Redistricting bill sent to education committee to dodge Zwonitzer conflict

House Speaker Eric Barlow has submitted a bill to move the Wyoming area to the House Education Committee instead of the committee, which spent six months drafting it. Barlow (R-Gillette) made an unconventional appointment in light of accusations made by the Republican Party of Wyoming that co-chair of the Committee on United Corporations, Elections and Political Units Dan Zvonitzer (R-Cheyenne) does not live in his area.

Barlow does not want the task of redistribution to be “complicated by this issue,” he said Monday. “So it’s solely time and place management so we can continue the absolute need for transformation work.”

  • Why it matters: Barlow said passing the bill to an independent committee is not standard practice, but it still falls under the rules of the House of Representatives. “If we didn’t have this other issue, it would have been sent to the corporation committee where it originated,” he said.

Zvonitzer, whose position on reorganization sometimes differed from that of his state party’s central committee, described the body’s accusations against him as a “political blow.”

As a result of these allegations, the bill no longer falls under his influence as chairman of the corporation committee.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Eric Barlow (R-Gillette) on the opening day of the session on the legislative budget for 2022. (Mike Vanata / WyoFile)
  • History: To accurately reflect population changes, lawmakers require redevelopment of territories every 10 years after the U.S. census. Wyoming lawmakers must approve the new map by the end of the March 4 session.
  • Next: Barlow’s decision to pass the bill to the House Education Committee has nothing to do with what is happening in the Senate. However, if the body’s president, Dan Doxteder (R-Afton), refers him to the Senate Education Committee, the bill could face additional challenges. The chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Charlie Scott (R-Casper) has previously voted against the bill and has his own plan for redistributing districts.
  • What else you need to know: The House of Representatives must decide the fate of the complaint filed against Zvonitzer, including the establishment of an investigative committee. Barlow said his suggestion is to “resolve this issue by the end of the business [on] Tuesday.

Meanwhile, four Zvonitzer voters, Eric Crosby, Gray Crosby, Lynn Robin Godspeed and Catherine Kidge, handed the representative a summons for information. They are looking for his address.

The bell ringer plans to ask for a dismissal, he said in a WyoFile comment, calling it “another attempt by the far right to make a bad press.”

Maggie Mullen reports on the state government and policies. Before embarking on WyoFile in 2022, she spent five years on Wyoming Public Radio. More from Maggie Malen

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