Sen. Gierau: Legislative Committee Lost Public Trust With Recent Vote

Jackson’s affordable housing program could face an uncertain future after a legislative committee voted to revive a bill aimed at dismantling it. That vote followed a lunch meeting the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee had…

Jackson’s affordable housing program could face an uncertain future after a legislative committee voted to revive a bill aimed at dismantling it. That vote followed a lunch meeting the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee had with the advocacy group Jackson Hole Working, the Jackson Hole News&Guide reported.

During that meeting, members of Jackson Hole Working told legislators visiting Jackson for a two-day meeting that developers face too many restrictions under current housing regulations. They said the mitigation rates amended in 2018, which require developers to pay for a hefty portion of employee housing, have created a no-growth situation, according to Jackson Hole Working’s Jessica Jaubert.

Regardless of where you stand on such regulations, critics say the issue here is government transparency. There was no mention of such a meeting on the committee’s two-day agenda. Affordable housing wasn’t listed on that agenda either. And the meeting was impactful.

On Tuesday, the day after the meeting, legislators voted to revisit House Bill 277, which would strip local control from towns and counties when it comes to affordable housing regulations. Ahead of the impromptu vote, Goshen County Representative Shelly Duncan referenced the “testimony” from members of Jackson Hole Working. Members of Jackson Hole Working, however, saw the lunch as a casual affair, not a hearing where they were submitting testimony, Jaubert told KHOL.

State Senator Mike Gierau happened upon the lunch meeting between Jackson Hole Working and the legislative committee. Duncan’s use of the word “testimony” was problematic and misleading, Gierau said.

Listen above for the full conversation.

Above: The Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee convened at Teton County Library for a two-day meeting on September 16 and 17. Wyoming PBS streamed the proceedings but an unannounced lunch meeting with Jackson Hole Working didn’t make it to the screen. (Wyoming PBS/YouTube)

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About Robyn Vincent

Robyn launched KHOL's news department. She has worked as a reporter and editor in Wyoming for the last decade and her work has aired on NPR stations throughout the West. When she's not sweating deadlines, Robyn sustains her nomadic heart by traveling the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow @TheNomadicHeart

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