Sutherland Newsletter – February 21, 2008

1.Children and Vulnerable Adults Protected Under HB 315

On Tuesday, February 5, HB 315: Child and Vulnerable Adult Endangerment Provisions passed the House with a unanimous vote.  The Sutherland Institute has spent several months working with Representative Mike Morley, the bill sponsor.  The bill amends Utah Criminal Code provisions relating to endangerment of a child or a vulnerable adult.  It protects innocent people while prosecuting those who would endanger children.  HB 315 now heads to the Senate.


2.Increasing Transparency in Government Finance

Second Substitute SB 38: Transparency in Government Finance passed the Senate and is now in the House for consideration.  This bill would add a new dimension of accountability for the State of Utah by requiring that government financial information be published online.



Opponents to SB 38 often argue that the government is sufficiently transparent and further transparency will be too costly.  The reality of the situation, however, is otherwise.


Current policy efforts to increase transparency in government finance raise questions about practicality, timeliness, and efficiency, even though Utah is far from being transparent in any practical sense.  Also, the costs of SB 38 are often overstated because savings that will be realized through increased transparency.  Learn more about Sutherland’s position on transparency, by clicking on “Policy Reports” under the “Publications” drop-down menu on the Sutherland website.  Two Sutherland Policy Briefs on this issue are located below the “Limited Government” file folder.  Or, you may simply click on Why Transparency? and How Much Will Transparency Cost?


3.Sutherland Supported Bills are Gaining Ground

With less than two weeks left in the 2008 legislative session, the Sutherland Institute is working hard to make sure its legislative priorities successfully make their way through the process.

HB 256: Criminal Penalties Amendments — Including Jessica’s Law is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.  This bill, which would increase the penalties for heinous child sex offenses, unanimously passed the House and the Senate.

HB 33: Waivers of Immunity — Exceptions would help protect families from wrongful intrusion while allowing government workers to do their job of protecting children from abuse.  This bill is on the Senate Third Reading Calendar after a successful vote on the Second Reading Calendar on Wednesday, February 20.  It would create a vital exception to the standard immunity granted to government employees if they intentionally or knowingly engage in malicious conduct, especially in child welfare matters.

SB 242: Law Enforcement Tracking of Domestic Violence Statistics was unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee with a favorable recommendation on February 18.  This bill requires law enforcement officers to gather information about the marital status of those involved in domestic violence incidents, and record whether or not an arrest was made.