Survey Finds Mixed Views on Public Lands Transfer Issue

By: FutUndBeidl

Wyoming citizens are divided on the prospect of transferring federal public lands to states, with 43 percent saying they support such a move and 41 saying they oppose, according to a new survey by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) at the University of Wyoming.

At the same time, 76 percent of Wyoming citizens say they oppose states selling significant holdings of public lands to reduce budget deficits, while 55 percent say the state of Wyoming could do a better job of managing lands within the state’s borders than the federal government does.

The statewide survey was conducted Feb. 16-19, yielding 694 responses from Wyoming citizens. The margin of error for the distribution of responses on any individual survey question is plus or minus four percentage points. Men and women from all age groups are represented, and all counties in Wyoming are proportionally represented in the survey sample. The final survey data have been weighted to reflect the actual population distribution in Wyoming on these key demographic characteristics.

Survey participants were asked questions about a wide variety of issues currently facing the state, including some that are being debated by the Wyoming Legislature.

Other key findings:

— Citizens are divided in their support for a bill that would set felony amounts for drinkable pot and for edible marijuana products, with 33 percent saying they support this and 37 percent saying they oppose.

— A majority (70 percent) of citizens say they oppose jail time for people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

— A majority of citizens (71 percent) say they support an increase of the cigarette tax from 60 cents per pack to $1.60 per pack.

— A majority of citizens (64 percent) say they support increasing the maximum profit to the state from alcohol liquor sales from the Wyoming Liquor Division from 17.6 percent to 20.6 percent.

— A majority of citizens (53 percent) say they support the imposition of a 4 percent statewide lodging tax.

— A majority of citizens (83 percent) say they support a bill seeking to strengthen stalking laws in Wyoming by broadening the definition of the act and increasing prison time for those convicted of the crime.

— A majority of citizens (62 percent) say they support a bill that changes the definition of when a person is considered to act in self-defense from “held a reasonable fear” of death or serious injury to “good-faith belief” of death or serious injury.

Complete survey results, including results for additional questions not presented here, are available at https://wysac.uwyo.edu/wysac/2018LegislativeSurvey.pdf.