What are the Priority Areas for the ACLU of Utah in the 2023 Legislative Session?

Defending all Utahns' civil rights and liberties this legislative session means focusing on protecting the rights of transgender youth, preserving First Amendment rights, keeping Indigenous families together, defending reproductive freedom, protecting voting rights, and reducing mass incarceration.

The ACLU of Utah is fighting for the rights and freedoms of all Utahns during the 2023 legislative session. This year will require significant effort to defend against legislation that aims to roll back or curtail fundamental rights.

We have identified six priority areas that we believe are crucial to protecting Utahns’ rights and liberties, including:

1. Protecting Transgender Youth's Right to Care

Transgender youth deserve access to the care and medical treatments they need to thrive, without discrimination. Gender-affirming care is critical in helping transgender adolescents succeed in school, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, and live authentically as themselves. We will work to ensure that transgender youth in Utah have access to this care without discrimination.

2. Preserving First Amendment Rights in Utah's Schools

The ACLU of Utah is part of the Let Utah Read coalition, working to preserve First Amendment rights in Utah's schools. Literature is critical in preparing students for success in a complex world. However, there have been efforts here in Utah and nationwide to ban books containing important information about the human experience, condition, and development. We will work to ensure that students have access to appropriate content in literature and access to educational materials.

3. Keeping Indigenous Families Together

We will fight against policies and practices that threaten to tear Indigenous families apart and violate their rights to self-determination. We support the passing of a Utah version of the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which establishes basic requirements to protect Native American children from continued forced removal from their families, tribes, and tribal culture.

4. Defending Reproductive Freedom

We will fight for the right of Utahns to access abortions and other reproductive healthcare and ensure that individuals have the freedom to make their own decisions about their reproductive health.

5. Protecting the Right to Vote

Voting in a free and fair election is the cornerstone of democracy. We will work to protect the right to vote and ensure that all eligible voters can participate in the democratic process.

6. Reducing Mass Incarceration

We will address the systemic issues that lead to the over-representation of marginalized communities in the criminal legal system and work to reduce mass incarceration.

We can make Utah a more just and equitable state by working together. These six priorities are not the only issues we will be working on during this legislative session, but they are the most crucial in defending civil rights and liberties for all Utahns. We will continue to monitor and advocate for other civil rights and liberties issues that may arise during this session.