Wyoming Legislature update – January 29, 2017
by Albert Sommers, House District #20 Representative
January 29, 2017
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you from Cheyenne on Sunday the 29th. I thought I would report on the bills that I sponsored this session. Being on the Appropriations Committee has eaten up a lot of my time, and so I have refrained from sponsoring many bills. I brought HB120 out early in the process, and it would have allowed county commissions the ability to petition the Wyoming Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit on stretches of highways within their jurisdictions. Further, it would have required WYDOT to respond to the petition in a period of time. Last year, I had to call a public meeting and pressure WYDOT to look at a lower speed limit south of Pinedale. To WYDOT’s credit they are trying a pilot night time speed limit project on that stretch. I felt there was a better process for review, than a legislator exerting pressure on a state agency. By one vote, I lost the bill in House on Friday, because folks had concerns that counties would create speed traps. This bill left the decision with WYDOT, so I believe those concerns were unfounded, but the bill died.
I am also sponsoring HB227, which would require a notice for auto-renewing consumer contracts with a term of over 12 months. It is hard for folks to remember when these long term auto-renewing contracts are up, if they want to cancel their contract. I am sure this will bring up lots of debate, but I think it is only fair that the consumer be given a notice before a long term contract is automatically renewed. This bill will be heard in the Corporations Committee on Tuesday.
There are individuals selling GPS locations of big buck deer over the internet, and this is occurring for bucks residing in the western mountains of Wyoming. My bill, HB229, would define hunt consultation services as a guide service, and place them under the regulations of guides and outfitters. If you are selling locations of big bucks, then in my opinion, you are conducting a guide service, and should be regulated like every other guide. In fact, one website states that clients took two bucks that scored over 193 inches, in 2016. I simply don’t like this practice, and would be interested in what my Sublette County hunters think? This would not apply to someone who GPS locates animals for his or his friends hunts.
My most controversial bill is HB272, and it would require a decal or electronic decal for mountain bike riders on public lands. The money from the decal would be split between mountain bike trail maintenance and endangered species management. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department would be the recipient of money to help their endangered species programs, and State Parks would get the money for mountain bike trail maintenance or improvements. It is hard to find a way for non-consumptive uses of Wyoming’s natural resources to pay for wildlife management, and this would be one way to capture some money for endangered species management, while improving trails for a burgeoning mountain bike industry. The decals would be made available to the general public, if they wanted to support endangered species programs. It is not my intent to pass this bill this session, but just to get the idea out there in the public, to be examined next interim by the Travel, Recreation, and Wildlife Committee.
I can be reached at email@example.com.
Click on this link to listen to an audio version of this update: Albert Sommers January 29, 2017 Legislature update (3.88MB mp3 audio file, 1:20 mins)