The 2023 General Session of the 67th Wyoming Legislature is under way and, as always, there is a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. During this term, I will be serving on the Judiciary, Agriculture, and Rules committees. I am very excited about all of my assignments. As a lawyer and rancher, these committee duties closely align with my knowledge base and areas of interest. I may also end up as a member of one or more select committees. However, I will not know about those assignments until the end of this session in March.
As we begin session, there are many important issues to discuss. However, the issue on the mind of most legislators is property taxes. Personally, I have co-sponsored House Joint Resolution 2, which would allow for a constitutional amendment to create a subclass of property for residential properties and allow them to be assessed distinctly from other types of property. However, there are other bills proposed that would also provide tax relief to the people of Wyoming. I am sure we will have a good debate on all of the ideas and move forward with the best solution available.
Other important bills of interest to the people of HD 40 include the following:
HB 17 – this bill allows lessees of State lands to graze non-owned livestock without the permission of the State Lands Director so long as the livestock are managed by the lessees. This bill is important to our local ranchers as it allows them to follow customary practices within their industry without overbearing government intrusion into the operation of their businesses.
HB 65 – this bill creates a permanent suicide prevention hotline for Wyoming residents. The number to reach the hotline is 988. To me, this is one of the most important bills we will discuss this year. I believe the suicide numbers in Wyoming are staggering and we must address this problem head on. We all know of too many lives lost because of suicide. This bill is a good first step in addressing this challenge facing Wyoming communities.
SF 56 – this bill would prohibit travel across private lands for hunting purposes without the permission of the landowner. Essentially, this bill would protect the private property rights of our local landowners and allow our Wyoming Game and Fish Wardens to issue to trespass tickets to those illegally entering upon private property. Not surprisingly, this bill is supported by both the landowner groups and sportsmen groups.
As always, I want to hear from you and can be reached at Barry.Crago@wyoleg.gov.
Representative Barry Crago represents House District 40 in the Wyoming State Legislature.