By the time you read this, the 2020 Wyoming Legislative Budget Session will have already begun.
In the Big Horn Basin, legislators were preparing to leave the week before, wrapping up final talks with area stakeholders before making the long drive to Cheyenne.
Thursday night four area legislators, at the close of an hour-and-a-half session of hearing from Park County school district leaders, urged those present to give more feedback once the session began.
That’s not just an offer to school leaders, our legislators are open to any and all feedback from constituents as a way to get a better idea as to the real effects of legislation they are considering.
Sen. Ray Kost (R-Powell) said he killed a bill he had proposed prior to the session after hearing from stakeholders about potential negative effects he hadn’t even considered.
Rep. David Northrup (R-Powell), whose district covers much of Cody, sought feedback at the forum in the Cody Library on a bill being discussed that would limit a school district from being able to “poach” students from another district by offering bus service into that district that would overlap with the home district’s routes.
Local superintendents said Park County didn’t have the same problem – students can freely switch between districts in most circumstances but generally can’t access a bus to go to a district other than their home district – but hoped Northrup would go over any bill with them to ensure the bill didn’t have any unintended consequences.
Sen. Hank Coe (R-Cody) sought to make sure Cody interim superintendent Peg Monteith was comfortable with the changes to the special education policy, as she has been working in the field most of her life.
While Thursday night our legislators were speaking with many of the local experts on education, it’s likely everyone has some area of expertise that legislators would value if they’re making decisions on a bill that could affect local constituents. So don’t be afraid to reach out.