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Day 1.

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

Call it the Home Opener.

Some good things happened.

There was singing. (In the atrium. In the gallery of the Senate. On the floor of the House.)

There was HUZZAH-ing. (Only in the House. Always, only in the House.)

And there was carefully orchestrated, somewhat theatrical, highly cynical voting to defeat Medicaid Expansion. Without any debate whatsoever.

(And, from what we hear, in spite of assurances from some in leadership leading up to the Session that Medicaid Expansion would at least get a fair hearing, Medicaid Expansion was used, behind the scenes, as the example describing exactly how a member could remove a bill from the consent agenda and kill it. Admittedly, we weren't in the room when this allegedly happened, but it certainly squares with what we saw today on the floor.)

Let's be honest.

There is a strong incentive right now for deliberate polarization in politics. Polarization is a tool that gives bullies a significant pulpit and a loud voice. Loud enough that they drown out other voices. Loud enough that it sometimes seems like they are the only ones talking. Loud enough that even when they are clearly not the only ones talking--and especially when they are outnumbered by a silent majority--they're still scary enough that they are hard to resist. Hard to drown out. Hard to stay seated when you're being threatened if you don't stand up.

Let us give you a little context.

There is a billboard here in Cheyenne promoting a site dedicated to "exposing liberal republicans". There are flyers all over Natrona County with a slightly different turn of phrase and the same general threat. The Campbell County GOP offered up a litmus test midway through 2019. There are groups threatening conservatives for not being conservative enough over support for what should not be seen as partisan issues given that they are basic, decent common sense pieces of legislation. Not to mention that they support and uphold Wyoming values--because they support the people of Wyoming.

So, today, on the floor of the House, when one of those loud voices stepped forward and whipped several votes and encouraged members to kill Medicaid Expansion, the very human humans that we've elected to office looked around. They counted noses. Then they stood up. One. By one. By one. By one. So slowly, in fact, that you could feel their regrets float up to the gallery. So slowly that some of them struggled to figure out where to rest their eyes. So slowly and in such a haphazard fashion that they did roll call. And then they called the roll again.

They stood up and cowered to the billboards and the flyers. They caved to those who would make basic dignity and care into partisan issues. They failed to do what they were sent to Cheyenne to do--make the hard decisions--and they did it so they could keep their seats. So they could refute the billboards and the flyers and pass the litmus tests.

But they failed the people of our state.

Which is why we'll be back in the morning. We'll bring another bill. We'll continue to make the case--because *all* the evidence supports it--that good health is good for business. Good health is good for hospitals. Good health is good for communities. Good health is good for families. Good health is good for Wyoming.

And good health is possible for more Wyomingites with Medicaid Expansion. It is not partisan. (Or it shouldn't be.) But it will take a little moral courage.

#SpeakUp #SayYes


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