From the Hill: Week six of the Legislative session

This upcoming week is the session's LAST. Thank goddess.

Rep. Karianne Lisonbee’s HB198 – which allows Utahns between the ages of 18 and 21 to conceal carry weapons – passed out of a Senate committee last week. Lisonbee said this bill would allow women on college campuses to defend themselves from rape. No one in the committee hearing explained how shooting alleged rapists would solve the problem of rapists not being prosecuted in the state.

HB141, sponsored by Rep. Keven Stratton, would require abortion providers to give what some medical professionals call medically information about “abortion reversal” before providing medical abortions. It now proceeds to the full Senate after passing out of committee in a four to one vote.

The House Education Committee decided to support Rep. Bradley Last’s HB418 which would provide $200,000 to reimburse school districts for humanoid robots to work with autistic children. The bill still needs approval from the full House this week before the Senate considers it.

Minority Leader Brian King’s HB384 passed out of committee this last week. The bill would remove a regulation requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital. A similar type of a statute was struck down by the Texas Supreme Court for creating an undue burden to abortion access.

Rep. Justin Fawson’s HB369 – which would criminalize folks who don’t disclose their HIV positive status before sexual conduct – passed out of the House in a 55 to 15 vote. Many critics of the bill contend that similar legislation during the HIV/AIDS hysteria period only discouraged people from testing and increased stigma. Only three Republicans voted against the bill.

Gov. Gary Herbert expressed support for an alcohol-reform bill that would provide bars and restaurants with options other than Utah’s “Zion Curtain.” He said the curtain doesn’t discourage underage drinking, however, no comment on whether implementing a so-called “Zion Moat”  in restaurants would discourage underage drinking.

On a similar note, Rep. Norman Thurston’s HB155, which would lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit from 0.08 to 0.05 passed out of a Senate committee this week.

Rep. Maloy’s HB259 – similar to the “Stand Your Ground” statute in the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman case – passed out of the House with a 53 to 15 vote. Critics say this type of legislation increases gun violence, especially against marginalized communities. Three Republicans voted against the legislation.

Sen. Todd Weiler’s SB185 – which would allow legal action against pornography production companies in circumstances where minors are injured by pornography – passed out of the Senate unanimously. The bill also found approval from the House Judiciary Committee and is due to be considered by the full House.