Penn asks Labor committee to study day-care regulations, gender transitioning in minors before next legislative session

    Wyoming Rep. Sarah Penn, R-Lander, suggested two of the interim topics the Joint Labor, Health and Social Services Committee may study before the Wyoming Legislature convenes again in 2024.

    She discussed both ideas during a Labor committee meeting in February, beginning with her proposal to study day-care regulations.

    “That’s definitely a topic (that) we’ve had … significant concerns about,” Penn said. “There’s a real need for more day-care options in our towns. A lot of day-cares have been going out (of business).”


    Many of those establishments end up shutting their doors because there is “so much regulation” surrounding the operation, she said: For example, day-care providers must maintain “very tight” staffing ratios, and if they take on larger groups of children, they are subject to additional requirements.

    Penn pointed to one provider who learned about a new regulation requiring a commercial dishwasher be installed at her day-care, based on the number of children she served.

    In response, Penn said, the provider “dropped back the number of kids” she would accept at her day-care “so that she didn’t have to have a commercial dishwasher and remodel her home.”

    Those kinds of regulations “would be beneficial to look at,” Penn suggested, asking the committee to consider ways Wyoming could “de-regulate day-cares while still keeping them safe and increase the options so that we don’t have these home day-cares shutting down.”


    Minors transitioning

    The other topic Penn brought to the committee was titled “gender transitioning in minors.”

    She noted that several bills related to transgender issues were introduced during this year’s legislative session – one of which became law, banning students identified as male at birth from competing on interscholastic sports teams designated for female students.

    Penn said “several physicians” have since approached her asking that lawmakers “look at what other states have, legislation-wise, and ways that we can continue to work to protect our children.”


    “(Let’s) come up with legislation that we can get moved through,” she said.

    Other topics

    During the interim, the Labor committee may also look into the possibility of hiring a statewide or regional forensic pathologist to serve Wyoming.

    Penn wondered whether programs like WWAMI might help “incentivize” the study of forensic pathology in the region “to help us with this issue.”


    Another topic the Labor committee may take up during the interim is violence against healthcare workers.

    The committee’s next meeting is scheduled to take place April 27-28 in Casper.


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