Game on, party (policy?) people, game on.
Starting next week, it will be fast and furious in the world of Wyoming State Politics. Let's take a look.
Tuesday, August 18th: Wyoming Primary
Why you should care: Somewhere in excess of 35 State House and 10 State Senate (and plenty of County Commission, City Council, and Mayoral) races will be decided in the primary. These candidates will face no challenger in the general.
Win or go home, as they say.
Your voice is your vote and we need you to use yours. GOTV!
Wednesday, August 19th: Joint Appropriations
Why you should care:
First look at the latest CREG report. We'll find out how bad things really are for the state.
They're still trying to allocate CARES Act federal COVID-19 relief funds. Not many of those dollars have hit the streets in Wyoming and they have the potential to make a huge impact.
We'll start to get a feel for life after the primaries.
We'll know a lot more about who will be in what seats and this committee--a powerful committee that controls the state budget--will give us significant insight into the 2021 General Session (and whether there might be a Special Session later in 2020) when they convene next week.
ps--Your occasional reminder that there are currently *zero* women on this committee.
Thursday, August 20th and Friday, August 21st: Joint Labor/Health
Why you should care: CARES Act again. Also: public health crisis. Budget cuts to essential services, mental health, Department of Health, Department of Family Services. Public health crisis, because maybe saying it twice will remind people that it is happening and real.
Also Thursday, August 20th and Friday, August 21st: Joint Judiciary
Why you should care: COVID-19, public health, mental health, public meetings, public health (again), and ethics and disclosure.
And we were going to link to all the bills they are working. But there are FOURTEEN (14!). So that's a busy meeting. You can see all of them in the agenda and link to each of them from here under the "Meeting Materials" tab.
Monday, August 24th and Tuesday, August 25th: Joint Revenue
Why you should care: They're talking taxes. No one in Wyoming talks taxes. (Except for our Tax Club. Want to join? Hit us up at email@example.com and tell us why you want to be a tax policy nerd.)
But, seriously, no one in Wyoming talks taxes except to say that they will never ever ever ever ever raise them.
Welp. The time for laying in the grass is over. We need revenue and taxes should be on everyone's hearts and minds.
All the things.
Sales tax? On the agenda. RETT? On the agenda. Taxing government? Also on the agenda. Electricity tax? Yup, that, too. Property tax? Uh-huh. Lots to consider, lots to study, lots and lots to testify about.
Want to know more before you testify or listen in? Then check out the People's Review: Live! on August 20th. The Co-Chairs of Revenue Sen. Cale Case and Rep. Dan Zwonitzer will be joined by Minority Floor Leader Cathy Connolly for ESPC's Who Pays? The Budget Crisis and the Future of Taxes in Wyoming.
But, wait! There's more!
You know we care about how all of these things impact women. And we'll dig into the specifics of each of these taxes--and which ones are more regressive (bad) and progressive (better)--in an upcoming post. In the meantime, let's talk Tampon Tax.
There is an agenda item in the upcoming Revenue Cmte Mtg to revisit the Essential Health Product Dignity Act from last session (SF0086, Ellis). That bill proposed to repeal the Tampon Tax (and likewise end the tax on diapers and adult incontinence products). Two points:
Period Equity filed a lawsuit in Michigan this week contending that the Tampon Tax violates the Equal Protection Clauses in both the US and Michigan Constitutions.
The CARES Act deemed period products medical necessities eligible for HSA and FSA expenditures.
This is a complicated topic because the state *desperately* needs tax revenue, so it is a positive development for them to talk taxes.
At the same time, the Tampon Tax is bad for women--and may even be unconstitutional. (See above!)
So even if Joint Revenue Committee is not on your Must See TV list, we encourage you to pay attention and get involved. Now is the time!
But, wait! There's even more!
Thursday, August 27th and Friday, August 28th: Joint Minerals & Economic Development
Why you should care: Reupping the earlier point: The state is in dire shape right now. What we do around both minerals and economic development will shape our future. (Not as much as taxes, but a lot.)
On August 27th in the afternoon, the Wyoming Council for Women will be testifying and providing a report on their work. This is one of the only times in the year that we get to hear from a women's group, so it is worth tuning in just for that. And they're taking public testimony, too. So we're planning to testify and think that you should, too.
What should you talk about?
Well, this is a well documented She-Cession, so there are myriad topics that roll up under that heading, and we aren't talking nearly enough about how COVID-19 is impacting Wyoming women. (For more on what's happening nationally, see articles here, here, here, here, and here. Jen's columns here, here, and here tackle some of it, too.)
We'll put up a post closer to the date with more intel, more details, and to encourage written and public testimony.
How to get involved:
They now livestream all of the committee meetings, so you can tune in via YouTube.
You can also testify via zoom by completing this form.
And, please, GET OUT THE VOTE!