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Wyoming officials plan to review new federal gun regulation

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming officials say they intend to review a new federal rule designed to encourage states to turn over mental health records to a database that tracks people who should be prohibited from purchasing guns.

But Wyoming officials say it would likely require a change in state law before the state could actually turn over any such records.

Wyoming is one of a handful of states that doesn't turn over records of people who have been committed involuntarily to mental health institutions. Officials say they're concerned about the federal system respecting patient privacy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule this week as part of President Barack Obama's push to tighten gun control. The rule eases legal barriers to submitting mental health information to the database.


Jackson looking to repeal concealed weapons ban

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The Jackson Town Council is considering repealing a decades-old law that bans concealed weapons including pistols knives, dirks, daggers and swords-in-canes.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide report that the potential change is part of an effort to update older parts of the municipal code to match state laws.

Council members who oppose changing that law, which dates back to the 1970s, say they don't like that the Wyoming Legislature is trying to diminish local control with the Wyoming Firearms Freedom Act.

The council approved the first two readings of the appeal. The repeal will be up for a third and final approval later this month.


Cheyenne man's probation revoked for choking girlfriend

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A Cheyenne man is heading to prison for choking his pregnant girlfriend in 2013.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that Nikko Johnson's probation was revoked Monday and he has been ordered to serve a sentenced of three to five years in prison.

Johnson had admitted to being kicked out of the Laramie County Drug Court program and was set to be sentenced for that violation on Dec. 14. He did not show up for that hearing.

Days later, he was arrested for a separate matter and charged with strangulation of a household member for choking his ex-girlfriend again on Dec. 18. She did not die from the assault.

The more recent charge is working through the court system.


Mills woman acknowledges stealing from fiddlers' association

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A Mills woman has acknowledged embezzling thousands of dollars from the Wyoming Fiddlers' Association.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Casey Whiteman pleaded guilty Thursday to one felony count of taking more than $10,000 from the group, for which she worked as treasurer for nearly a year. She was ordered to pay $10,400 in restitution, which she paid in December.

Prosecutors say Whiteman was hired as treasurer in September 2014 and started stealing money about a month later, after she was granted authorization to sign checks for the association.

Investigators say she told them she used the stolen money to pay bills, including rent, for child care, groceries and medical care.


Capitol renovation project could get tourism upgrade

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - State leaders are deciding whether to put additional funds into the State Capitol renovation project to make the national historic landmark more attractive to tourists.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the Capitol Building Oversight Group considered a plan Tuesday to include educational and interpretive features as part of the three-year project to overhaul the building. The project is estimated to cost $3.1 million.

The funds would be in addition to the $300 million already going into the Capitol Square Project, which includes renovations of the Capitol and nearby Herschler Building.

Tourism officials say the extra funds for a visitor center and multimedia and interactive exhibits would help bring more visitors to the Capitol.

The Wyoming Tourism Office estimates that 200,000 visitors tour the building each year.


Proposed policy for site hosting lawmakers limits protests

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - State lawmakers have decided to recommend a policy that puts restrictions on demonstrations and other citizen-led events at the Jonah Business Center, where legislators will meet while work is being done on the State Capitol.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that lawmakers voted in favor of the facility-use policy this week that sets guidelines for when and where events can take place at the private office building.

The draft of the policy cites "limited space availability and the rights of other tenants."

Lawmakers will meet at the temporarily facility for the next three sessions while construction continues on the Capitol building.

The State Building Commission is expected to decide whether to approve the proposed guidelines next week.


Plans for DKRW coal-to-liquid plant remain stalled

MEDICINE BOW, Wyo. (AP) - DKRW Advanced Fuels' plan for a southern Wyoming plant that would turn coal into gasoline and other liquid fuels remains stalled.

The Rawlins Daily Times reports the company says low oil prices make the project financially unachievable.

The company first proposed the $2 billion plant at Medicine Bow in Carbon County in 2004 but it has been plagued with delays and funding problems in recent years.

DKRW official William Gathmann says the company is not abandoning the plan. But he says it's unlikely the company will be able to meet the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council's June 18 deadline to submit a construction schedule and other filings.

The council's permit will expire if the company doesn't meet the deadline.