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Death penalty repeal narrowly fails introduction

CHEYENNE — A bill to repeal the death penalty in Wyoming failed a vote to be introduced in the House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon.

House Bill 166, which had gained the support of groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, fell just three votes short of the 40 it needed to be introduced in the full Legislature.

Since the 2020 session is devoted to the state’s budget, a two-thirds majority is needed to introduce nonbudgetary bills to full chambers.

On the House floor, Rep. Jared Olsen, R-Cheyenne, who has been outspoken in favor of repeal, asked his fellow lawmakers to at least advance the bill to a committee so that testimony could be heard.

“What I’m asking you to do is send it to a committee ... so that the voices of families, victims, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, clergy, the wrongfully convicted, the exonerees and, of course, the people of Wyoming can come inside our majestic halls and talk about this issue,” Olsen said.

Others, however, argued that repeal of the death penalty could lead to the loosening of other criminal laws in the future.

— Wyoming News Exchange

Legislators reject gun-free zones repeal

CHEYENNE — Lawmakers rejected a bill to ban gun-free zones, a sharp rebuke in what was anticipated to be a hotly contested year for gun legislation.

The final vote Wednesday on the attempted repeal of gun-free zones was 16-13, with one senator excused.

“This is a common-sense bill,” said Sen. Anthony Bouchard, the bill’s sponsor. “I want everyone to think about buying a car — and having any car you want — but only being able to keep it in your garage. That’s what we’re talking about here.”

Wyoming, one of the most pro-gun states in the country, has been reluctant to repeal gun-free zones, despite pressure from pro-Second Amendment groups.

A similar bill last year failed to reach the floor after pushback from municipalities that saw it supplanting local control. This year’s bill suffered a similar fate, failing to achieve committee assignment.

— Nick Reynolds, Casper Star-Tribune

Contact Cody Cottier at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.

Cody Cottier covers town and state government. He grew up with a view of the Olympic Mountains, and after graduating Washington State University he traded it for a view of the Tetons. Odds are the mountains are where you’ll find him when not on deadline.

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