Representative Heiner updates community on pending legislation
Representative Scott Heiner from House District 18 phoned in to speak with SVI media’s Duke Dance on Feb 25. He shared the latest from the legislature and spoke about some pieces of legislation upcoming. Legislators went back into committee work this week ahead of the session, resuming next week in Cheyenne.
Heiner, who is on the Minerals and Banking Business development committee, explained, “We’ve been dealing a lot with banking and trust laws. We’re trying to make Wyoming banking favorable. There are a lot of large trusts that are looking to Wyoming as a state that’s favorable to their activities.”
Heiner views Wyoming as one of two states most favorable to large trusts. Legislators are working to make laws more amenable to them and also banking. The legislature is considering reducing some fees for banks, which Heiner views as a good sign.
Dance confirmed during his interview with Governor Gordon that he had mentioned the issue on the air with SVI media a few weeks ago. Gordon told Dance there’s work being done to get banks to come into Wyoming instead of leaving.
Heiner added that a bill went through committee a couple of days ago designed to reduce some loopholes in sales tax law. He spoke of legislation to override a three-year tax exemption for data centers, and that failed in committee. He said, “I was disappointed in that. I think when the state is struggling with finances, we need to close some of these loopholes and get rid of some of these exemptions for specialty businesses like that.”
A large contingency of people in Cheyenne lobbied against removing the tax exemption for the data centers because that’s where most of them are centered. But it was a $16 million loss for the state of Wyoming to allow that to continue. Heiner expressed his disappointment saying, “I feel like we need to close some of these loopholes and get rid of some exemptions that we have out there to help our state during this time.”
Representative Heiner spoke about education saying, ‘Well, it’s going to be difficult. We have Cares Act 2 money from the federal government that could come in and change things for this year. But I’m afraid if we get that money we will just kick the can down the road another year and not do anything to fix our budget problems here in Wyoming.”
Heiner expected a healthy discussion with the legislators saying, “We all believe in education. It’s an honorable profession where we share knowledge with our youth and prepare them for their lives. And we want to fund that adequately. We want our youth to be successful, and that happens through a good education. We just need to figure out how to do it most efficiently.”
Besides the education issue, Representative Heiner explained that a voter ID law passed committee overwhelmingly, with many legislators that have signed on to co-sponsor that, including him. Similar legislation has failed several times over the past few sessions, Heiner believes this time the legislation will pass. He said, “With the emphasis on election integrity, I believe this one will be signed into law this year.” The legislation would require voter ID to vote in the future. The voter would need a driver’s license, Medicare card, veterans card, or some similar form of identification.