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Sommersí report

Posted: Thursday, Feb 28th, 2013

Hello, Sublette County. On Tuesday, the final day for third reading in the House this session, we passed eight bills. Senate File (SF) 47, a school finance amendment bill, had a significant amendment placed upon it on third reading. This amendment updated the Hedonic Wage Index to current conditions, but it left in place the system by which a district can choose the highest calculator to determine teacher salaries. Sublette County school districts use the Wyoming Cost of Living Index (WCLI), and that option would remain under the amended House version. The argument for the amendment was that many large districts were not seeing an update in their cost of living index, which could be problematic if taken to court. I supported the amendment, as that argument made sense. The Senate will now have to decide whether to concur.

SF 118, the eminent domain bill, passed the House with only minor amendments. I supported the bill throughout the process and spoke in favor of it on the floor in an earlier reading. The section of SF 118 that dealt with attorney fee reimbursement if the condemnerís final offer was less than fair market value generated the greatest discussion, and I can see where this section could lead to unnecessary litigation and perhaps some abuse. I voted for a third reading amendment I felt ameliorated that concern, but the amendment failed. SF 136, which placed higher bond requirements on seismic companies, passed with little debate. Both of these bills were solid private property rights bills, which I supported, and I do not believe they will hamper either the private or public sector during good faith condemnation proceedings.

SF 66, a bill that placed restrictions on state-funded conservation easements, passed the House. SF 66 put into statute practices that were already occurring but are important. This bill would give Wyoming enforcement authority on conservation easements it funds, as well as the ability to recover money if an easement is extinguished, for example if a property were condemned through eminent domain. Language in this bill would not allow state money to be spent if a conservation easement mandates certain livestock or crop management practices, prohibits the use of the land for ranching or farming or prohibits hunting, fishing, or trapping. I supported this bill.

SF 160 dealt with pesticide application and created provisions related to direct supervision of applicators by those carrying the pesticide applicator license. The certified applicator must be within a reasonable time and distance of the individuals actually involved in applying the chemicals. I supported this legislation after conferring with Sublette County Weed and Pest.

Albert Sommers, HD 22


For the complete article see the 03-01-2013 issue.

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