- 1 Updates
- 2 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 3 Elected Officials
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Obamacare / ACA
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
- 11 Housing/Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections / Workers' Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
Actions Taken by the State Government
Virginia's 2017 Legislative Session ended February 11, 2017. Legislators will return to session in January, 2018.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
- Governor: Matt Mead (R), next election 2018
- Secretary of State: Ed Murray (R), next election 2018
- State Auditor: Cynthia I. Butt (R), next election 2018
- State Treasurer: Mark Gordon (R), next election 2018
- State Superintendent: Jillian Balow (R), next election 2018
- Supreme Court (appointed, then retention election; 8-year renewable terms)
- Chief Justice James. E Burke, term to 2023
- Justice William U. Hill, term to 2025
- Justice Michael K. Davis, term to 2023
- Justice Kate M. Fox, term to 2019
- Justice Keith G. Kautz, term to 2019
Key Upcoming Elections
Click here to find out if you're registered to vote.
Voter registration in Wyoming must go through your local County Clerk's office. You can register in person at the County Clerk, by mail, or at the polls on Election Day. Find the Wyoming Voter Registration form and requirements here. You will need identification to register—those requirements are listed on the Wyoming Voter Registration Form. You will not, however, need your ID to vote in elections.
2018 Competitive House Elections
2018 Senate Elections
- Republican incumbent John Barrasso will be up for reelection in 2018. No Democratic candidate has formally declared yet.
- If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 19,000 people in Wyoming (or 3.3% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 47,000 people (or 8.0% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/28/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies will be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and won't be required to provide essential health benefits. Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.
- The number of uninsured people in Wyoming is predicted to be 62,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 95,000, a 53.2% increase.
- Wyoming is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Wyoming could pay up to 85% more for the same coverage, compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 4,000 jobs could be lost in Wyoming. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay strategy, young adults in Wyoming could pay $991 More in 2018.
- 14 people were killed by the police in Wyoming from 2013 to 2016, which is the eighth highest per capita in the country.
- Wyoming has passed legislation SF0046, which requires police to get permission from the Attorney General before seizing assets, on the grounds that officers can present probable cause that the property is tied to criminal activity..
- Wyoming has 20,081 immigrants, or 3.5% of the population.
- There are an estimated 5,000 undocumented immigrants in Wyoming, making up 1% of the population.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- Wyoming does not allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers' licenses.
- Wyoming does not allow undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens.
- In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. The action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. In Wyoming, 998 individuals have benefited from this executive action.
- 2.3% of K-12 students in Wyoming had undocumented parents in 2014.
- Undocumented immigrants in Wyoming made up 1.4% of the labor workforce in 2014.
- If all undocumented workers were removed from Wyoming, the state would lose $194 million in economic activity.
- Undocumented immigrants paid $3.6 million in state and local taxes in Wyoming in 2012. If they all had legal status, they would pay $3.9 million.
- A 2016 survey by the University of Wyoming found that “25% of Wyomingites favor a policy whereby all undocumented immigrants should be deported. On the other hand, 36% favor a policy that would allow illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.”
- Legislation similar to Arizona’s SB1070 (which requires police to check detained/arrested people's immigration status if it is suspected that they might not be in the US legally) has been introduced in Wyoming, but it did not pass.
- Wyoming has no cities or counties with sanctuary policies.
- As of 2014, Wyoming was in the bottom 20% of all states for refugee settlement, with fewer than 6 refugees per 100,000 residents.
- Wyoming has no refugee resettlement program.
- In 2014, Wyoming had 3,846 incarcerated people, plus a probation population of 4,984 and parole population of 753.
- 255 people are incarcerated in private prisons in Wyoming.
- 165 juveniles are in custody in Wyoming.
- Of the prison population, 182 people were serving life sentences, and 28 were serving life sentences without parole.
- In Wyoming, a black person is 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person.
- An American Indian juvenile is 4.9 times more likely to be in custody than a white juvenile.
- Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $137 million.
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
- Wyoming residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 18,000
- Adults and children: 54,000
- Children: 31,000
- In 2015, an average of 13,868 households and 32,606 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in Wyoming. In 2011, approximately 6% of the population of Wyoming was receiving SNAP benefits. The average monthly benefit per Wyoming household was $269 per household and $114 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 927 households, including 428 families and 727 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Wyoming was $657 in 2014. Average benefits in Wyoming have increased in value by 19.7% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 2,550 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 310 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received $251.61 per person on average, for a total of $78,000.
- 10,100 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, Wyoming had 41 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In Wyoming, there were 857 homeless people in 2016.
- Of the homeless population, there were 110 families, 87 veterans, 28 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 91 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- Wyoming received $34 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In Wyoming, more than 6,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all Wyoming households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- Wyoming does not have an infrastructure score from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015.
