The Wyoming Legislature’s 2018 Budget Session is set to convene in just a couple of weeks in Cheyenne, and the decisions made during this session will affect funding from everything from education to infrastructure to wildlife and environmental research.
This year will be a challenging session as our Legislature wrestles with an uncertain budget and looming program cuts and reductions. The emphasis will most likely be workforce and economic development and education.
That’s where you come in. As legislators prepare for battle on behalf of their constituents, it’s just as important for those who elected these officials to play an active part in the process. The legislators we elect serve on our behalf, but they can’t do it alone. To cast informed votes and make difficult choices, our legislators need the benefit of our experience and they need to know our wishes. The most effective way to do that is to reach out, even if you believe one voice won’t make a difference.
As residents of the least-populated state in the union, we have the unique opportunity of getting to know our legislators personally, often on a first-name basis. These relationships are the cornerstone of Wyoming’s legislative process, and we would be remiss not to take advantage of such an opportunity.
That said, things will not always go as planned in Cheyenne; decisions will be made and bills will be passed that will leave many voters scratching their heads. It’s exactly those situations where we must question if we did enough to make our opinions heard. The old axiom that rears its ugly head after each election, “If you didn’t vote, you have no right to complain,” extends farther than the voting booths. Electing an official should be just the first step of the process.
The budget session starts Feb. 12, and there’s still time to get involved. Some of this year’s proposed legislation, over 130 bills so far, are now online for your perusal at http://legisweb.state.wy.us. Once the budget session starts, it will become increasingly difficult for voters to find an audience with their legislators, so time is of the essence. To make things easier, streamline your argument. Offer solutions, rather than criticism. Tell them what you think. If they’re doing a great job, let your lawmaker know. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way. But don’t be afraid to hold them accountable.
Finally, maintain open lines of communication after the end of the session. Next year’s session will be here before you know it.
You can find the contact information for our legislators on this page or by accessing the Wyoming legislative website. You can follow bills on the site, too.
Whether it be via telephone, email or letter, know your input matters and is needed.
Sen. Hank Coe — Hank.Coe@wyoleg.gov
Rep. Scott Court — Scott.Court@wyoleg.gov
Rep. Jamie Flitner — Jamie.Flitner@wyoleg.gov
Rep. Dan Laursen — Dan.Laursen@wyoleg.gov
Rep. David Northrup — David.Northrup@wyoleg.gov
Sen. Ray Peterson — Ray.Peterson@wyoleg.gov
Written correspondence can be mailed to legislators in care of the Wyoming House or Senate, State Capitol, Cheyenne, WY, 82002
Call the Senate receptionist at: 307-777-7711
Call the House receptionist at: 307-777-7852