Governor Mead signed an asset forfeiture bill today, and thus will usher in a change in the law that will offer an easier road for those who feel their property has been seized by authorities unfairly. Here is the Governor's release.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed legislation into law today that aims to safeguard citizens against unnecessary asset seizures while ensuring law enforcement officers have the tools and resources they need to pursue criminal cases and keep Wyoming citizens safe.

“The Joint Judiciary Interim Committee worked hard to craft a measure that strikes a balance between meeting law enforcement needs while also protecting personal property rights,” said Senator Leland Christensen, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Under this law, the onus is on the government to show clear and convincing evidence that a seizure is warranted.”

Senate File 46, Asset Forfeiture, a bill sponsored by the Joint Judiciary Interim Committee, was signed into law today by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. The bill was unanimously approved in the House and Senate. SF 46 amends procedures and requirements for forfeiting and seizing property under the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act.

Under the state’s current asset forfeiture law, property can be seized as long as there is probable cause that the asset was used in connection with a crime. Under Senate File 46, additional steps must be taken by the court system before a judge can order assets to be seized. Law enforcement officials will now be required to contact the Attorney General before seizing any assets or property. A hearing would then be scheduled within 30 days to decide whether there is sufficient probable cause to proceed.

Senate File 46 is the result of two years of work by the Judiciary Committees, the state legislature and key stakeholders to reform Wyoming’s asset seizure and forfeiture laws.

Governor Mead also signed Senate File 8, Bicycle and Pedestrian System Task Force into law. The measure creates a task force to study the benefits and opportunities of bicycle and pedestrian pathways and natural surface trails across Wyoming.