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A report on the 2013 State Legislature – what a whirlwind

Posted: Thursday, Mar 14th, 2013




By GARRY PIIPARINEN

State Representative

House District 49

The 2013 legislative session is now complete. It has been a wonderful, whirlwind of eight weeks at the Wyoming State Capitol. I sit here quietly at my desk on the House floor with only a few other legislators present, the others long gone after the Governor’s parting words and the final banging of the gavel. This place cleared out faster than a school does on its last day!

During these last two months, I’ve sought input from various people in Evanston in all sectors of government, business, and, of course, the “man on the street”—the average “Joe” whose perspective and viewpoint was always at the forefront of my mind. I received much feedback as a result of my contacts, along with others who kept up on various issues and initiated their own correspondence. I’d like to thank all the people who helped me better understand the influences of the proposed legislation we had before us, and hope I represented Evanston well. For an itemization of all the bills, please go to wyoleg.gov and follow the links. It is a pretty user-friendly site and all legislators’ votes can be found in the “Digest” of the bills. Check them out!

It was especially rewarding for me to Facetime with my fourth grade students at Aspen Elementary showing them some of the capitol sites along with meeting other legislators and even the Governor. I made lifelong friends here in the capital city, and look forward toward cultivating those relationships in the future. I especially want to give thanks to Representative Allen Jaggi for his mentorship and guidance. He is a true patriot and conservative. Representative Kathy Davison was another great support.

Many of the bills we saw were non-earth shaking and fixed problems that really needed attention—“clean-up bills” as they were often called. There were also some bills of greater notoriety that I will briefly reflect upon. Senate File 104 (SF104) was a biggie that drew a lot of attention all over our state. It was a bill entitled “Education-State Administration”—a bill altering and limiting the duties of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill. I voted against it because I felt the bill was constitutionally unsound and the manner with which the sponsors went about doing it reprehensible. I serve on the House Education Committee and we should have, by all rights, heard that bill in our committee, but an “unseen hand” directed it to another committee to receive what I felt was a much sought after, predetermined outcome.

A similar thing happened with the “lottery bill.” It passed, but not with my support. I also voted against the 10 cent fuel tax hike (Wyomingites will begin seeing that tax starting in July).

We also had a few Second Amendment bills, HB103, HB104, and HB105 that were introduced this session. I supported them and even cosponsored HB104, but they all died predetermined deaths, one in a Senate committee with nary an advocate (HB105) and the other two on the Senate’s general file waiting to be heard. They were calculatedly placed just far enough down the list at the end of the session so as not to be heard. The drama was exciting to watch and experience, yet disappointing in its manipulation and outcome.

On the Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee (TRW), which I serve, we said “No” to increased hunting and fishing license fees along with snowmobile registration license fees. Our mindset and thinking was that our country is currently in a recession and people are taking financial hits left and right. Government needs to understand that. People learn to live within budgets and so should state agencies.

One thing I would like to do during this interim time (until next February’s session) is to develop broader constituent contact email groups to connect with during the next legislative session. Please contact me about the issues you may be interested in and I will construct the email groups. Contact me at Garry.Piiparinen@wyoleg.gov. This past session, I communicated with over a hundred different people in Evanston and it was really valuable to have that broad input. Your voices are heard! Thanks, also, to those who used the “Hotline” to communicate their voice—keep it up! It is a very handy tool for both legislator and constituent.

Thank you to the people of Evanston especially for entrusting me with your voice to represent you in the Wyoming legislature. I reverence that trust and pledge to further the cause of representative government in Cheyenne.



For the complete article see the 03-08-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 03-08-2013 paper.











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