With COVID-19 case numbers in Wyoming continuing to climb to record highs in recent days, lawmakers advanced a bill Monday that would establish a task force to review the state’s response to the ongoing pandemic and better prepare for the next one.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced responses from every level of government in Wyoming, which had its first confirmed case in mid-March, and officials from virtually every governing body would be represented on the task force under the bill.
Members of the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee were optimistic that the COVID-19 pandemic would be over before any potential meetings of the task force. Its focus, rather than on responding to the current pandemic, would be on preparing for future ones.
“I think it is safe to predict that nature is likely to produce one of these things again,” Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, said during the meeting. “It might be another 100 years before it does, but it might be next year, too, because those things are just totally unpredictable and uncontrollable.”
Under the advanced bill, the task force would consist of lawmakers, health officials and members representing K-12 education, business, county government and local tribes. While sometimes wary of forming task forces, the lawmakers largely agreed that the pandemic was an unusual situation.
The only vote against the legislation was from Scott, who argued pandemic-related issues need to be looked at by a standing committee. The bill will now be up for consideration at the Legislature’s upcoming general session.