Rep. Mark Baker, a Republican from Rock Springs, submitted a letter of resignation from the Wyoming Legislature, effective May 15, he said Wednesday morning.
Baker said he is moving outside House District 48 to Green River to start a business.
Baker, who was elected in 2013, said one of his proudest legislative accomplishments is a bill that passed in 2015 that uses a portion of a court technology fee for electronic citations.
Thanks to the new law, the Wyoming Highway Patrol and police in Casper and Cheyenne can input a driver’s license into a scanner in their vehicles. The driver’s license information goes on the ticket.
“It eliminates a lot of clerical errors and time at the side of the road,” Baker said.
Baker also led an effort in the 2016 legislative session to direct some of the $240 million in abandoned mine land funds to restore Bitter Creek in Rock Springs, which flows through downtown and has flooded homes and businesses. A company had rereouted the creek from a coal mine in the 1920s.
Baker told Gov. Matt Mead in his resignation letter that the project needs to be completed, he said.
“That’s something I fought hard for, and I was pretty proud we were successful for that,” he said. “I would love to see the project continued and completed.”
Baker was a champion of medical marijuana legalization. He also stirred controversy in 2013 when he said on the House floor that only 1 percent of homosexuals die of old age. Reporters could not verify the statistic.
Baker said he sent his resignation letter to Mead, who will notify the Sweetwater County Commission of the vacancy in the district. Commissioners will ask the county Republican Party to vet candidates and submit a list of three prospects. The commission will make the final decision on who will represent the central Rock Springs district, he said.