The 2018 Wyoming state legislative budget session is drawing to a close. Rep. Tom Crank (House District 18) checked in with the Gazette on how he thinks the session is progressing, and what bills the public should be aware of.
Crank co-sponsored HB00339, a bill that deals with wildlife conservation license plates.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on third reading on Feb. 27, and passed the Senate transportation committee on Tuesday, March 6, with a vote of 5-0.
“This is a good bill and allows people to donate to something they believe in and are willing to promote,” Crank told the Gazette in an email.
Crank said, “This license plate bill is progressing a little different than others before it.
“It has been amended to increase the original (license plate) fee from $100 to $150 and the ongoing renewal has been increased to $50 per year,” Crank said.
“This bill has the potential to raise about $500,000 or more. This funding will be used for wildlife improvements along the roadways and help keep people and wildlife safe,” Crank continued.
According to the bill text, the fee for the license plates would go to a wildlife conservation account to be used for “wildlife conservation efforts related to the transportation system, including signage, wildlife corridors, wildlife crossings and game fences.”
Rep. Crank is also a member of the Minerals, Business and Economic Development legislative committee.
“The big issue going through Minerals has to do with blockchain technology,” Crank said. “I have thus far voted in favor of the bills but feel we may be pushing this too quickly.”
HB0070 is the blockchain tokens-exemptions bill. The bill passed the Senate on second reading on March 1, and was “laid back” in 3rd reading in the Senate on March 5.
According to the state legislature’s website a “motion to lay back a bill may be made and must carry by a majority of a quorum. The bill may be on General File in Committee of Whole, or on Second or Third Reading. It may be laid back to a specified position for a specified time.”
Crank said the rising digital currency bitcoin is a form of blockchain.
“The real issue I am seeing with the blockchain bills which are promoted as a safe way of saving data digitally comes down to how does one access the chain,” Crank said. “This has been an issue that has been sidestepped. It has been pointed out that to access the blockchain one needs huge computer processing. One might be able to get the data on your desktop but you will need to pay somebody a fee to actually access the information.”
Crank weighed in on whether the legislature was meeting its goals to address deficits.
“That depends on your perspective,” Crank said. “As I see it, no revenue streams have thus far been talked about or (really) moved forward. Yes, we have split the revenue streams up to cover other departments. This is great from some people’s point of view, but we cannot, in my opinion, fix our current revenue problem without some real revenue changes.”
Visit lso.wyoleg.gov for detailed information about bills, legislators and schedules for the legislative budget session.