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Utah Legislature: Senate inches ahead on foreign donor disclosure bill

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers want to know if there is an ongoing conspiracy behind colleges and universities receiving gifts from foreign organizations and individuals before they pass an unnecessary law.

Sen. Stephen H. Urquhart, R-St. George, kept his no vote, along with Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake, asking why it matters where schools are getting their money.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, upheld (HB114 ) in the Senate on Thursday, which would require donations of $50,000 or more to Utah institutions to be fully disclosed to the state's Board of Regents in order to avoid any unforeseen "influence" on curriculum or programs. He said "the American people have the right to know" who is playing their hands in higher education.

"Until there is transparency, there's no way anyone would know if there has been any influence," Stephenson said.

The bill, which awaits a final Senate vote, passed in the House with a 56-16.

— Wendy Leonard