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  • Writer's pictureCat Urbigkit

Doing the Homework

It’s important for a state legislator to understand and respect the separate roles of each branch of government (legislative, executive, and judicial). The Wyoming Constitution provides the foundation, but state statutes offer further refinement.

Title 28 of Wyoming Statutes provide the general job descriptions and specifics for the legislative branch. While I had a working understanding of how the legislature conducts its business, I learned much more by reviewing details in the statutes.

I was especially impressed with the process set out in state statute that protects Wyoming from the expansion of the administrative state (something we see far too much of at the federal level).

The section on “Administrative Regulation Review” (Chapter 9) provides a process for the legislative management council (legislative leadership) to review state agency regulations to determine if they properly implement legislative intent and are within the agency’s regulatory authority. Under this section of the law, the Legislative Service Office (LSO) also provides notice of the agency rules to the primary sponsor of the legislation or to any other legislator who asks to be notified. The LSO conducts a review of the regulations, includes feedback from the primary sponsor, and then reports back to the management council.

The management council can decide that the rule is appropriate or can refer the review report to an interim committee, or can submit recommendations for amendments or rescission to the governor and the agency that developed the rule. The governor has 15 days to order that the rule be amended or rescinded as suggested by the management council or write his objections to the council’s recommendation. If the management council doesn’t agree with the final action, it can introduce legislation in the next legislative session to obtain a legislative order prohibiting enforcement of the new rule.

That’s a great process for which I was largely unaware. There are other gems in Title 28 as well, including how audits of state agencies are conducted and defining the purposes of various select committees.

Not surprisingly, the committee that interests me the most is the Federal Natural Resource Management Committee, charged with reviewing existing or proposed federal policies or action which may impact the management, development or use of the state’s natural resources; consider issues related to public lands; and provide legislative responses to federal policies and actions necessary to protect the interests of the state of Wyoming.

I’m very comfortable in this arena and have decades of experience in assessing federal natural resource policies, rules and proposed actions to decipher how they may impact Wyoming and her residents.

Which legislators are appointed to serve on each legislative committee is determined by legislative leadership elected at the start of the general legislative session. The Speaker of the House appoints house members to the various committees, while the Senate President makes the senate appointments.

Regardless, I’m determined that if I am elected to the honor of representing the people of this district, I’ll go into the job with a comprehensive understanding of the job and how the legislature is to conduct its business.


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