"The only rule is that there are no rules."

Wondering why all the bills in the House that were on second and third reading on Friday were listed as "laid back"?


The House suspended its rules. Friday was Thursday and Monday will be Friday. For context, here is a quick a reminder of the rules we thought we were all playing by:

  • By rule, bills had to pass the Committee of the Whole in the second chamber no later than 2/21/19. Friday was 2/22/19.

  • By rule, all bills had to pass second reading in the second chamber by 2/22/19. Friday, as we just noted, was 2/22/19.

  • By rule, all bills will have to pass third reading in the second chamber by Monday 2/25/19.

But (as mentioned), for the purposes of SF0144 (and a few others), they decided that Friday was still Thursday. They closed out Friday acknowledging that Monday would continue to be Friday for the purposes of these six bills.


What we're not clear on, yet, is how they will get these six bills through second and third reading on Monday 2/25/19 by the third reading deadline. More rules changes? Who's to say?


***


We're fans of specific examples, so here's what we were tracking on Thursday, before the rules started to change: SF0144 Medicaid and SNAP eligibility.


We were pleased that it wasn't on the list on Thursday early, and you read about that. Thursday night, they suspended their rules. We told you about that, too. On Friday afternoon, it was listed as 5/6 so we thought there might still be time to run out the clock. Instead, it came up first. Lobbyists around the Jonah dropped everything and headed down to the House. (If you want to listen to the House session from Friday afternoon session, here it is. Debate on SF0144 starts around the 1" mark. The vote comes around the 41" mark.)


After a significant debate, Majority Floor Leader Barlow gave impassioned testimony on the House floor (starting at the 35:30" mark in the audio):


"There is a lot that goes into why people are in tough places in their lives in our communities ... I would suggest to you that the worst thing we can do is take away their healthcare ... We are doing the exact wrong thing ... If you want to push people down further, take away their healthcare. This bill has no limitation for ongoing treatment, chronic disease, mental health ... Taking someone who is already down and pushing them further down, that's not what my community wants. My constituents want to know, "Are we taking care of our own citizens?" ... This is going in the wrong direction. On and against this bill."


As you know, this bill should have been dead on Thursday night for not meeting the deadline. Yet, here we were, and it was still alive. They called the vote. SF0144 failed the voice vote. It failed the standing division vote. And then it failed the roll call vote.


But this is the year of the zombie bill. So we knew it might be only mostly dead. (As Miracle Max is wont to say, "There is a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.")


The clerk (following the rules) asked, "Any changes? Closing vote. Any changes?" And the next thing you know, Reps. Blackburn and Crank changed no to aye. "Closing vote. Closing vote. Vote is closed."


30 ayes, 28 nos, 2 excused. SF0144, now a zombie bill, passed on first reading.


So we're asking you: please continue to call your Reps and ask them to vote no on SF0144. Because if we want to answer Rep. Barlow's question, "Are we taking care of our own citizens?" with a YES and we want that to be the truth, then we need to vote this bill down.


***


HB0103 was debated in the Senate. Sen. Anselmi-Dalton proposed this second reading amendment, which failed. HB0103 Abortion - reporting requirements passed on second reading and will be heard on third reading on Monday. The men in the chamber seem to think that it is innocuous enough bill, they don't seem find cognitive dissonance in duplicating statute in this case, and they are perfectly content doing some intellectual gymnastics to pretend that this is not setting a bad precedent for all doctors and all healthcare, so we're hearing that the likelihood is that it will pass. Please contact your Senators right now, tell them to vote no. Remind them that we're paying attention.


***


Interim committee topics are on the radar now. From what we're hearing, many of the topics that our members care about will be in Joint Labor/Health during the interim. Their preliminary list appears to be:

  1. Aging Population & Services

  2. Workforce Issues

  3. Mental and Behavioral Health & Substance Abuse

  4. Telehealth & Cybersecurity

  5. Federal Programs & Action

  6. Children

  7. Drugs and Products (e.g., vaping, etc.)

  8. Pregnancy

  9. Workers Comp

Coming out of the meeting, there seemed to be high confidence that the first three would be tackled in the interim. As the session wraps up this week, they will be meeting to make final determinations, and we'll be posting more on this topic. We encourage you to call and write to the members of Joint Labor/Health (click the "Members" tab for access to the full list) and share your thoughts with them.


***


A quick reminder that this is the last week for the Legislature. There is plenty still in play and a lot of Interim Topics that directly affect our members, women, and families across Wyoming. We'll bring you updates from the 65th this week and a session wrap up as they wind down and bills go to the Governor's desk.

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