CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A legislative committee has endorsed a bill that would allow searches for University of Wyoming and state community college presidents to be closed to the public.

The House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee voted 9-0 Monday to send House Bill 223 to the floor for debate.

The panel heard more than an hour of testimony on the measure. The bill was proposed after media outlets in the state protested the decision by the UW Board of Trustees to hold a secret search for a new president to replace retiring President Tom Buchanan.

Proponents of the bill argue the university could attract more quality candidates than if the search were done in the open. Opponents contend an open process when considering finalists can be helpful in making the right choice.