The Wyoming Legislature is a 90-member citizen legislature, meaning the members elected serve part-time and this is typically not the members’ primary occupation. Wyoming remains one of the few states that have a true part-time citizen legislature. While the part-time nature of the institution allows members to stay in close contact with their constituents, it also means that theydo not enjoy the same accommodations provided to full-time legislators in larger states, such as personal staff, offices or a salary.
The Legislature meets in a General Session in odd numbered years, beginning on the second Tuesday of January. The General Session is limited to 40 legislative days (business days, not consecutive). In even numbered years, the Legislature convenes in a Budget Session beginning on the second Monday of February, which typically lasts 20 legislative days. Except for the budget bill, all other bills require a two-thirds vote from the Senate or House for introduction during a Budget Session. The Legislature may not meet for more than 60 days within a biennial period. Special sessions may be called at any time by the Governor or the Legislature.
Article 3, Section 1 of the Wyoming Constitution states that “the legislative power shall be vested in a senate and a house of representatives …” There are 30 legislators elected to the Wyoming Senate and 60 legislators elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives.
The Wyoming Senate is currently made up of 27 republicans and three democrats. Members serve four-year terms and must be at least 25 years old to serve. Candidates must also be a citizen of the United States and Wyoming and must have resided within the district they wish to represent for at least 12 months preceding the election. The President of the Senate is the presiding officer and impeachment shall be tried in the Senate.
The Wyoming House of Representatives consists of 50 republicans, nine democrats and one independent. Members serve two-year terms and must be at least 21 years old to serve. Like the Senate, candidates must be a citizen of the United States and Wyoming and must have resided within the district they are serving for at least one year. The Speaker of the House is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives. All revenue-raising bills must start in the House and the body has sole power for impeachment of the Governor and other state and judicial officers as provided for in the Wyoming Constitution.
After every general election in even-numbered years, legislators hold party caucuses to elect legislative leadership for each party for the upcoming biennium (two-year period). Leadership elected in the caucuses includes the President, Vice President, Majority Floor Leader, Minority Floor Leader, Minority Whip and Minority Caucus Chairman in the Senate and the Speaker of the House, Speaker Pro Tempore, Majority Floor Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Floor Leader, Minority Whip and Minority Caucus Chairman in the House. These members of leadership begin serving in January after the general election.
A legislative committee called the Management Council serves as the leadership of the Legislature and serves as the administrative arm of the legislative branch of state government and the policymaking body when the Legislature is not in session. The Management Council consists of 13 members representing both parties and consists primarily of legislators in the leadership positions. The Management Council appoints the director of the Legislative Service Office and approves staff hired by the director, while the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House each hire temporary staff for their respective bodies during legislative sessions.
Legislative Session Future Start Dates
- 2020 Budget Session - February 10
- 2021 General Session - January 12
- 2022 Budget Session - February 14
- 2023 General Session - January 10