The 2024 Wyoming Legislative Budget Session has come to a close! WYWF followed the action and is glad to be able to provide a recap.


But before I jump in, let’s take just a second to look at a few differences between a budget and general session:

Now that that’s taken care of, let’s talk session!

Things started off with a bang, and not in a good way. Tensions ran high as numerous committee bills (bills given focus during the interim by various committees) were quickly voted down, especially on the House side. “Do committee bills always pass on introduction,” you ask? No, but a lot of times they do because: 

  1. The majority of the committee feels the issue was important enough to create a bill on the topic. Out of respect for committee work, the full legislative body traditionally gives the bill a chance to be debated. 

  2. Not allowing the bills to be heard becomes a bit of a waste of the taxpayer dollars it takes to run interim meetings (held in different locations across the state) and is disrespectful of the time committee members dedicated to the topic.  

Day one of the Senate was no less tense as the Senate defied President Driskill by voting 17-14 to remove Senator Nethercott as Senate Chair of Appropriations and reinstate Senator Kinskey. While removing one leader for another is not completely unusual, it certainly is at the beginning of a legislative session.   

Meanwhile, bills and amendments continued to roll in. On the last day for introduction, there were 353 bills, many of which were unrelated to budget items. In comparison, during the 2022 budget session, there were 279 bills.  

Roll call votes were almost always requested, which also extended the length of time needed to get through bills.  

Other Excitement? 

The Joint Conference Committee (JCC), which is established by the Senate President and Speaker of the House to create a compromise budget to present to each body, was unsuccessful on attempt number one.  

The House side of the JCC shared items they had concerns with, but the Senate wasn’t prepared to do the same. When the Senate did offer a proposal a few days later, the House informed the Senate they didn’t think they could agree to the terms.

That same day a second JCC was appointed. This too was not without drama. The Senate nearly passed a vote that would have stopped President Driskill from appointing a new JCC.  

The second JCC (made up of nearly all new Senate members, and many of the same House members) holed up in separate chambers for the day and was able to present a compromise bill which was ultimately passed (by the skin of the teeth). 

What about the bills?  

Along the way, WYWF tracked bills important to you, to women, and to the future of Wyoming girls!  

While there were some budget amendments and bills we were disappointed in, we can happily report that the advocacy work YOU did to support bills, or to speak out about amendments, made a difference! Thank you!  

HB 126 Childcare is a Residential Use of Property passed!  

SF 19 (Also a budget amendment) Developmental Preschool Funding passed!  

HB001H2033  Funding of 988 Hotline Trust Fund – allocates $10M to the fund.  

HB0001H3057.01 would have required the Joint Education Interim Committee to study early childhood education and the establishment of a half-day, statewide prekindergarten program. This will be studied in the interim. 

HB0001H3050  was reduced to $15M from $18.5M. The budget item establishes a grant program, within the education resource block grant model, for school districts to address the mental health of K-12 students. 

 SF0001S3013  was removed from the budget bill. It would have defunded the Gender and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Wyoming.  

SF0001S3030 funds the Wyoming’s Tomorrow Scholarship Fund with an allocation of $20M. This scholarship supports nontraditional students, primarily in community colleges, where the majority population are women.

Any Veto Items? 

Governor Gordon did veto a number of bills and line items in the budget, including a line item footnote to veto the DEI legislation associated with the programming at the University of Wyoming, however the office of DEI will continue to be defunded.  

The governor also vetoed HB 148 – Regulation of Surgical Abortions. WYWF doesn’t weigh in on abortion legislation unless it affects the health of the mother or puts undue financial or economic burden on a woman, which this bill did. WYWF wrote a letter to the Governor sharing that the 48 hour wait time this bill required between receiving a vaginal ultrasound and getting an abortion was not medically necessary and, in some cases, could be detrimental to the health of the woman. WYWF also shared that the wait time requirement amended into the bill could lead to a woman missing work, needing to find childcare, and incurring the travel expenses associated with receiving an ultrasound if she must travel to adhere to these requirements. 

What Next?  

The Freedom Caucus called for a special session to respond to the governor’s vetoes. Speaker Sommers and President Driskill had initially said no, but held a straw poll which received the 35% vote needed to hold a full vote. While the two hoped to focus on HB 54 if a special session did occur, that could have been a risky move, and at a cost of $35,000/day!  Luckily, there weren’t enough votes for a special session to occur.

As for what’s next with WYWF? The interim topic we submitted on maternal health has been chosen by the Joint Labor and Health Committee! Early childhood education will also be explored by the Joint Education Committee, so we’ll be busy.   

Thanks so much to each of you who followed along this legislative session! You make this work possible.  

Interested in advocacy work and want more of the inside scoop? Sign up to be a Power Advocate to get all the interim, session and WYWF Advocacy event updates.

Contact me with any questions: