Get Involved in the 2010 Wyoming Legislative Session From Anywhere in the World
“Information moving at the speed of light.” It’s a phrase commonly used in the digital age that we live in today including a place you may not expect, the Wyoming Legislature. Before the days of the Internet, the public didn’t have the opportunities to participate in the legislative process from anywhere in the state. Unless you were physically at the Capitol in Cheyenne, up-to-date information was hard to come by and in most cases delayed by several hours or even several days. Now, Wyoming residents can access legislative information from anywhere in the world by going to the Legislature’s Web site at http://legisweb.state.wy.us. There, you will find a variety of resources and information to help you participate in the 2010 Budget Session, which convenes February 8.
How do I find what bills are being considered and changes to the bill?
One of the first steps in getting involved is learning more about what bills are being considered during this year’s session. Once the legislation is assigned a bill number, the text of each bill is posted on the Legislature’s Web site. This information can be found by going to the homepage and clicking on the “2010 Bill Information” link, then the “2010 Bills” link. From this page, you can sort all of the bills by the bill number, catch title or sponsor headings. There are also drop down menus on the top of the page that allow you to sort through House Bills, Senate Files or both. The grid on this page will display where each bill is in the legislative process and give the text in its latest version. If a bill has passed one house with amendments a link will be displayed in the “Engrossed Bill” column with all of the changes to the text from the first chamber. If a bill has been passed in both the House and Senate, a second link will appear in the “Enrolled Acts” column with all of the changes that occurred to the bill throughout the process. Amendments that are being considered are linked in the “Has Amendments” grid for each bill.
How do I contact my legislator on a particular bill?
The public has access to a variety of resources, including the Web site, to express opinions to Wyoming senators and representatives about public policy. Contact information, including e-mail address, telephone numbers and mailing address for each legislator can be found by clicking on the “House Members” or “Senate Members” link located on the homepage. Most of the legislators use laptops throughout the session, so e-mail is one of the most effective ways to communicate with legislators. Biographical information for each legislator and what district they represent is also available in this section.
How will I know when a bill is up for consideration?
To actively participate in the process, you need to know when standing committees of the Senate and House of Representatives are meeting and when floor action on a bill is scheduled. Calendars for floor proceedings in the Senate and House of Representatives are posted on the Legislature’s Web site in the late afternoon for the next day’s floor proceedings in each chamber. The calendars include the legislation under consideration and the general order of business. These calendars can be found by clicking on the “Session Schedules/Calendars/Meetings” link on the homepage. There you will find a variety of links including the Tentative Schedule of Key Events, Standing Committee Schedule, and the Daily Calendar of the House and Senate.
Can I listen to the floor proceedings even if I’m not at the State Capitol?
Yes, both the House and Senate floor proceedings are streamed live on the Legislature’s Web site. You can listen to the House and Senate debate whenever each body is in session by clicking on the “Audio Broadcasts of the 2010 Session” link on the homepage. There you will find a link for both Windows and MAC users for the House and Senate proceedings. You may also listen to archived broadcasts from any of the previous days’ action.
How do I track the status of bills in the legislative process?
This information can be found by going to the homepage and clicking on the “2010 Bill Information” link, then the “2010 Bills” link. On the bill grid, there is a column called “Journal Digest” for each bill that provides all of the previous actions on each bill. The journal digest includes the date actions were taken on the bill, all roll call votes related to the bill, and the text of all amendments offered regarding the bill. You will also find a link on the “2010 Bill Information” page titled “Bill Status,” that provides an aggregated listing of all bills and the latest action on each bill.
available about how legislators voted?
How quickly is that information available?
Current technology allows the Wyoming Legislature to post roll call votes almost in real time. You can find out how legislators vote on every roll-call vote taken during this year’s session. This information is available within several minutes after each roll-call vote. Users should click on the “2010 Bill Information” link on the homepage and then on the “Votes on Bills and Amendments” link. On the left-hand column of the page select Floor Votes or Committee Votes from the drop-down menu. Then, select whether you would like the votes on House Bills or Senate Files. A list of all bills will then display in the left-hand column. Once you have selected the bill you want to review, the actions that were taken, as well as the day the actions were taken will display in the main section of the page. Click on the “view” link to see how each individual legislator voted. This electronic voting system has been recognized by the National Conference of State Legislatures as one of the most robust systems in the country providing almost real-time public access to voting information for the residents of Wyoming.
The Wyoming Legislature represents the people of Wyoming and through the Legislature’s Web site, you have the opportunity to participate in your government in any location in the state that has Internet access. We invite you to get involved!