The Wyoming House of Representatives has given final approval to a constitutional amendment to get rid of the requirement that a two-thirds majority is needed to introduce non-budget bills during a budget session of the Wyoming Legislature.
The vote in favor of House Joint Resolution 4 Monday morning was 43-17 in favor of the measure, which is sponsored by House Speaker Steve Harshman. The proposal now moves on to the Wyoming Senate, where it would again need a two-thirds majority vote to move forward.
If the measure meets that threshold, it would then go before Wyoming voters in November. A majority of all those casting ballots in the election would have to vote in favor of the bill, not just a majority of those voting on the proposal. That is an important distinction because it means that those who choose not to vote on the proposed constitutional amendment count as “no” votes.
Harshman earlier this session expressed confidence that the measure would pass the House but said he wasn’t sure how it would fare in the Senate. Wyoming alternates 40-day general sessions with the legislature with 20-day budget sessions. Supporters of the current system argue that it is needed to ensure that the budget is the focus during the budget sessions.
But supporters of changing the system argue that there are other issues besides the budget that may need attention, and that action on those problems should not be restricted to every other year that the legislature meets.