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2014 Utah General Legislative Session

18 February 2014 Published in Legislative Work

03 aclu03 gen2 capitol jpgHere are some of the issues and bills that the ACLU of Utah is tracking, and engaging on, during the 2014 Legislative Session.

During the Legislative Session, things move very rapidly. You can follow development of the bills we are tracking through this legislative tracking service. You may also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Criminal Justice/Fourth Amendment

Drones - The ACLU of Utah has been actively involved in the discussion around drone use in our state, including participating on the Governor’s Advisory Board on Unmanned Ariel Systems, to advocate for privacy protection. We are working with a legislator and other advocacy groups to advance legislation to regulate drone use in our state, particularly when used as a law enforcement tool.

SB 167 - "Regulation of Drones," sponsored by Sen. Howard A. Stephenson, establishes provisions for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by government entities.

HRC 3-"Concurrent Resolution on Unmanned Aircraft Systems," sponsored by Rep. Val L. Peterson, expresses support for the development of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, technologies, and businesses in the state of Utah.

No-knock warrant reform - All too often, the military-style tactics used by law enforcement result in harm to officers and their targets and family and friends. The ACLU of Utah has been working with legislators and advocacy groups to draft legislation to place greater limits on when “no-knock” warrants can be issued; thus reducing the potential for harm to those involved in warrant scenarios.

HB 70 - "Forcible Entry Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Marc K. Roberts, modifies the Utah Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the use of forcible entry by law enforcement officers when conducting a search or making an arrest. 

Marina Lowe, ACLU of Utah Legislative & Policy Counsel, testified in support of HB 70 - "Forcible Entry Amendments," on 2/10/14, in the House Judiciary Committee.

HB 50- "Involuntary Feeding and Hydration of Inmates Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Richard A. Greenwood, modifies the Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the authority of the Division of Juvenile Justice Services.

HB 65- "Criminal Law Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Craig Hall, modifies Title 76, Utah Criminal Code, regarding distributing intimate images of a person without that person's permission.

Warrantless administrative subpoenas - The use of warrantless administrative subpoenas by Utah law enforcement has been deeply troubling for the ACLU, since state law permitted their use several years ago. This concern is shared by various legislators and other groups, who are pushing for our current state law to be amended, and perhaps eventually, repealed entirely. Two bills this session add additional requirements to the use of administrative subpoenas, and will hopefully create a clearer record of how and when these subpoenas are being used.

SB 46 - "Administrative Subpoena Requirement Modifications," sponsored by Sen. Mark B. Madsen, changes the standard of proof required for the issuance of administrative subpoenas; amends the reporting provisions of administrative subpoenas used for the collection of electronic records in criminal investigations of specified crimes; and makes technical changes.

DNA collection - The ACLU has long protested the practice of taking DNA from individuals who are accused of committing, and not convicted, of a crime. Nonetheless, Utah and other states have enacted laws allowing for this practice. Current Utah law requires that DNA be collected from those accused of certain felonies. A lawmaker intends to introduce legislation to expand that class of individuals from whom DNA can be taken prior to conviction. The ACLU will continue to push back against this legislation.

HB 212 - "DNA Collection Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason. This bill: provides that law enforcement agencies may collect DNA samples at the time of booking for any person arrested for any felony offense beginning May 13, 2014 through December 31, 2014; and on and after January 1, 2015, requires law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples at the time of booking for any person arrested for any felony offense.

HB 58-"Bigamy Revisions," sponsored by Rep. Jerry B. Anderson, modifies the Criminal Code regarding the offense of bigamy.

HB 71-"Distribution of Inmate Images," sponsored by Rep. Marie H. Poulson, modifies Title 76, Utah Criminal Code, regarding distributing intimate images of a person without that person's permission.

SB 13-"Theft Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Daniel W. Thatcher, modifies Title 76, Utah Criminal Code, relating to the punishment for theft of property or services.

SB 112-"Game Fowl Fighting Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Gene Davis, amends provisions of the Utah Criminal Code relating to animal cruelty.

HB 100-"Illegal Immigration and Human Trafficking," sponsored by Rep. Richard A. Greenwood, modifies provisions regarding the Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Attorney General regarding the multi-agency criminal strike force.

SB 185-"Law Enforcement Transparency," sponsored by Rep. Deidre M. Henderson, modifies the Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the reporting of specified information by law enforcement agencies.

