A bill that would give the state jurisdiction over a malt liquor license for Cheyenne Frontier Days and similar licenses for other rodeo events has passed the Wyoming Senate on a 21-9 vote.
The bill now moves onto the Wyoming House. Senate File 134 as originally written would have applied only to Cheyenne Frontier Days, but concerns over whether the state could constitutionally apply such a law to only one event led legislators to amend it to give the state the same authority over other rodeo events in the state.
On Wednesday’s third and decisive vote, every Laramie County senator except Republican Stephan Pappas voted for the bill. The bill was originally proposed in response to reports that the city of Cheyenne was tying approval of a malt liquor license for CFD to Frontier Days agreeing to pay for police security at the event.
In the discussion of a proposed amendment to the bill on Wednesday, Sen. Ogden Driskill [R-Devils Tower] said ”Are liquor permits there to raise revenues for cities and to have them make people pay for things? Or are they there to see that people serve liquor responsibly and allow it to happen? The cities have umpteen different ways to raise revenues for events that happen.”
Driskill made the comments in response to a proposed amendment by Sen. Chris Rothfuss [D-Laramie] that would have eliminated the provision in the bill that would have specified that the cost of the licenses is set at $100. That amendment — called the ”blank check amendment” — was defeated.
Driskill at another point commented on the release by city officials of a Cheyenne Police Department memo on CFD security. ”The city managed to leak part of their plans online for this. Some internal stuff that they didn’t want anybody to see, which is interesting. The threat assessment for Frontier Days is online, folks. Kind of interesting.”
The memo Driskill apparently referred to was cited by Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr in a Facebook post that linked to the document and was also released to local media by the Cheyenne Police Department.