Wyoming State Capitol Building

Now that you’re a streaming pro and you’ve watched everything worth seeing on Netflix and Hulu, it’s time to stream your legislature.

The entertainment value of the Wyoming Legislature can be debated, but the importance of the 66th session cannot. Our elected representatives are deciding how to spend tax money and how to raise revenue needed for our state’s vital services, from maintaining roads to educating children. This week Common Ground columnist Paul Hansen details budget cuts looming for human services that provide a local safety net for Jackson Hole’s most vulnerable, including families in crisis.

Lawmakers also have the power to create laws that are a matter of life and death, literally. They’re considering bills on abortion and the death penalty.

Teton County’s delegation is pursuing a variety of bills, from automatically ticketing truckers violating Teton Pass rules to imposing a flat 4% personal income tax to expanding Medicaid.

Lawmakers are also mulling legislation to give themselves more power over state and county health officers when it comes to managing public health emergencies.

In Wyoming, often claimed as a conservative libertarian state wishing for smaller government, this year legislators introduced hundreds of new bills that can significantly change the future of the Cowboy State.

The Legislature deserves credit for expanding options for Wyoming residents to participate by streaming its meetings on Youtube and offering a way to testify virtually. Residents can also still drive and fly to Cheyenne to participate in person.

Although a global pandemic sparked the change that now allows for virtual testimony, this change should be made permanent so Wyomingites from Newcastle to Alta can tune in to watch and participate as our elected officials do the people’s business hundreds of miles away.

By the News&Guide’s editorial board: Johanna Love, Rebecca Huntington, Kevin Olson and Adam Meyer.

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