Minerals Committee to Meet

The Minerals Committee, Co-Chaired by Senator Anderson and Representative Greear, has announced their first interim meeting on May 14th and 15th. The meeting will take place on-line.

The Committee posted the agenda, which includes a discussion of ad valorem tax issues on Friday, May 15th at 10:30 am. Specifically, the committee will address SF 139, the bill that passed the 2020 legislature addressing mineral liens on unpaid production taxes.

The livestream of the meeting will be available at www.wyoleg.gov.

Committees Propose Interim Topics

The Chairmen of each legislative committees have made their interim topic suggestions to the Management Council for consideration.

The letters can all be read here.

The Management Committee will meet in Cheyenne on April 16th to consider the topics and finalize topics for each committee.

New Legislation!

What’s better than that new car smell? That’s right! The smell of new legislation, hot off the LSO presses. This year, as always, there were a menagerie of bills that became effective immediately, or on July 1, or next January.

Read all about the legislation enacted in this session here.

Counties Respond to COVID-19

Laramie County Closes to Walk-In Traffic

On Tuesday, March 17th, the Laramie County Commissioners issued a statement detailing the County’s response to COVID-19, including most offices closing to walk-in traffic and only being available by appointment. The County is asking all citizens to conduct business online, via email or over the phone when possible.

Teton County Closes Businesses; County Remains Open

Teton County issued public health orders on March 17th closing a variety of establishments, including theaters, bars, coffee shops, restaurants and museums.

Teton County offices remain open but the County is encouraging all individuals to contact the offices via email or phone and conduct business remotely vs. in-person.

UPDATE: Effective March 23rd, the commissioners restricted all access to county offices, which are now conducting all business through the internet, mail or over the phone.

Fremont County Closes to the Public

UPDATE: Fremont County issued a statement expanding their services to the public during the virus shut down.

The Fremont County Commissioners issued a directive on March 17th for all county offices to close to the pubic with employees working. The County is encouraging the public to contact various offices via telephone or email for all business needs.

Albany County Closes to the Public

On March 18th, the County issued this statement, indicating the county offices would be closed to the public. Only the courts will remain open for public access.

Sweetwater County Closed to Public

The Sweetwater County offices have closed to the public and will be conducting business online, by mail, or over the phone.

Niobrara County Closes to Public; Issues Statement

Niobrara County issued a statement that beginning March 18, the courthouse would have limited public access, with services available via phone, fax, email or online. They are also offering curbside service by appointment.

Uinta County Closes to Public

Uinta County has closed several county offices to the public, including the Treasurer’s Office. They are offering online and other services.

Washakie County Closes to Public

Washakie County has closed its county offices to the public as of March 17th and will re-evaluate the closure in two weeks.

Sublette County to Close; Issues Statement

Sublette County Administrator Matt Gaffney issued a statement on March 18th that their county offices would be closed to the general public, effective 5:00 pm on March 19th. The statement said,

Please be advised that pursuant to the guidance of the Sublette County Health Officer, all County facilities will be closing to the general public at 5:00 on March 19, 2020. There will be a statement from Commissioner Burnett later today to all County supervisors addressing the closure.  The intent is that County operations continue uninterrupted as best as possible after the closure, and that each department conducts as much business it can by phone, email, regular mail, fax, etc.  I know that each County department has different needs and missions, so please take whatever steps are necessary to continue the work of your department. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions. Thanks for your patience and dedication, and please know that the County is doing everything it can to protect the public and its employees during these uncertain times.

Converse County Closes to Public

Converse County issued a press release that the courthouse will be open but most county offices will be closed to the public effective March 19th. The offices will conduct business via email, phone, mail or the internet.

Natrona Closes Courthouse, Other Offices

Update: On March 20th, the County issued a statement that some offices, including the Courthouse, were closing to the public.

Natrona County issued a statement on March 18 that their County offices are “currently open and serving the public.” The statement did encourage citizens to take advantage of services offered through the mail or internet.

