NEWS BRIEFS for Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019

From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

UW leaders wary of gun bill

LARAMIE (WNE) — Leaders at the University of Wyoming will be watching closely a bill that would eliminate the university’s status as a “gun-free zone.” Senate File 75, introduced by Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, would prevent any state agency from regulating the carrying of firearms.

The bill has 35 co-sponsors and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would also mandate that the university must

allow people to carry concealed weapons on campus, including at college athletic events.

The bill is likely to face a barrage of amendmentsin coming weeks.

“We’ll be watching as it develops over the next week or so,” UW spokesman Chad Baldwin said.

“When similar bills have come up in the past, we’ve been diligent to avoid situations where our hands could be tied concerning safety on campus,” Baldwin said. “The board of trustees is in the best position to determine what’s best for the campus on this issue.”

The legislation comes after a controversial run-in between gun rights advocates and the University

of Wyoming at the state Republican convention last year.

The university does not allow people to carry firearms on campus.

On Thursday, Rep. Tim Salazar, R-Dubois, introduced a mirror bill in the House. His bill has 32 co-sponsors.

Gov. Mark Gordon said Saturday in Cheyenne that he would stand by his campaign stances on gun legislation and sign a gun-free zone repeal if it came to his desk.

Tobacco tax proposed again

WORLAND (WNE) — A bill introduced in the Wyoming House of Representatives on Friday would try, yet again, to raise taxes on cigarettes and snuff in Wyoming, by proposing a 166 percent excise tax increase on tobacco products. 

House Bill 218 would increase the excise tax on cigarettes and snuff to $1.60 per pack or can (currently 60 cents per pack and can) and result in an estimated revenue increase to the state’s general fund of $22.7 million per year. 

Local governments would see an increase in revenue by an estimated $4 million per year. 

The state notes that the new rate of $1.60 per pack or can would be similar to South Dakota, which charges $1.53, and Montana, which charges $1.70. 

Idaho, Nebraska and Colorado currently tax less than a dollar. 

According to the Wyoming State Department of Health, 19 percent of Wyoming residents use tobacco products, slightly above the national average of 17 percent. 

Wyoming is currently ranked 44th in the United States for its current tax of only 60 cents per pack, with the national average being $1.73. 

Pinedale ready for this year’s Senior Winter Games

PINEDALE (WNE) — Pinedale started the Wyoming Senior Winter Games in 2008 and has been its host site frequently since then. 

Feb. 7-9, volunteers will host participants from 50 years old to the most “senior seniors” to alpine and Nordic ski, ice skate, snowshoe, swim, play pickleball and ride  a fat tire bike with other like-minded active seniors.

Events will include the 1-mile walk on Pinedale Aquatic Center’s indoor track and new this year will be the fat bike race.

Rendezvous Pointe will host the culminating banquet for the games on Saturday, Feb. 9. The banquet speaker will be Miekka Zanders, executive director of Legacy Lodge in Jackson Hole. She will speak on what it means to be a senior adult.

Regularly updated information and registration are available online at The $50 registration fee for the three-day Winter Games covers most all competitions. Additional banquet tickets for guests may be purchased for $20.

Onsite registration is open until the day of each event. Registration and hospitality will be hosted beginning Thursday, Feb. 7, at 10 a.m., at the PAC, 535 N. Tyler Ave. in Pinedale and will be open and available to all participants through Saturday, Feb. 9.

Wyoming this Weekend, Jan. 25-27

By the Wyoming News Exchange

A major sled dog race tops the list of activities in Wyoming this weekend.

Opening ceremonies for the 2019 Pedigree State Stop Sled Dog Race will take place in Jackson’s town square on Friday, featuring a 2-mile race and post-race celebration party, torch light parade and fireworks.

The race officially begins on Saturday as sled dog racing teams will begin their cross-country trek in Alpine, followed by the “stage three” race beginning in Pinedale on Sunday.

Other events this weekend include:

Yellowstone Quake hockey in Cody on Friday and Saturday;

Eastside RV’s “fun show” at Gillette’s Cam-Plex Friday through Sunday;

The Wyoming Athlete Development Open powerlifting meet in Pinedale on Saturday;

The Sunny Korfanta dual giant slalom in Pinedale on Saturday, and

A performance by professional chamber choir “Skyline Singers” at Sheridan’s Whitney Center for the Arts on Saturday.

For more information on these and other events, please visit the Wyoming Tourism Division’s website at