- Wyoming has 87 high hazard dams and $300 million in drinking water infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 23.3% of Wyoming's bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 47% of Wyoming's roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $236 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
- Governor Matt Mead (R) has said, "Our towns can't continue to get high marks if they don't have good roads, sewer and other infrastructure."
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- Wyoming has one Planned Parenthood center.
- In 2015, that one center was in a rural, medically underserved, or health-provider shortage area.
- On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 114,000 women of reproductive age.
- There were three abortion providers providers in Wyoming in 2015.
- In 2014, 5.6 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Wyoming had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
- Parental consent and notice is required for minors.
- Medical abortion is limited.
- State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
Women and Wages
- In Wyoming, 12.8% of women live in poverty. Single mothers make up 32.2% of women living in poverty, while women age 65 and older make up 10.7%.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.64, which is 16 cents below the national average of $0.80 and the worst wage gap in the country.
- African American women are paid $0.57 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.52 for every dollar made by white men.
Domestic Violence in Wyoming
- In 2013, 2,592 domestic violence incidents were reported to Wyoming law enforcement, which made up half of Wyoming's assault reports.
- Arrests were made in only 56% of reported incidents.
- On a single day in 2014, Wyoming domestic violence programs served 279 victims.
- An estimated 20.6% of Wyoming women are stalked in their lifetimes.
- 10.3% of Wyoming high school students have reported being intentionally physically hurt by a dating partner in the past year.
- Half of Wyoming domestic violence femicides are committed with firearms.
Religious freedom law
Wyoming's House Bill 83 would have created a Religious Freedom Restoration Act and limited "specified governmental actions that burden religious freedom as specified," but the law failed to pass. Religious freedom laws protect people's right to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
Wyoming lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, insurance, adoption, and credit.
Wyoming lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in certain areas of parenting, including second-parent adoption, foster care, surrogacy and parental presumption.
Hate crime laws
Wyoming does not include LGBTQ+ people in hate crime protections and does not require reporting of hate crimes.
Wyoming has a law for transgender inclusion in sports, but does not have certain other laws protecting LGBTQ+ youth, such as protection from conversion therapy, laws to address LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education laws, and LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies.
Health and safety laws
Wyoming lacks certain laws protecting the health and safety of its LGBTQ+ citizens, including nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges, a ban on insurance exclusions for trans health care, trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees, and gender-neutral single-occupancy restrooms. Wyoming does have transgender exclusions in state Medicaid.
- Wyoming was ranked 7th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $15,700 per student.
- As of 2013, Wyoming ranked 16th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $57,920 per year.
- 93% of students in Wyoming attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 18% higher income.
- As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 0.5% of total public school enrollment.
- Wyoming's overall graduation rate is 79%, just below the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates in Wyoming are as follows:
- White: 81%
- Latino: 72%
- Black: 69%
- Asian/Pacific Islander: 85%
- American Indian: 47%
- Economically Disadvantaged: 65%
- Limited English Proficient: 65%
- Students with Disabilities: 62%
Consumer Protections / Workers' Rights
- Wyoming has a state minimum wage of $5.15—lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
- Wyoming has no state law for paid sick leave.
- Wyoming has no state law for paid family leave.
- Wyoming has Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- Wyoming is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- Wyoming also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- Wyoming does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- Wyoming does support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted this in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- About 86% of Wyoming’s electricity generation is from coal, and only 12% is from renewable sources.
- Wyoming has 2 sites on the National Priorities List.
- Approximately 42% of Wyoming’s land is federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black population had the highest air pollution exposure indices—of 15—compared to an overall index of 10 and a White index of 9.
- In 2012, Native American adults in Wyoming were most likely to have asthma—18%, compared to 9.2% overall and 9% of the White population.
- The environmental agency in Wyoming is the Department of Environmental Quality. It is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, as well as other state environmental regulatory programs.
- Wyoming does not have a climate action plan.
- Wyoming does not have renewable and alternative energy portfolio standards.
- 12.4% of Wyoming's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- The employment rate among disabled adults in Wyoming is 57.1% (the highest in the nation), compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Wyoming have a 84.9% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811]
- Approximately 15.1% of eligible voters in Wyoming have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.7%.
- Of adults with disabilities in Wyoming, 19.3% live in poverty, as opposed to 10.3% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024]
- In Wyoming, 15.2% of adults with disabilities between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]
Disability Rights Organizations
- Wyoming Protection & Advocacy System, Inc.—7344 Stockman Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82009
- Wyoming Services for Independent Living—offices in Lander, Rock Springs and Cody
Environmental Justice Groups
- Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance
- Western Environmental Law Center
- Wyoming Alliance for Environmental Education
- Wyoming Outdoor Council