Wyoming legislator Dan Laursen introduced a bill that amends the law governing investigations performed by the livestock board.   Specifically HB 128 would:

remove references to investigators of the livestock board; specifying that the livestock board shall not employ law enforcement personnel;

specify that brand inspectors are not law enforcement personnel;

create the livestock investigation account for livestock training and investigation expenses as specified;

provide a warrant requirement for livestock inspections;

repeal the inclusion of livestock investigators and brand inspectors from the definition of “peace officer”; and

provide for an effective date.

It is not clear why this bill was introduced, but the accompanying fiscal note concludes that the fiscal impact cannot currently be determined:

This legislation would transfer appropriated funds from Wyoming Livestock Board Law Enforcement to the newly created Livestock Investigation Account. The current standard budget for the 2017-2018 biennium is $1,002,866. These funds would only be expended to provide annual law enforcement training related to livestock and for reimbursements for livestock investigations as provided in this bill. The additional fiscal and personnel impacts are indeterminable at this time.

This legislation would eliminate four investigation positions at the Livestock Board, but the number of staff required to provide training and reimbursements for the new program are unknown until specific program logistics could be put in place. Staff for the program may at least consist of a trainer and a fiscal staff person to administer the new program, but may require additional staff. In addition, expenditures for training and reimbursement for local investigations would be dependent upon the number of investigations that happen around the state each year, which are unknown, but could be significant.

The bill was received for introduction on Feb 11, 2016 but received 35 nay votes and 23 aye votes, so therefore was not introduced.

Wyoming’s Livestock Board‘s mission is “to represent and serve Wyoming’s livestock industry through protecting livestock health and verifying livestock ownership.”

It appears as if their current authority remains intact.

There were no news reports or information generally available discussing the impetus for the proposed bill.

There were no real clues on Wyoming Farm Bureau’s (WyFB) website.  They identified the following issues as “Major Concerns” and legislative priorities.

WyFB supports efforts to retain our Brucellosis class free status outside the current Designated Surveillance Area (DSA).

WyFB supports funding for voluntary Brucellosis testing out of the DSA.

WyFB opposes mandatory animal identification beyond existing requirements.

WyFB does not support any increase in the beef check-off program.

WyFB does not support a state beef check-off program.

WyFB requests Wyoming Livestock Board increase its diligence in brand renewal notification.