First Amendment

Religious Freedom - In the wake of Judge Robert Shelby’s historic decision overturning the ban on LGBT marriage in Utah, we are anticipating a fierce legislative backlash in the name of religious liberty. Two such bills have already emerged; both would reaffirm that a religious clergyperson cannot be forced to perform or recognize a marriage that is contrary to the tenets of his or her faith. To the extent that these bills restate the principles embodied in the First Amendment, we would offer our support. However, should these bills extend beyond the First Amendment, and seek to allow religion to be used to discriminate, we will necessarily oppose.

HB 231 - "Marriage Modifications," sponsored by Rep. Jacob L. Anderegg, affirms a clergy member's religious freedom to act within the confines of the member's religious organization.

HJR 1-"Joint Resolution on Religious Liberty,"sponsored by Rep. Jacob L. Anderegg, proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to enact a provision relating to the right of conscience and the free exercise of religion.

SB 151-"Religious Freedom Instruction Requirements," sponsored by Rep. Stuart C. Reid, provides for instruction in American history to include a study of religious freedom.


Nondiscrimination - We will continue to support our allies in promoting the passage of a bill requiring nondiscrimination in housing and employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Last year’s efforts were unprecedented; with the bill sponsored by a Republican Senator, it passed out of a committee for the first time ever. Hopefully, we can build on that success by passing the bill outright.

SB 100 - "Antidiscrimination Amendments," sponsored by Sen. Stephen H. Urquhart, modifies the Utah Antidiscrimination Act and the Utah Fair Housing Act to address discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

HB 90-"Women in the Economy Commission," sponsored by Rep. Jennifer M. Seelig, modifies the Utah Workforce Services Code to enact the Women in the Economy Commission Act.

HB 87-"Gender Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Michael S. Kennedy, defines "gender" for the Utah Code and amends and enacts provisions relating to gender.

HB 284-"Public Employee Health Care Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, modifies the Public Employees' Benefit and Insurance Program Act by amending provisions for covered individuals.

HB 78-"Marriage Defense Fund," sponsored by Rep. Merrill F. Nelson, creates the Marriage Defense Fund and provides for an income tax contribution to the Marriage Defense Fund.

Voting Rights/Participatory Democracy

Voting rights will play a prominent role up on Capitol Hill in 2014. The ACLU of Utah worked very closely with legislators and allies to advance Election Day Registration (EDR) during the 2013 session. While the bill narrowly failed to pass, we have been hard at work during the past year, meeting with legislators and county and state officials. We are confident that this will be the year that Utah passes EDR!
Unfortunately, other legislators are hard at work devising legislation to make voting more difficult. A bill has already been introduced for this session that would require proof of U.S. citizenship prior to voting. We will be working to assure that this unnecessary and harmful legislation does not advance.

HB 244 - "Voting and Voter Registration Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Jacob L. Anderegg, amends provisions of the Election Code and the Uniform Driver License Act relating to voting and voter registration.

HB 252-"Absentee Ballot Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Jim Bird, amends provisions relating to elections conducted entirely by absentee ballot.

SB 36-"Voter Information Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Karen Mayne, amends provisions of the Election Code in relation to disclosure of, and the use of, the list of registered voters and information from the list of registered voters.

SB 146-"Government Ethics Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Stuart C. Reid, amends provisions of the Election Code and the Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act.

SB 97-"Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act," sponsored by Rep. Todd Weiler, amends Title 36, Chapter 11, Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act.

SJR 3-"Joint Resolution Regarding Attorney General," sponsored by Rep. Todd Weiler, proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to modify provisions relating to the Attorney General.

SB 169-"Public Meetings Materials Requirements,"sponsored by Rep. Deidre M. Henderson, modifies a provision of the Open and Public Meetings Act.

SJR 11-"Joint Rules Resolution On Bill Numbering,"sponsored by Rep. John L. Valentine, modifies provisions relating to numbering legislation.

HB 242-"Fees For Government Records Request," sponsored by Rep. Brian S. King, modifies provisions of the Government Records Access and Management Act relating to fees charged for record requests.

Other Relevant Legislation

HB 101-"Roadway and Sidewalk Safety Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Jim Nielson, amends provisions relating to safety on roadways and sidewalks.

HB 105-"Plant Extraction Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer, amends provisions of the Controlled Substances Act and the Utah Health Code related to hemp extract.

HB 346-"Foster Children Amendments," sponsored by Rep. Johnny Anderson, enacts provisions related to normalizing the life of a child in state custody.

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