Tag Archives: wyoming

Wyoming Legislature Passes Bill Making Gold, Silver Legal Tender

The Wyoming State Senate passed the Wyoming Legal Tender Act (House Bill 103) last Wednesday by a vote of 25-5. The bill had previously passed the state’s House of Representatives by a vote of 44-14.

After the House reconciles differences in amendments with the Senate version of the bill, it moves on to Republican Wyoming Governor Matt Mead’s desk for consideration.

If signed into law, the bill would recognize gold and silver as legal tender for payment of debt and taxes in the state and would remove the state’s ability to tax the sale of gold and silver specie.

Former U.S. Congressman from Texas Ron Paul said in a statement on the passage of the bill, “Passage of the Wyoming Legal Tender Act is the latest sign that dissatisfaction with the Federal Reserve’s money monopoly— and the movement to change our fiat currency system led by my Campaign for Liberty— is alive and growing. This bill would not have passed through the legislature without the hard work of Wyoming Campaign for Liberty state coordinator Cathy Ide and all of the dedicated activists who made sure the Wyoming legislature knew the people wanted them to restore their legal right to use real money instead of Federal Reserve notes. Governor Mead should listen to the people and sign this bill into law without delay.”

“As the economy slides into another Fed-created downturn, I predict the movement to pass state legal tender laws will grow. My Campaign for Liberty group is ready to help pass these laws in as many states as possible,” added Congressman Paul. His Campaign for Liberty is currently mobilizing grassroots activists to press Wyoming citizens to contact Governor Mead in support of the bill.

According to NewsCenter1, GOP State Rep. Roy Edwards described why legislators want to remove the tax on specie, saying, “Imagine going to the grocery store and asking the clerk for change for a $20 bill and being charged 80-cents in tax [on the change]. That’s what we’re doing in Wyoming by charging sales taxes on precious metals and we’re taking steps to change that.”

Constitutional tender expert Professor William Greene told the Tenth Amendment Center, “Over time, as residents of the state use both Federal Reserve notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve notes do will lead to a ‘reverse Gresham’s Law’ effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the state’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the state – as people in other states carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve notes for any transactions.”

If the bill were to become law, Wyoming would join a handful of other states who have passed various measures to encourage the use of gold and silver as legal tender, including Utah, Arizona, and Texas.

Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming Present Legislation Supporting Cryptocurrency

Lawmakers in Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming have all recently taken legislative action that seeks to further support cryptocurrency.

On Thursday, the Arizona Senate passed a bill that would allow residents to pay income taxes using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This implementation has practical significance, allowing the use of cryptocurrencies as a payment option in a state revenue system legitimizes them as an everyday alternative payment medium.

A provision in the bill mandates that the cryptocurrency payments be exchanged for fiat currency within 24 hours. This provision seeks to address the volatility of cryptocurrency and mitigate state revenue concerns.

Republican Arizona State Representative Jeff Weninger, who co-sponsored the bill, said he wants Arizona to be at the forefront of technological innovation. He told Fox News:

“It’s one of a litany of bills that we’re running that is sending a signal to everyone in the United States, and possibly throughout the world, that Arizona is going to be the place to be for blockchain and digital currency technology in the future.”

Consideration by the Arizona House of Representatives will be the next step for this bill.

[RELATED: What Is a DAO and Why Is It Revolutionary?]

In Colorado, a bill was introduced in the Senate proposing the use of blockchain for governmental data security. Senate Bill 86 seeks to use the blockchain ledger feature for its ability to securely record transactions. The bill aims to “control functionality, track transactions, verify identities, support uniformity, resist tampering, enable logistical control for large numbers of participants, protect privacy, and support accountability and auditing.”

Sumana Nallapati, Colorado’s secretary of technology and state chief information officer told StateScoop:

“In Colorado, we try to be a leader in any technology that can transform and enable better government. To be an early adopter of blockchain, our hope is that it will allow Colorado to shape the industry by offering lessons learned, creating jobs, and providing better services to our customers.”

Legislators in Wyoming have introduced two bills, House Bills 19 and 70, that would limit regulatory control over cryptocurrency trading.

Coinbase, the most widely used buying and selling cryptocurrency platform, suspended its services in Wyoming a couple of years ago. Many other platforms followed their decision because the states regulatory burdens have been too costly.

The Wyoming Division of Banking requires cryptocurrency trading platforms to hold an equal value of fiat funds to the aggregate value of funds held by customers. Although Hawaii has the same regulation, this response has not been typical in other states.

Coinbase and other platforms found these regulations to impractical to continue services in the state.

House Bill 19 “would clarify the provision that state regulators are currently relying on to bar the trading” while House Bill 70 “would clarify that traders are not subject to certain other state finance regulations,” according to the Casper Star Tribune, providing the opportunity for platforms to continue services in the State.

Wyoming’s New Asset Forfeiture Law Could Set A Game-Changing Precedent

By Casey Harper – Civil asset forfeiture is a practice in which police can seize property and keep it even if they don’t convict or charge the owner with a crime. Then, the owner must go through the legally arduous, and often unsuccessful process to recoup their property – whether it’s a vehicle, cash or home – from the police. The Institute for Justice, an organization pushing for forfeiture reform, rated Wyoming with a D- for their forfeiture laws.

So reform advocates have worked to implement laws in states across the country that require a conviction before property is forfeited. National reform leaders also want more reporting and accountability for law enforcement to prevent frivolous seizures.

