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Wyoming’s Freedom Caucus Comes Up Short

WY State Capitol

The Wyoming Freedom Caucus lost a vote Sunday evening that would have pushed Wyoming legislators to return to Cheyenne for a special session.   Legislators wanted to address Governor Mark Gordon’s vetoes of several bills and line items in the budget.

While the Senate voted 16-15 in favor of reconvening, the House came up short with only 27 votes in favor of the action.

The group of Republicans took issue with Gordon’s repeal of most gun-free zones and a property tax relief bill.  They also rejected his veto of a bill that would have required abortion facilities to be licensed as outpatient centers.

Speaker of the House Albert Sommers (R-Pinedale) and Senate President Ogden Driskill (R-Devils Tower) opposed holding a special session.  The pair, along with Speaker Pro Tem Clark Smith (R-Rock Springs), released a statement over the weekend that decried the cost to taxpayers for a 20-day special session.  They put a price tag of $700,000 on it.

“While we were disappointed by the Governor’s veto of SF54, which aimed to cut property taxes for all homeowners by 25%, we were open to a special session solely focused on revising this bill.  However, the obstructionists in the freedom caucus would not agree to that, calling for a minimum of 4-6 different bills, including the budget bill.  They wanted to play more political games at the expense of the Wyoming taxpayers,” according to their statement.

“I am proud of the Wyoming Senate for voting in favor of a special session,” Senator Cheri Steinmetz (R-Lingle) wrote on her Facebook page.  “It is unfortunate for the citizens of Wyoming that there will be no special session due to the House Vote.  From the beginning, the presiding officers have tried to sabotage this effort.”

Representative Mike Yin (D-Jackson) called the weeklong dispute a waste of time.

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