Wyo Supreme Court rules in favor of Treasurer on Capitol Building

WYOMING – The Wyoming Supreme Court yesterday issued its decision in the case of Gordon v. State of Wyoming.  The Supreme Court reversed the District Court, which had rejected the Treasurer’s challenge to the Capitol restoration legislation, and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings.

Wyoming State Treasurer Mark Gordon announced his satisfaction with the ruling.

“I am pleased the Supreme Court has ruled on this fundamental constitutional matter and I want to thank the Court for its careful consideration of the issues involved,” Gordon said in a release yesterday. “Every elected official takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, a responsibility I take very seriously. I brought this suit to clarify the role of the Treasurer in the process of contracting on behalf of the state. With today’ s ruling, we have clear direction on the role and authority of the Treasurer now and into the future.”

In the 4-1 decision, the Court found the statutes passed by the Legislature to oversee the project did not provide for the Treasurer’s “narrow constitutional check on the legislature’s ability to spend on its own halls and rooms.”

The Court further specified that the Treasurer’s approval is not required for all work on the project and provided many examples of aspects of the project not subject to his approval. Further proceedings in the District Court will, in the Court’s words, “wrestle with” what parts of the project are within the narrow scope of the Treasurer’s review. The project is moving toward completion next year and work will continue.

Governor Mead said, “I, as always, appreciate the work of the Wyoming Supreme Court. They have issued a thoughtful opinion in a complex case. They have recognized the honest effort of the Legislature to deal with this Herculean endeavor.” The governor is a member of the Capitol Restoration Oversight Group but is not a named party in the case.

“I appreciate Governor Mead’s leadership on this important project and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Capitol Oversight Committee to bring this important project to an appropriate and fiscally responsible close,” Gordon said.

In May of 2016, Treasurer Gordon filed a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the Capitol Building Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group statutes that did not enable the State Treasurer to review and approve contracts—as is required by the Constitution.

Gordon’s office assured Wyoming citizens the Capitol project is a huge undertaking, begun years ago under then-Treasurer Joe Meyer. The Oversight Group has taken every aspect of the project seriously. Meetings are open to the public and well-attended, records are available, and every action has been deliberate and transparent.

“The Capitol is the most important building in the State, inspiring to look at and to visit—the repository of our state’s history past, present and future,” Mead added. “Completing the restoration of this historic landmark is essential so the Capitol building can once again be open and available for all to see and enjoy.”

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