Lowry Snow’s legislative legacy includes juvenile justice reform, inmate education

Written by Stan Rasmussen

March 7, 2023

Originally published in St. George News.

Though serving in public office can be a thankless job, it is important to recognize elected leaders who exemplify commitment to principle and exercise strong character and whose legacy of service lays the foundation for a better future.

V. Lowry Snow is a public servant deserving of that recognition, and in view of his decade of service in the Utah House of Representatives, it’s worth pausing to highlight some of the ways our state is stronger because of his service.

Among Snow’s legacies is his leadership in juvenile justice reform. Among the more challenging areas of public policy, juvenile justice must balance recognition of mistakes while helping young Utahns learn from them to lead better lives.

As a member of the Utah Juvenile Justice Working Group, Snow crafted data-driven solutions to meet three goals: promote public safety and hold juvenile offenders accountable, control costs and improve recidivism and other outcomes for youth, families and communities.

As chief sponsor of HB 239, Snow championed the 2017 bill implementing the working group’s recommendations that provide youth in the juvenile justice system with greater access to early interventions and pre-court diversions – assisting families struggling to find the right avenue to help their children rectify offenses and avoid future crimes. Grounded in his belief that education is key to reducing recidivism, he later successfully ran legislation creating a program that allows these youth to take college courses.

Recognizing how important it is that all young Utahns become civically informed and engaged citizens who are prepared to work and serve in their communities, Snow successfully led efforts to enact legislation that emphasizes the importance of and enhances civic education.

As a leader in education policy, he also sponsored legislation that improves academic outcomes for students in kindergartenstrengthens coordination among services for early childhood health and development and provides financial support to impoverished adult learners to receive training to work in high-demand industries. Snow also guided efforts that created Utah’s first oversight body to coordinate and facilitate delivery of higher education programs to adult inmates.

Snow constructively impacted many other issues during his service, including the expansion of the Veterans Treatment Court to the entire state and the creation of the Point of the Mountain State Land Authority, which is one of Utah’s most important economic development projects.

No list of legislative accomplishments can be exhaustive when describing a decade of service. But Utahns should take note of the consistent theme of Snow’s focus: creating an environment where every person, no matter their circumstance, has the opportunity to succeed.

It is for these reasons that Sutherland Institute has chosen to recognize Snow as a recipient of the George A. Sutherland Award at our upcoming annual Gala on March 23.

Snow’s contributions to the legal profession as founding partner of Snow Jensen & Reece in St. George, as well as his influence in business and the Southern Utah community, are deserving of more praise than can fit here.

As Utah’s Legislature was in session for the first time in a decade without Snow in the chamber, the lasting positive difference he made during his tenure will be remembered.

We invite all Utahns to join us in recognizing his commitment to principle and sound policy and to strengthening the institutions of civil society upon which Utah’s success relies. The next generation of leaders in our state and nation have much to emulate in Snow’s example.

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