Wyoming State Senate

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Wyoming State Senate

Seal of Wyoming.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2014 session start:   February 10, 2014
Website:   Official Senate Page
Leadership
Senate President:   Tony Ross (R)
Majority Leader:   Phil Nicholas (R)
Minority leader:   Chris Rothfuss (D)
Structure
Members:  30
  
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:   Art 3, Sec 3, Wyoming Constitution
Salary:   $150/day + per diem
Elections
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (15 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (15 seats)
Redistricting:  Wyoming Legislature has control
The Wyoming Senate is the upper house of the Wyoming State Legislature. There are 30 senators in the Senate. Each senator represents an average of 18,788 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[1] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 16,459 residents.[2]

Members of the Senate serve four-year terms without term limits.

The Wyoming Term Limits Referendum (1996) and Wyoming Term Limits Initiative (1996) both were approved in 1996 but these votes were held in 2004 not to have been successful by the Wyoming Supreme Court.

As of September 2014, Wyoming is one of 23 Republican state government trifectas.

See also: Wyoming State Legislature, Wyoming House of Representatives, Wyoming Governor

Sessions

Article III of the Wyoming Constitution establishes when the Wyoming State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Sections 6 and 7 of Article III contain the relevant provisions. The Legislature is to convene in regular session for no more than sixty legislative working days every two years, and no more than forty legislative days in any year. In odd-numbered years, the Legislature meets for a general and budget session, beginning on the second Tuesday of January. In even-numbered years, the Legislature meets for a session devoted to budgetary matters.

Section 7 of Article III contains the provisions for convening special sessions of the Legislature. Special sessions can be convened by the proclamation of the Governor of Wyoming, or the Legislature can convene a special session of up to twenty legislative days if the session is requested by a majority of the members of each legislative house.

2014

See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from February 10 through March 7.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2014 legislative session included addressing the state's budget, requiring for-profit hospitals to accept a percentage of charity care, increased school accountability and reforming retirement systems of state agencies.[3]

2013

See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through February 27.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included "opting out" of the Affordable Healthcare Act and Medicaid, a 10-cent fuel tax increase, infrastructure improvements, and reforms to sex crime laws.[4]

2012

See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from February 13 through March 9.

2011

See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Legislature was in regular session from January 11 through March 3.[5] The 45 calendar days that the Wyoming Legislature was in session during 2011 is tied with Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Arkansas for the shortest legislative session in the country.

2010

See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate convened for its biennial budget session, which lasted from February 8 to March 5.[6]

Role in state budget

See also: Wyoming state budget

The state operates on a biennial budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[7][8]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies on or before June 15.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests in September.
  3. Agency hearings are held by November 20.
  4. The Wyoming State Legislature adopts a budget in March. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.
  5. The biennial budget cycle begins in July.

The governor has line-item veto power as well as the authority to veto appropriations items, veto selected words and change the meaning of selected words.[8]

In Wyoming, the governor is constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget. In addition, the legislature is constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget.[8]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 which indicated that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. Among the challenges states faced were a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Wyoming was one of 11 states that made rare use of cost-benefit analyses in policy and budget processes.[9]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: Following the Money 2014 Report

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[10] According to the report, Wyoming received a grade of C- and a numerical score of 68, indicating that Wyoming was "middling" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[10]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Wyoming was given a grade of C in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data is to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[11]

Elections

2014

See also: Wyoming State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Wyoming State Senate will take place in 2014. A primary election took place on August 19, 2014. The general election will be held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was May 30, 2014.

2012

See also: Wyoming State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Wyoming State Senate were held in Wyoming on November 6, 2012. A total of 15 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline was June 1, 2012, and the primary date was August 21, 2012.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.

2010

See also: Wyoming State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Wyoming's State Senate were held in Wyoming on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was May 28, 2010 (August 23 for independents). The primary Election Day was August 17, 2010. Of the 30 seats in the Senate, 15 were up for re-election. Incumbents ran in 10 of the seats. In addition, in 10 of the 15 seats, candidates are running unopposed in the November 2, 2010, general election.