Carbon County Requests Essential Business Only

The Carbon County Commissioners issued a statement on March 17th asking the public, “to limit traffic into county offices to essential business only beginning immediately.” The statement asked those with symptoms or who have traveled into high-risk areas to handle business through the mail or internet.

UPDATE: Effective March 20th, the commissioners announced the public would only have limited access to the courthouse and that county offices would be closed to the public.

Sheridan County Closes

Effective March 19th, the County offices in Sheridan County will have limited access to the public, per a statement issued today.

Goshen Closes to Walk-Ins

Goshen County issued a statement that as of March 20, the county offices were closing to walk-in visitors and would be available by appointment only.

Hot Springs County closes to the Public

Effective March 23rd, the Hot Springs County courthouse has closed to the public. All transactions are being completed by appointment only.

Johnson County Announces Closing

Johnson County issued a statement on March 26th that the county facilities would be closed to public traffic. The public is encouraged to contact each office individually to make an appointment to conduct business.

Some Platte County Offices Close Doors

As of March 26th, Platte County’s web site indicated that county offices were still operating during business hours though some may have their doors closed. The public is encouraged to conduct business through the mail or online.

Weston County Courthouse Closes

On March 25th, Weston County closed the courthouse to the public. Drop boxes were made available for drop-offs and the public was encouraged to contact offices for instructions on how to conduct business.

Crook County Courthouse Closed

On March 18th, the Commissioners issued a letter indicating that public access to the courthouse would be limited through April 6th. The letter indicated that offices would be offering curbside service.

Platte County Open, Encouraging Alternative Services

The Platte County Treasurer’s Office is open to the public.  We are encouraging the public to utilize the drop box located in the alley between the Courthouse and the Jail, the mail service, or our online services.  However, we are allowing one person at a time to come in the office.  We just ask that people maintain the social distancing that is encouraged.

Governor Vetoes Fee Increase

Governor Mark Gordon exercised his line-item veto power over the budget bill and vetoed the footnote in WYDOT’s budget requiring them to collect an additional $5 on every registration. The Governor’s statement said:

“I thank the Legislature for recognizing the importance of updating the revenue information system at the Department of Transportation (WYDOT). It is outdated and vulnerable. Without replacement it creates risk for all of the data on the system, and worse, failure could impact the delivery of services to the public. I am not sure anyone realizes how much we all rely on this system. Nonetheless, using the budget bill to raise revenues is problematic. This provision legislates from within the budget, and even for a project I wholeheartedly support I am impelled to exercise my veto authority. My line-item veto is intended to eliminate the problematic fee while authorizing WYDOT to move ahead using its own funds on this project until the new system is fully funded.”

The legislature still has the final day of the session, March 13th, to challenge or override the veto.

Legislature Increases Registration Fees

The legislature passed HB001/SF001, the budget bill for the next state biennium. In the Transportation budget, on page 21 of the budget bill, a provision was added to have WYDOT “assess and collect or cause to be collected” an additional $5 on each registration.

The fee would be collected for a two year period, beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2022, and would go towards the State’s planned upgrade of the Revenue Information System (RIS).

WCTA President Eisele has contacted WYDOT requesting they get an opinion from the Attorney General to determine whether the budget provision actually provides authorization for County Treasurers to collect fees beyond what the current statutes dictate.

The legislators considered a bill to put the $5 increase into statute, but that bill failed.

The budget bill can be read here.

WCTA Tracking 2020 Legislation

As the Budget Session gets into full swing, the WCTA will be tracking bills of interest and legislation the association has taken a position on.

Click here to view the WCTA legislation spreadsheet.

CREG Issues Report

The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group has issued its January 2020 report and forecast, projecting revenues for Fiscal Years 2020 through 2024.

The report predicts decreases in both Severance Taxes and Federal Mineral Royalties of roughly $12 million for the next biennium.

The report can be read here.