In 2015, Wyoming’s legislature passed a civil asset forfeiture reform bill that was a dream come true for reform advocates. It was so strong, in fact, that Gov. Matt Mead vetoed the bill. He said while there were problems with the practice, those abuses were not a significant problem in Wyoming.

But the legislature has now passed a bill that met Mead’s muster. Under the law, police would still be able to forfeit property without a criminal conviction, but they must have a judge review the case within 30 days to determine if the officers had probable cause to seize the property. If the judge rules that police did not have probable cause, the property must be returned. The distinction is important because, as it is, judges rarely review seizures.

“If an officer of the law wants to seize some assets, he has to contact the attorney general,” Wyoming State Rep. Kendell Kroeker told TheDCNF. “The attorney general determines if there is probable cause. If the AG determines there is probable cause, the officer may proceed with the seizure (this is the same standard as arresting someone).”

From there, the case must go before a judge within 30 days. Under the bill, people are still not provided an attorney if they can’t afford one, since it is in civil court.

“The judge holds a hearing to review the probable cause standard,” Kroeker told TheDCNF. “If the judge determines there was not probable cause, the assets are returned immediately. If the judge determines there was probable cause, a trial is scheduled. This step is a lot like a grand jury – a grand jury does not determine guilt, rather it determines if there is enough evidence to bring charges and go to trial.”

Under the bill, if the judge rules there was probable cause in seizing the property, then the state must prove in court that there is “clear and convincing” evidence that the property was a part of criminal activity. The burden of proof is now on the state, not the individual.

If the person is innocent, they can sue to recover attorney fees as well as damages. Experts say people will often let their property go because the legal fees are too high. For example, a $4,ooo car might be worth less than the legal fees associated with its recovery from the state, so an innocent victim of civil asset forfeiture might just let police keep the vehicle. For that reason, many forfeitures go unchallenged, especially the smaller sums.

“This is a big incentive for the state to not bring frivolous seizure cases,” Kroeker told TheDCNF. “The bill also protects innocent owners against seizure, that the amount seized must be in proportion to the crime, and requires all seizures to be reported to the judiciary committee.”

A key clause in  the new law requires that the value of assets seized has to be proportional to the seriousness of the crime.

“For example, if someone was coming back from Colorado with a small amount of marijuana, it would not be appropriate to seize his vehicle,” Kroeker told TheDCNF. “There is also innocent owner protection.  This would apply if someone borrowed your car and used it to transport drugs and you had no knowledge of it.  They can’t take your car since you were not involved in the crime.”

From 2008 to 2012, Wyoming authorities seized $2,841,522 and refunded $1,041,577, according to a report from Wyoming Liberty Group using data from the attorney general. That number is a little skewed, though. Of the $1,041,577 returned, a majority was from a single $774,506 seizure that was refunded. Meanwhile, dozens of smaller amounts did not get returned.

Want to know more about how civil asset forfeiture works?



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Supreme Court refuses to act on same-sex marriage issue

While more people are showing support for same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court made the decision Monday to not get involved with any appeals court decisions over same-sex marriage and allow these courts to decide how their states should move forward.

As a result of their refusal to get involved, five additional states have been added to the list of 19 others who allow same-sex marriage.  These five new states are Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to Reuters.  The appeals courts who rule over these states have already ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in the past.

Six other states, who fall under the jurisdiction of those appeals courts, may also be affected by this decision and they may see same-sex marriage soon.  These six are Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“The court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states,” said president of the Freedom to Marry organization, Evan Wolfson, according to USA Today.  “But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places.”

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, according to the BBC, “Today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action.”

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has made a decision which has suggested support for same-sex marriage.  Last year, the Supreme Court invalidated parts of a law which denied legally married same-sex partners spousal benefits.

All of the small victories for those in support of same-sex marriage make many believe the Supreme Court will soon make a decision which will tackle the issue nationwide.

Obama Administration Overrides Congress By Giving Wyoming Town Over To Indian Tribe


President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently overrode Congress by declaring a Wyoming town called Riverton a part of the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The EPA made the decision last month along with the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice — it has angered many of Riverton’s citizens. Gov. Matt Mead said that by declaring Riverton was a part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, government agencies violated tribal boundaries set by Congress in 1905. He said, “My deep concern is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law. This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?”

The San Francisco Gate reported, “The EPA addressed the reservation boundary issue in its decision last month that granted an application from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. The tribes had applied to have the reservation treated as a separate state under the federal Clean Air Act.”

Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael is asking the EPA to reconsider the ruling. In a statement, he wrote, “The EPA not only reached the wrong conclusion, but the agency also employed a fundamentally unfair and skewed process, to the detriment of the state and its citizens, in pursuit of its predetermined objective.”

Many of Riverton’s citizens feel that the EPA’s decision is unjust. Since the town has been turned over the tribes, it is no longer eligible to receive state services or local law enforcement.

Officials and citizens alike complain that the EPA was not diligent in communicating with the groups most impacted by the change. Senator Leland Christensen said, “This is an alarming action when you have a federal agency step in and start to undo congressional acts that has really been our history for 108 years … With the stroke of a pen without talking to the biggest groups impacted — and that would be the city of Riverton and the state of Wyoming.”

Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and Mike Barrasso, with Rep. Cynthia Lummis, wrote in a statement, “The EPA’s decision has in effect overturned a law that has been governing land and relationships for more than 100 years. We are also very concerned about the political ramifications this decision could have for the tribes and the state of Wyoming.”

For now, Mead has ordered that state agencies and citizens go about “business as usual.”

We will keep you up-to-date on this situation as news breaks.

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