In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $259,183 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were:[12]

2008

See also: Wyoming State Senate elections, 2008

Elections for the office of Wyoming State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 19, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $232,124. The top 10 contributors were:[13]

2006

See also: Wyoming State Senate elections, 2006

Elections for the office of Wyoming State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 22, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $368,423. The top 10 contributors were:[14]

2004

See also: Wyoming State Senate elections, 2004

Elections for the office of Wyoming State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 17, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $317,964. The top 10 contributors were:[15]

2002

See also: Wyoming State Senate elections, 2002

Elections for the office of Wyoming State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 20, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $126,509. The top 10 contributors were:[16]

2000

See also: Wyoming State Senate elections, 2000

Elections for the office of Wyoming State Senate consisted of a primary election on August 22, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total value of contributions to Senate candidates was $159,645. The top 10 contributors were:[17]

Qualifications

Section 2 of Article 3 of the Wyoming Constitution states, "Senators shall be elected for the term of four (4) years and representatives for the term of two (2) years. The senators elected at the first election shall be divided by lot into two classes as nearly equal as may be. The seats of senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the first two years, and of the second class at the expiration of four years. No person shall be a senator who has not attained the age of twenty-five years, or a representative who has not attained the age of twenty-one years, and who is not a citizen of the United States and of this state and who has not, for at least twelve months next preceding his election resided within the county or district in which he was elected."


Vacancies

See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

If there is a vacancy in the senate, the Board of County Commissioners representing the vacant seat must select a replacement. The state central committee of the political party that last held the seat must submit a list of three candidates to the Board of County Commissioners. The party committee must submit the list of candidates within 30 days after the vacancy happened.[18]

The Board of County Commissioners selects the replacement within five days of receiving the list of candidates. The person appointed to the seat serves for the remainder of the unexpired term.[18]

Redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Wyoming

The Wyoming State Legislature is responsible for drafting the new, redistricted maps. The initial drafting usually occurs in the Joint Interim Committee on Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions, and then must pass through both the House of Representatives and the State Senate. The Governor of Wyoming holds veto power over the map.

2010

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Wyoming's population increased from just under 494,000 to over 563,000.[19] This increase of 14.5 percent was higher than the national average, but Wyoming still had less people than the average size for one Congressional district.[20]

The Joint Interim Committee on Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions decided to keep single-member districts and the current configuration of 30 members in the Senate and 60 members in the House. Only 34 of the 90 old House and Senate districts were within the accepted five percent margin of error from the ideal population, suggesting that many districts would have to be reshuffled.[21] After having public hearings, the Committee adopted a complete map in December of 2011, and gave it final approval in January of 2012. The Senate and the House both passed the final map by very wide margins (28-2 in the Senate and 51-8 in the House) and Governor Matt Mead signed the map into law on March 6, 2012.[22][23]

Senators

Salaries

See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Wyoming Legislature are paid $150/day. Legislators receive $109/day per diem, set by the legislature.[24]

Pension

Wyoming does not provide pensions for legislators.[25]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Wyoming legislators assume office the first Monday in January following the election.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of September 2014
     Democratic Party 4
     Republican Party 26
Total 30


The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Wyoming State Senate from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of the Wyoming State Senate.PNG

Leadership

Wyoming does not have the office of Lieutenant Governor, and so the President of the Senate is selected from the membership.[26]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Wyoming State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Tony Ross Ends.png Republican
Vice President of the Senate Eli Bebout Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Floor Leader Phil Nicholas Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Floor Leader Chris Rothfuss Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Whip Bernadine Craft Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Caucus Leader John Hastert Electiondot.png Democratic

