Wyoming House Speaker Tom Lubnau plans to bundle the social issue bills to come before committee discussion over two days later this month to save on security costs.
Lubnau said he asked the committee chairmen in the House to keep their schedules open on Jan. 28. At that time, he will allocate the social issues bills for discussion on Jan. 28 and Jan. 29.
The speaker said increased security is needed most during committee hearings.
Lubnau said he also hopes to schedule all of the bills for debate on the House floor on the same days.
Senate President Tony Ross said he may do the same thing, although the Senate doesn’t have the same volume of bills as the House.
Lubnau said he decided on the bundling move when he found out the Legislature was paying for a lot of overtime for security to watch over the lawmakers for weeks at a time.
Shortening the discussion time and the need for additional security is a good step toward saving some public funds, he said.
The Legislature has always had additional surveillance by officers from Capitol Security in plain clothes during committee debates on sensitive social issue bills.
Those hearings can get very emotional, Lubnau said.
Additional security always has been used during committee discussions on firearms bills, although Lubnau said he believes that is silly.
Lubnau said only one anti-abortion bill has been filed so far, but there are multiple firearms bills in the hopper.
The number of social bills is likely to increase in the next two weeks.
“What’s driving the decision isn’t what the issue is, but what the community response is to the issue that require security,” Lubnau said.
He noted a change in the behavior of special interest groups over the years, particularly with social issue bills, that is concerning both him and Ross.
Both independently mentioned their concerns in their speeches to the House and Senate on Wednesday.
Lubnau said he received a death threat last year, while three or four other House members over the past year were threatened either with physical violence or death.
“That’s something we haven’t seen before,” he said.
The people or groups who made the threats, he said, have been identified to Capitol Building security officers.