Wyoming Proposal To Erase Budget Session Vote Requirements Filed
Rep. Steve Harshman [R-Natrona County] has put forward a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate the requirement that any non-budget bill needs a 2/3 majority vote for introduction in a budget session.
The resolution has been filed for the budget session of the Wyoming Legislature which gets underway in Cheyenne on Feb. 14.
You can read House Joint Resolution 4 here.
Under the Wyoming Constitution, state lawmakers meet in a 40-day general session in odd-numbered years and a 20-day budget session in even-numbered years.
While non-budget items can be introduced during a budget session, it takes a 2/3 majority vote to allow their introduction. It's worth noting that in recent years there has been a trend towards increasing numbers of non-budget items being introduced during budget sessions.
Some lawmakers feel that the budget session restrictions on non-budget bills are outdated and make it unnecessarily difficult to tackle pressing issues in a timely manner. Quite often the debate on the introduction of non-budget bills takes up several hours of lawmaker's time.
Harshman has introduced similar legislation in the last three sessions, with the proposal passing the house twice and dying in the Senate. Last year his proposal missed a deadline for consideration in the house and died without being voted upon. Getting constitutional amendments approved in Wyoming is a fairly difficult process.
Not only would Harshman's proposal need a 2/3 majority voted in both houses of the legislature-- a difficult feat in itself--it also needs a majority of voters casting ballots in any given election to vote in favor.
That doesn't mean just a majority of people voting on the ballot issue, but a majority of all voters. That means that people who don't vote on the proposed amendment essentially count as no votes.