Last night went late and today started early.
First, the good news: Medicaid Expansion (HB0244 Medicaid - work requirement and expansion) passed out of Committee last night by a vote of 6-3 and will be placed on General File in the House !
Majority Floor Leader Barlow has indicated that he will make sure it gets to the House Floor for a robust debate. Let's hold him to that and make sure that the Reps in the house hear from all four corners of Wyoming what we know to be true: People want Medicaid Expansion.
Additional good news: The Wyoming Breast & Cervical Cancer Program had been slated for the cutting room floor. After impassioned debate in the Senate and a vote of 17-12, the Senate restored $750k in funding for the important preventive program. Sen. Affie Ellis put it best when she said that this is about taking care of women, this is a life and death matter. Over in the House, Rep. Cathy Connolly pointed out the life-saving benefits of the program when she brought a third reading amendment in the House and managed the same on the other side of the Jonah Building.
Elected women for the win.
Further good news: HB0107 Sexual assault parental rights passed out of committee this morning on an 8-1 vote. This bill would terminate any claim of a rapist to parental rights of a child resulting from the rape. Stunned that this is not already in statute in Wyoming? We were, too. You can make sure that it becomes law.
And a bill aimed at raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $8.50 and including minor incremental adjustments through 2025 (the succinctly titled HB0273 Minimum wage) is headed to committee tomorrow just ahead of the deadline.
Some fun facts you might not know about Wyoming's minimum wage:
Wyoming has the lowest minimum wage in the country, tied with Georgia.
"Tipped" minimum wage is even lower: $2.13.
In Wyoming, women are disproportionately low wage workers--especially tipped workers--and stand to benefit the most from this increase.
Let your Reps know you support an increase in minimum wage--and thank them for their work on the wins for women. Wins for women are wins for Wyoming.
And, on to the not-such-good-news, especially for people who are not fans of government intrusion into healthcare:
HB103 passed out of committee 5-4 at 8am this morning (the members of House Labor/Health are burning the proverbial candle at both ends, to be sure). It was heavily amended by the sponsor but still has negative ramifications for women's health, will deter new providers from moving to the state, and makes clear that the government feels the need to be in the examination room whenever women visit their doctors about reproductive health (including hysterectomies).
HB140 Abortion - 48 hour waiting period passed on second reading and advanced to 3rd reading.
SF0128 Unborn victims of violence act will be worked by Senate Judiciary in the morning. Your last chance to make comment is via email tonight. For more on this bill and some of yesterday's public comment, visit Wyoming Public Radio.
SF0144 Medicaid and SNAP eligibility requirements passed the Committee of the Whole in the Senate and moves on to second reading tomorrow. Most of the people in the state served by Medicaid are women. This bill means that we're telling those women that they have to certify that they are working, volunteering, or attending school 20 hours/week (unpaid caregiving does not count) or they will lose their healthcare and food stamp benefits for 12 months.
Lots to do before the morning!
Click on over to the home page for talking points and bill summaries and let your elected officials know where you stand. Your voice matters!