Wyoming Legislature Votes Not To Adjourn Special Session
Both houses of the Wyoming Legislature voted not to adjourn on Tuesday, despite the defeat of proposed special rules that would have expedited the normal legislative process to allow the Legislature's special session to finish its work in three days.
The defeat of the proposed special rules may mean that the session will run beyond the three days legislative leaders had originally planned for the session. Under Wyoming law, a special session can run for up to 20 days. While no one expects the current session to run that long, there was some talk among lawmakers Tuesday of a possible 5-6 day session. The defeat of the special rules means the legislative rules that were in effect for the last regular session of the legislature will be in effect.
The special session was called to push back against President Biden's COVID vaccine mandate, which still has not been formally released or implemented. Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has also pledged a court fight against the mandate. The governor has said that while he thinks people should get vaccinated against COVID, he opposes mandates forcing them to do so.
Legislative Democrats say the session is a waste of time since federal law takes precedence over state law under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. They say the $25,000 a day it costs for the session is wasteful spending that won't really achieve anything. But Republicans argue that the clause does not apply in this case, because, they say, presidential mandates are not laws.
That issue likely will end up being decided in court.
Republicans also say that if the mandate is implemented, it will cause an already bad worker shortage to become even worse, since some employees may choose unemployment over being vaccinated.
Some of the bills which have been filed for the session also push back against face mask and vaccine mandates in Wyoming schools and a bill to expand the Medicaid program in Wyoming has also been filed.
Since Governor Gordon has the ability to veto any legislation passed by the legislature, it's entirely possible that the legislature could meet again before long to deal with any vetoes he may issue.