Big Year Ahead for Counties
By: Pete Obermueller, WCCA Executive Director
A lot of Commissioners remark to me following the end of the legislative session that it must be nice to not be so busy. I wish that were the case. The projects stack up during the session and upcoming projects in preparation of next year’s budget session begin almost immediately. To that end I want to update you all on upcoming legislative issues and ask for your engagement on several topics.
Interim Committee meetings begin already in the second half of April and continue through May and June before letting up slightly until fall. Recall that the WCCA Board of Directors had set a goal that at least 2 Commissioners attend every interim meeting. We have already been sending notes alerting Commissioners to upcoming meetings in your county, but this year we are revising that note to alert you to items on the agenda that warrant particular attention, and we will let you know if I plan to attend the meeting.
The interim session kicks off on April 20 in Thermopolis with the Joint Judiciary Committee. At this committee will be a preliminary discussion with the Committee and the Judiciary concerning updating the statute regarding the financial obligation of counties when it comes to installing and upgrading courtroom technology. Two weeks ago the WCCA’s executive committee and the Elections and Land Use committee met with the Judiciary and agreed upon a basic framework for discussion that draws a line of responsibility for technology at the wall outlet. Everything to the outlet is county, everything after Judiciary. There are many details to discuss, but the conversation has begun.
On April 24th the Joint Travel and Recreation Committee will meet in Greybull. At this committee there will be a discussion about regulation of bingo and pull tabs. As you know, the WCCA continues to work on gaming revenue of all types as a growing and permanent source of county revenue. Finally, the Joint Health and Labor Committee will meet in Casper on April 27th and will continue discussions on Title 25. They also plan to discuss various workers compensation issues for employers. I plan to attend all three of these committees, and more to come in May.
Speaking of May, our spring meeting is May 3 through 5 in Gillette. Registration is available at this link. On May 4th we have two hours set aside for our committee meetings where many of the interim topics will be discussed. We need your input into all of these topics and so ask you to review these topics and make plans to join a committee of interest if you are not already on one.
Agriculture and Public Lands: Developing Natural Resource Policy Plans; Using Health Forest Restoration Act Tools; State Forest projects like Good Neighbor Authority and Bark Beetle mitigation.
Energy and Environment: Federal regulatory updates; Wyoming Air Quality updates.
Elections, Land Use, and Government Operations: Extra-territorial jurisdiction legislation; Consolidating County workers compensation accounts.
Health, Safety and Social Services: WyoLink update from the new PSCC; Legislative options to cover WyoLink user fees.
Revenue: Strategy discussion on local government revenue in advance of Joint Revenue Committee meeting the following week.
Transportation: Use of County Road Construction Fund dollars and the role of the County Road Standards Committee; CMAQ Advisory Board and criteria for awards.
Finally, if you made it this far you noticed the advertisement embedded to the right. My goal is to increase revenue from advertisements on the blog and the Thursday Download. If you know of businesses that do work for your county in any area (Roads, IT, construction, other services) that would like exposure to other counties, please pass them on to me and I’ll reach out.
As always, never hesitate to contact me with questions.