WYOMING \u2013 The 64th Legislature adjourned yesterday and the highlights were many during the budget session marked by bitter debates over education funding, breaking new ground with blockchain technology legislation, and steps taken to diversify Wyoming\u2019s economy.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe have accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time to support economic diversification, advance opportunities for innovation through blockchain technology, support critical state agency priorities, and meet our constitutional obligation to balance the budget,\u201d said Senate president Eli Bebout. \u201cNow we need to turn our attention to decreasing our $900 million deficit and solving our long-term spending problem. I have every confidence that the next Legislature will hold fast to our conservative values and work toward solutions that responsibly broaden our tax base and create a transparent spending policy for Wyoming agencies.\u201d\r\n\r\nEducation falls victim spending cuts made in effort to rein in spending\r\n\r\nThe session was extended for four days after an impasse on school funding and state construction bogged down lawmakers. In the 11th hour, lawmakers pushed through a compromise where the Senate agreed to a bit more spending on state construction than it wanted, and the House had to make deeper education cuts than it wanted to.\r\n\r\nHouse Bill 140 was passed yesterday and headed to the Governor\u2019s desk. It essentially made about $27M in cuts to education over the next two years\u2014less than half of what the Senate wanted slashed.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis year we showed our commitment to public education, our most vulnerable citizens and to representing the conservative values and priorities of Wyoming people,\u201d said House Speaker Steve Harshman. \u201cIt is wonderful to see important legislation for our students like statewide computer science standards, adequate funding of our K-12 and higher education systems, and important economic diversification initiatives secure passage\u2014and we\u2019ve solved K-12 major maintenance capital construction.\u201d\r\n\r\nBlockchain tech and digital money\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWyoming went a long way toward legally defining what it thinks cryptocurrency is in paving the way for blockchain technology. While most Wyoming citizens would be hard-pressed to explain Bitcoin, state lawmakers made great strides in creating a playing field for new technology even when creating some laws in opposition to federal government policy.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe went from zero to 100 this session in the field of blockchain technology,\u201d said House Majority Floor Leader David Miller. \u201cThis package of economic diversification legislation will cost the state nothing while bolstering our technology industry, bringing new startups and established businesses to our state and putting Wyoming on the map as a global leader in one of the most exciting and cutting-edge fields in tech. Republicans worked diligently to advance a wide set of economic diversification measures this session that will put Wyoming\u2019s small business owners and entrepreneurs in a position to enjoy a prosperous future across a wide set of industries.\u201d\r\n\r\nLawmakers stand their ground\r\n\r\nWhile Wyoming may not be known as a leading innovator on the tech front, it is a state loves its guns. State lawmakers passed legislation this session to strengthen citizens\u2019 rights to personal liberties and protection.\r\n\r\nRepublicans in particular point to the \u201cStand your ground\u201d bill that passed through the House 47-11-2 on final reading, and the Senate 26-4. HB 168 establishes and modifies when defensive force can be used, when no duty to retreat exists, and provides immunity immunity from civil liability for a reasonable use of defensive force.\r\n\r\nGovernor Matt Mead yesterday announced he would neither sign the controversial bill or veto it, meaning it will become law by default on July 1, 2018.\r\n\r\nPower of veto\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s rare, but sometimes a bill doesn\u2019t become a law even when a majority of those in the legislation voted for it. Governor Mead chose to exercise his power of veto once so far, nixing Leland Christensen\u2019s SF 74 that was fashioned to protect the state against damages and cleanup costs from an incident similar to the Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Pipeline.\r\n\r\nGov. Mead called the Critical Infrastructure bill \u201cflawed\u201d and \u201cimprecisely crafted.\u201d The Legislature was unable to override the veto after the House failed to come up with the necessary two-thirds majority to do so.