Dalton Banks looking forward to second session in the House

Erin Mullins

Dalton Banks, District 26 representative in the Wyoming House of Representatives, is heading into his second legislative session during his first term in office, the budget session of the 67th Legislature.
Banks said his main focuses are a balanced budget, education and mental health services.
Banks said that he is feeling more prepared for this legislative session after going through his first session last year.
“I’m starting to understand the process a little bit more of what goes into making laws and all of the backdoor, behind the scenes things that also play into the official process of creating a law,” he said.
Some of his main priorities for the upcoming budget session, which convenes on February 12, are limiting property tax increases and allocating funding for mental health services via the 988 hotline.
“One of the things that I’m going look forward to working on and trying to get passed is funding for the 988 suicide hotline and its new services that are texting options so it allows people who are having a mental health crisis or such to be able to text into the hotline,” he said.
Based on reports he has seen, Banks said that veterans and adolescents are some of the more vulnerable groups that need access to mental health services.
“Veterans’ health is very important,” he said. “We’re seeing increases in mental health crisises for adolescents and high school aged kids, teenagers. And we want to be able to let them focus on their future and career and things like that, without having these debilitating mental health issues in their lives.”
If the state can provide help for these mental health crises, that is an avenue that should be pursued, Banks said.
For property taxes, Banks is working to pass House Bill 45, which would put a cap on property taxes, allowing a maximum of a 5 percent annual increase. Banks is a co-sponsor of the bill.
Another main focus for Banks is to avoid a sharp rate increase in electricity rates by Rocky Mountain Power, as large electric rate increases have been a recent issue.
“We just saw Rocky Mountain Power is trying to pass a significant rate increase on its customers based upon policies in Oregon and Washington that they tried to pass off on to Wyoming. We don’t want to pay for policies in those states that will hurt our customers,” he said.
Banks is also concerned about the rates for heating through Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) going up. He said that while there has been a more recent attempt to increase electrical rates, MDU has increased rates in the past.
Additionally, education and parental rights are a focus for Banks. While he feels that schools in local districts do a good job of allowing parental rights and transparency, he feels that other schools around the state do not allow parents insight into what is going on in the country.  
Banks said he isn’t a member of either of the two main groups of Wyoming Republican legislators, the Freedom Caucus or the Wyoming Caucus. Rather, Banks said that he is politically independent within the Republican Party.
Banks is currently serving on the Agricultural, State and Public Lands and Water Resources Committee and the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee. Both committees are very important both to the Big Horn County area and the state at large, he said. Being able to understand the issues the agriculture and minerals industries face and discover solutions has been really beneficial, he said.
While some legislators did not help Banks due to him being so green, he said he really appreciated those who gave him a helping hand during his first legislative session last year.
Personally, Banks lives in Cowley with his wife and one daughter. He works for the City of Powell in their maintenance department. Additionally, he has his own ranch, raising angus cows and quarter horses.
Banks said he got into politics due to his grandfather being involved in local politics. Originally, he ran for county commissioner, but he did not get elected. When the District 26 seat in the House of Representatives opened up last year, he decided to run for the position and was elected.