2008 Session Roundups: Wyoming

In its short session, Wyoming lawmakers largely limited their work to passing the state budget and promoting policies that legislators hope will reduce the carbon emissions from the state's coal production.

The $3.5 billion budget bill avoided proposed general property tax cuts in favor of targeted relief to senior citizens, veterans and the disabled, while maintaining funding for state services.  The budget included $30 million per year for mine reclamation projects in the state.

A number of bills concentrated on trying to promote projects for "clean" coal (an oxymoron for many environmentalists), including:

  • $20 million for a joint University of Wyoming elk and General Electric project establishing a research facility to study ways to reduce carbon emissions from coal production.
  • HB 90 appropriates $250,000 to the Department of Environmental Quality to regulate the capture and injection of carbon dioxide into the earth.
  • HB 89 will allow surface property owners to sell the "pore space" below their lands to store carbon dioxide and other substances as part of "carbon sequestration" schemes.
  • $10 million for the construction of a coal gasification plant near Elk Mountain in Carbon County.

The legislature also passed SF 65, which will allow prisoners to petition for new trials based on DNA evidence.

On the campaign finance front, the legislature passed HB 3 to authorize electronic campaign filing, but the Governor vetoed a bill that would have lifted campaign contribution limits from $1000 to $3,500 and elimited the $25,000 limit on political contributions.