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News Briefs

News Brief: Regulating Gun Sales, Studying Online & Fighting Tax Reform

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Tuesday evening, December 17, 2019

State

Background Checks on Gun Sales

In response to increased mass shootings across the country, a Utah Democrat is pushing expanded background checks on all gun sales. Rep. Brian King’s bill would require background checks on all firearm transfers, including sales at gun shows and between private owners. King ran a similar bill earlier this year, but it was one of about a dozen gun control bills that never got a hearing in the Republican-controlled Legislature. — Nicole Nixon
 

Utah’s Online Students

The University of Utah, Utah State University and Utah Valley University are among the top 100 colleges and universities with the most online students in 2018. That’s according to recently released federal data. Among the institutions in the Beehive State, Utah State University had the highest online enrollment at nearly 14,000. The University of Utah and Utah Valley University saw the biggest increases in online students — more than 30% — between 2015 to 2018. — Rocio Hernandez

Proposed Referendums on Tax Reform

A citizen’s referendum has been filed against a tax reform bill the legislature passed in a special session last week. A citizen’s group called The People’s Right plans to pay for signature gathering in order to repeal the tax reform bill. It would require more than 115,000 signatures from registered voters to get on the ballot. A separate referendum being pushed by a former GOP lawmaker was filed Monday. The groups are looking to repeal a law passed last week that expands sales taxes, including on food and gas, while lowering the income tax rate. — Nicole Nixon

Southern Utah

State Dollars for Rural Counties

State Representative Phil Lyman says he plans to file a bill in the upcoming legislative session to bring more state dollars to rural counties. The proposed law will require the Utah Department of Transportation to spend more money on infrastructure in those places. The Republican represents the southeastern corner of the state. He says the legislation is needed, in part, because a new tax reform law passed last week will hurt his constituents more than others. — Kate Groetzinger, Blanding

Nation

Romney Calls for National Rules on Student Athletes

A national bipartisan working group looking into student athlete compensation had its first meeting Monday. Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut have taken the lead on this issue. In September, the California governor signed a law that allows college athletes at institutions there to hire agents and make money from endorsements. Romney says having different laws in each state could complicate colleges’ recruitment process. The group was formed last month. It’s also getting input from the NCAA. — Rocio Hernandez

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