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Last week a letter to the editor was shared on this media source looking at votes I made on a selected few of the many bills we considered in 2022. I work hard to appreciate how legislation affects the residents in my district, to understand the content of each bill and ensure my vote reflects the merit of that bill. As the elected representative for House District 54, I will continue to look out for Lander, Fremont County, and the State of Wyoming through careful and thoughtful legislation. What’s good for this district is good for the State, and vice versa. Consider the following votes I made on the bills referenced in last week’s letter to the editor:
- AGAINST – HB0001H2006 – General government appropriations-2: Property Tax Reform; There were ten other Republicans (no Democrats) who joined me in the vote against this amendment that was authored and supported by House Democrats. This amendment did nothing more than “robbed Peter to pay Paul” by taking General fund dollars from services provided to citizens of the state to pay for property tax relief to other citizens of the state. The amendment didn’t do anything to reform or solve the increases in property taxes.
- AGAINST –HJ0003 – Runoff elections-constitutional amendment: This amendment would have constitutionally required additional special sessions of the Wyoming legislature, reducing the flexibility the framers intended the Governor, Senate and House of Representative leaders to have and adding additional cost to Wyoming taxpayers. Contrary to popular belief, this amendment did not implement runoff elections.
- FOR – HB0023 – Agricultural land qualification-annual gross revenues: As an issue acutely felt in Lander, I don’t believe a wealthy person from California moving to Wyoming after paying well above the market price for his “little piece of Heaven” on the outskirts of Lander should be allowed to pay significantly reduced property tax rates for merely renting out his front yard to a neighbor’s horse for $500. Let’s make sure ag land is actually being used as ag land and not a tax break for the hobby farmer who paid above market price for his ranchette driving everyone else’s residential property taxes higher.
- FOR – HB0040 – Judges Housing Allowance: If a judge can’t live in the general area of their jurisdiction due to the cost of living, we have a problem. We already offer the same versions of housing allowances to Game Wardens, teachers, and WYDOT personnel, because it makes sense.
- FOR – HB0096 – State official’s salary: The demands of these positions are substantial. I don’t know a single job in Wyoming that requires managing billions in funds, extensive property, and overseeing thousands of employees that isn’t paying well over $100,000. Consider the average salary for school district superintendents in Wyoming is $140,000. The adage is true that “you get what you pay for” and this helps to ensure Wyoming will support qualified officials from anywhere in the state, not just Cheyenne.
- AGAINST – SF0051 – Fairness in women’s sports: I am in support of that bill, but I am not in Support of procedure and rules being disregarded. This bill was the unfortunate casualty of the Senate’s inability to meet its deadlines. Should it be properly submitted to the House, I am in favor of it.
- AGAINST – HB0118 – Prohibiting Mask Discrimination for Covid-19: This bill allowed for the overreach of state government telling private institutions how to behave. House District 54 has numerous private schools that would have potentially been affected by this bill. I do not believe this is the role of our state government and will consistently vote to protect the rights of individual citizens and private entities.
I will openly and happily discuss any vote I have made in my Legislative career. I invite anyone to call me and share their concerns with me so that I can continue to look out for Lander and House District 54.