The media has been having some fun the last few days over a bill that passed the Wyoming House last week calling for the state to establish a “state continuity task force” to prepare the state for the unimaginable.
House Bill 85 authorizes $16,000 to convene a panel to study how a variety of national emergencies could impact Wyoming, including an economic meltdown, disruptions in food and energy supplies or even a breakdown of the federal government, according to the bill’s text.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in this room today who would come up here and say that this country is in good shape, that the world is stable and in good shape — because that is clearly not the case,” state Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, R-Thermopolis, said. “To put your head in the sand and think that nothing bad’s going to happen, and that we have no obligation to the citizens of the state of Wyoming to at least have the discussion, is not healthy.”
To the delight of some, an earlier version of the bill included language authorizing the task force to consider whether to “implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.”
“Surely, I thought, this means that at least somebody has a sense of humor about this project,” writes Kevin Underhill in Forbes. “Even if Wyoming were going to be independent, either by choice or because the other 49 states just quit inviting it to things, it’s not very likely to need an aircraft carrier,” given that the land-locked mountain state’s largest body of water is tiny Lake Yellowstone.
But the Daily Caller writes that the aircraft carrier language was a poison-pill provision later struck from the bill to ensure its passage. The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. David Miller, says he’s not worried about the apocalypse. Instead, he just thinks it would be prudent to plan for the state to take care of itself in the event of an unforeseen natural or political disaster, as the residents of Louisiana largely had to do after Hurricane Katrina.
“Things happen quickly sometimes — look at Libya, look at Egypt, look at those situations,” Miller told the Star-Tribune in Casper. “We wouldn’t have time to meet as a Legislature or even in special session to do anything to respond.”
The Prepper State
Wyoming, like its sparsely populated neighbors Idaho and Montana, seems favored as a place of redoubt by survivalists and “patriot” groups, such as the Wyoming Constutional Militia. This bill seems inspired by their spirit.
Yet, Transitioners and others in the re-localization movement would surely applaud the legislation’s call for the task force to also consider a local currency for the state in the event of the collapse of the US dollar.
Wyoming’s state legislators are showing great foresight in planning for a future beyond the next election. By contrast, my own state legislature in Virginia looks like a clown show for considering a bill to require women wanting an abortion to undergo a mandatory invasive “trans-vaginal” (yikes!) ultrasound, ridiculed by Jon Stewart as “a TSA patdown inside your vagina.”
The bill is scheduled for a vote in Wyoming’s state senate this week. But whether it becomes law or not, the idea serves as an example for other states to start planning for economic troubles, peak oil and other scary scenarios. Bill sponsor Miller even claims that he has received comments from residents in Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Missouri, Arkansas and other states, all asking for copies of the bill to give to their own representatives.
— Erik Curren, Transition Voice