Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Citizens -- gird your loins for upcoming Wyoming Legislature

Know your state legislature.

A good phrase to keep in mind as we face a new batch of legislators and a Republican-dominated government in 2011.

Moderation has been the touchstone of the Wyoming Legislature during my 20 years in the state. Legislators occasionally pass a wacko law, but have spurned attempts during the past several sessions to outlaw gay marriage.

But the new Legislature will be under the sway of Tea Party politics this year. The Equality State Policy Center in Laramie says in its latest newsletter that the 2011 session is likely to bring...
another attack on setting aside Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (provided for under the Environmental Quality Act)

another attempt to change the Wyoming Constitution to outlaw gay marriage and civil unions

a proposal for a Draconian immigration law like Arizona's

at attempt to repeal basic safety requirements for childcare facilities
And I'm sure other weird proposals will rear their ugly heads. Remember last year?

In an effort to increase citizen involvement in the process, the ESPC is sponsoring its annual Citizen Lobbyist Training on Wednesday, January 12, the second day of the general session, starting at 8 a.m. at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne.

Here are some details:
Participants in the trainings learn how a bill becomes law. Experienced lobbyists who work for ESPC member organizations outline the attributes of an effective lobbyist and teach attendees how to testify before a legislative committee. Other presentations outline how citizens can get the attention of legislators and affect their policy deliberations from home. Sitting and former legislators offer their perspectives on lobbying and discuss approaches that worked – and didn’t work – with them.

The training attracts citizens from all walks of life, including students, representatives of nonprofit groups and people who simply want to learn more about lawmaking in Wyoming.

The Equality State Policy Center offers scholarship funds to help bring individuals and organizational representatives to our Citizen Lobbyist Training.

Scholarship applications will be considered from individuals and all nonprofit organizations, with priority given to groups working with women, people of color, youth, low-income, rural, disabled, Native Americans, immigrants and refugees, and gay, lesbian and transgendered people.

Registration is open until the training is filled.
FMI: E-mail it to Dan Neal at

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