Posted on Dec 31st 2023
Elected lawmakers in Salt Lake City recently went through hundreds of bills, several of which deal with the criminal justice system. There were many changes to laws pertaining to crimes involving children, and we’re here to highlight a few important ones:
An important bill that was passed by Senate Minority Whip Kathleen Riebe outlines that, “children who are detained and questioned by police will be advised of their rights.” Additionally, there are now some limitations in place of how long a child is allowed to be detained for questioning by police. With that, another bill was passed to require courts and police to effectively communicate with schools about children being detained and if they were involved in serious crimes.
Another relevant bill that was passed was approved by House Minority Leader Angela Romero, working towards integrating more rape crisis and sexual assault counseling services. This bill aims to expand and improve these services provided across the community.
In terms of child custody laws, moving forward, AMBER Alerts will not be issued for child custody disputes or runaways, unless it is evident to the Utah Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation that the child’s life is in danger. After a bill passed by Rep. Jon Hawkins, it is now a crime for a parent without custody or visitation rights to interfere with the custody of that child.
In order to improve the safety of our youth and community, access to areas such as playgrounds, parks, and swimming pools have been increasingly restricted for convicted sex offenders through a bill passed by Rep. Cory Maloy. Additionally, repeat sex offenders are now penalized to a greater extent due to a bill passed by Rep. Brady Brammer.
There were a handful of bills that were faced with controversy and pushback from several parties. A bill that was passed called for allowing criminal defendants back into the home after domestic violence situations, as long as they are escorted by police. Lastly, some bills that were pushing to require clergy to report confessions of child abuse to law enforcement were not moved forward.
It is important for our community to stay informed and up to date with the laws in Salt Lake County and to do our best to be advocates for children, their safety, and their rights. The Friends continuously work towards providing a safe environment for our youth, and you can help support this work by donating today.
Winslow, Ben. “What the 2023 Utah legislature did to your life.”Fox13 Salt Lake City. 3 Mar 2023. https://www.fox13now.com/news/local-news/what-the-2023-utah-legislature-did-to-your-life