List of current members

Current members, Wyoming State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Ogden Driskill Ends.png Republican 2011
2 Jim Anderson Ends.png Republican 2001
3 Curt Meier Ends.png Republican 1995
4 Tony Ross Ends.png Republican 2005
5 Fred Emerich Ends.png Republican 2011
6 Wayne Johnson Ends.png Republican 2005
7 Leslie Nutting Ends.png Republican 2011
8 Floyd Esquibel Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
9 Chris Rothfuss Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
10 Phil Nicholas Ends.png Republican 2005
11 Larry S. Hicks Ends.png Republican 2011
12 Bernadine Craft Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
13 John Hastert Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
14 Stan Cooper Ends.png Republican 2005
15 Paul Barnard Ends.png Republican 2011
16 Dan Dockstader Ends.png Republican 2009
17 Leland Christensen Ends.png Republican 2011
18 Henry Coe Ends.png Republican 1989
19 Ray Peterson Ends.png Republican 2004
20 Gerald Geis Ends.png Republican 1993
21 Bruce Burns Ends.png Republican 2003
22 Dave Kinskey Ends.png Republican 2014
23 John Hines Ends.png Republican 2003
24 Michael Von Flatern Ends.png Republican 2005
25 Cale Case Ends.png Republican 1999
26 Eli Bebout Ends.png Republican 2007
27 Bill Landen Ends.png Republican 2007
28 James Anderson Ends.png Republican 2013
29 Drew Perkins Ends.png Republican 2007
30 Charles Scott Ends.png Republican 1983

Senate Committees

The Wyoming Senate has 12 standing committees.

History

Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Wyoming
Partisan breakdown of the Wyoming legislature from 1992-2013

Throughout every year from 1992-2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Wyoming State Senate. The Wyoming State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Wyoming was under Republican trifectas for the final three years of the study period.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Wyoming, the Wyoming State Senate and the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Wyoming state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Wyoming state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Though Wyoming had a number of Republican trifectas during the course of the study, both its highest and lowest rankings occurred during divided governments. In 2007, it finished 24th, and in 2010, it finished 4th, marking a large shift in a short amount of time.

Chart displaying the partisanship of the Wyoming government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

External links

References

  1. census.gov, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," accessed May 15, 2014
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001
  3. wyofile.com, "Legislature 2014: What you need to know about the budget session," December 3, 2013
  4. Cody Enterprise, "Wyoming Legislature set for ‘wild ride’," January 2, 2013
  5. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar," accessed June 6, 2014(Archived)
  6. Wyoming Legislative Service Office, "2010 session dates for Wyoming Legislature," accessed June 10, 2014
  7. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  9. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  10. 10.0 10.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  11. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  12. Follow the Money, "Wyoming Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions," accessed June 10, 2014
  13. Follow the Money, "Wyoming 2008 Candidates," accessed August 14, 2013
  14. Follow the Money, "Wyoming 2006 Candidates," accessed August 14, 2013
  15. Follow the Money, "Wyoming 2004 Candidates," accessed August 14, 2013
  16. Follow the Money, "Wyoming 2002 Candidates," accessed August 14, 2013
  17. Follow the Money, "Wyoming 2000 Candidates," accessed August 14, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Wyoming Legislature, "Wyoming Election Code," accessed December 18, 2013(Referenced Statute 22-18-111 (iii)-(A))
  19. U.S. Census Bureau, "2010 Census: Wyoming Profile," accessed June 10, 2014
  20. U.S. Census Bureau, "Congressional Apportionment," November 2011
  21. Wyoming Tribune Eagle, "Redistricting process gaining momentum," May 22, 2011
  22. Wyoming Tribune Eagle, "Redistricting plan clears both House and Senate," March 10, 2012
  23. Pinedale Roundup, "Gov. Mead signs redistricting plan into law," March 8, 2012
  24. NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  25. USA Today, "State-by-state: Benefits available to state legislators," September 23, 2011
  26. State of Wyoming Legislature, "Wyoming State Legislative Leadership," accessed June 10, 2014