.  Became Public Law No: 115-12. This act amends the Mineral Leasing Act to require the Secretary of the Interior to convey to a State all right, title, and interest in and to a percentage of the amount of royalties and other amounts required to be paid to the State under that Act with respect to public land and deposits in the State, and for other purposes.  Back to Top

About WY State Legislature

The Wyoming State Legislature consists of a 60-member House of Representatives and a 30-member Senate. There are no term limits for either chamber.

The Republican Party holds a super-majority in the current legislature, which began meeting in 2013; 51 of the 60 seats in the House and 26 of the 30 seats in the Senate are held by Republicans.
Members of the House represent single-member constituent districts, each with a population of at least 9,000 and serve two-year terms without term limits. Term limits were declared unconstitutional by the Wyoming Supreme Court in 2004, overturning a decade-old law that had restricted Representatives to six terms (twelve years).
The current Speaker of the House is Steve Harshman of District 37 (Casper).
The 30 Senators represent an equal number of constituencies across Wyoming, each with a population of at least 17,000, and serve four year terms without term limits.

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