A bill that would take control of local malt liquor licenses for rodeo events like Cheyenne Frontier Days from local authorities and give it to the state has cleared a committee of the Wyoming House and is slated for a general file reading on Wednesday.
Senate File 134 originally only dealt with the malt liquor license for Cheyenne Frontier Days. The bill was sparked by the City of Cheyenne threatening to withhold the license unless Frontier Days ponied up some money for the extra police presence at the annual event.
City officials have referred to the license as a “bargaining chip.” But Sen. Ogden Driskill [R-Devils Tower] said a couple of weeks ago that the policy ”reeks of extortion,” and other critics of the policy have used similar language.
The Senate, concerned over the constitutionality of directing policy at only one event, broadened the bill to include all rodeo malt liquor licenses. But that amendment got some pushback in the House Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions Committee on Tuesday with concerns that the bill is now too broad.
So it was amended again, this time to include only rodeos held at a facility with a seating capacity of over 7,500.
If that amendment survives three readings in the House and the bill wins final approval, the two houses of the legislature will have to reach some kind of agreement on which rodeos are covered by the event.