CHEYENNE — In perhaps Gov. Mark Gordon’s final action regarding bills that passed the state Legislature during its recently completed budget session, he vetoed some legislation Friday and allowed others to become law without his signature.
One such bill that can proceed, although without the governor’s explicit approval, is the Legislature’s redistricting plan.
State lawmakers voted to add three colleagues after the next election, and the bill therefore has gone by the moniker of the 62-31 plan.
In his message explaining why he was not OK’ing redistricting, yet allowing it to become law, Gordon noted that the Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee had “put in an immense amount of work this past year to develop proposed legislation for reapportioning legislative districts — a constitutional task required of this Legislature following the decennial census.”
Then, the final legislation “was amended in the waning hours of the legislative session to a version that apparently establishes some districts that appear to exceed presumptively acceptable deviation limits,” Gordon noted.
“Redistricting is an inherently legislative process and, therefore, I must assume this final product represents the ‘best effort’ of this Legislature. Thus, for this reason, as well as a desire to see our elections have their best chance to proceed in an orderly and proper way, I am allowing (it) to become law.”
Some of the bills that Gordon has now outright opposed would have affected Wyoming’s burgeoning cryptocurrency industry.
At least two such pieces of legislation had originated in the Select Committee on Blockchain, Financial Technology and Digital Innovation Technology, which has been active on tech and virtual currency issues.
Gordon’s office announced Friday night that he had vetoed the following bills: Senate File 106, known as the Wyoming Stable Token Act; Senate File 55, for insurance sandboxes to try or demonstrate new and innovative tech; and House Bill 137, State Land Exchanges-Public Notice.
In his veto message on SF 106, the governor noted that “Wyoming has been on the cutting edge regarding the regulation of special purpose depository institutions for the exchange of digital assets including cryptocurrencies.”
But he worried that any duties associated with the would-be law could overwhelm the state’s treasurer’s office.
That office “is struggling to keep current with its other obligations to the state,” Gordon wrote. “Despite assurances that the processes described in this bill are simple and straightforward, I remain unconvinced that this camel can carry even one more straw.”
Gordon also raised process issues with this proposal.
“I am concerned that not all stakeholders were consulted prior to its passage,” his veto letter read. “Wyoming’s reputation is at stake, as are the reputations of the individuals tasked with implementing the Act, should the effort fail. Moreover, unfortunately this idea emerged before there was enough time to provide even the most basic fiscal note describing the potential impacts of this Act.”
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle was not able to immediately reach any of the sponsors of SF 106 for their reaction.
Gordon signed HB 63, County and District Attorneys-Salary Amendments, and HB 91, County Officers-salaries, but allowed HB 96, State Officials Salary, to become law without his signature.
The first bill raises the salaries of the state’s prosecutors, while the last raises the governor’s salary from $105,000 to $140,000 annually. The other four top elected state officials will see their compensation rise from $92,000 to $125,000.
All such pay hikes will become effective when the person elected to the position is sworn in after this year’s general election.