Wyoming is committed to a ‘citizen legislature.’ But the format can limit who is able to participate.

Just before the close of the 2019 legislative session in Cheyenne, Rep. Landon Brown — then a 32-year-old staffer in the state’s Department of Environmental Quality — was contemplating resignation.


The Legislature was approaching concurrence on a bill to raise its $109 per diem rates for some lawmakers that, thanks to a late amendment in the Senate, would slash per diem rates for lawmakers from the Cheyenne area by $30 a day, equivalent to a roughly $1,000 loss during the session.


For Brown — away from his job and without health insurance due to a provision in his contract — this would prove to be too much. He had bills of his own to pay and, already working on the slim margins offered during the session, Brown would find service in Wyoming’s part-time “citizen legislature” to be too heavy a cost under the bill.