Protections for Vulnerable Citizens

Protections for Vulnerable Citizens

I feel strongly that the legislative body of our state is responsible to enact legislation that protects our vulnerable citizens. Children, the elderly, victims of domestic abuse and stalking, all deserve adequate access to police and other resources and protections afforded them under the law from those who would take advantage of and harm. During my legislative service, I have sponsored legislation aimed specifically at protecting those most at risk:

  • Co-sponsored SB134 Campus Safety Amendments which requires higher ed campuses to provide safer environments for students and also give victims access to enhanced assistance and services. We need to provide safe campuses at our state sponsored institutions of higher learning to ensure that students have a safe environment, where crimes are taken seriously by campus police departments, and victimized students are advocated for, and given access to resources to help and support them.
  • Sponsored HB17 Offenses Against the Person Amendment that changed the offense of strangulation to a felony. Many domestic violence assaults include attempted strangulation which has the potential to cause long-lasting negative effects such as brain damage, and even death. A loophole in the law needed to be closed to better protect domestic violence victims from their abusers and HB17 successfully did that by elevating strangulation to the more appropriate felony classification. Endorsed by law enforcement, prosecutors and victim advocate groups across the state.
  • Sponsored HB403 Protective order amendments which provides better protection for victims of domestic abuse, dating and sexual violence. Additionally, I added provisions that shield children from their abusers by extending the time allowed under a stalking injunction, increasing it from 150 days to the time when the child victim turns 18. The bill also makes protective orders easier for victims of domestic violence to obtain and expands the availability of protective orders to victims of dating violence, even if they have not been intimate with the abuser. Endorsed by law enforcement, prosecutors and victim advocate groups across the state.
  • Sponsored Uniform Power of Attorney Act for Utah, which provided additional protections for vulnerable senior adults granting powers of attorney over their property by prohibiting commercial caregivers from being named as agents to oversee the estate of the senior adult. Also provides additional protections from those who would exercise undue influence with the intent to defraud senior citizens. Endorsed by AARP.
  • Sponsored HB 6001 which provided for changes to the law governing the witnessing of wills in the state of Utah. COVID-19 conditions have limited or restricted the ability of visitors to enter hospitals and senior care centers, making it impossible for elderly or other ill patients to finalize a legal will without the attendance of witnesses. This bill made it possible for wills to be witnesses electronically, giving people the option to make final decisions about their estate and affairs, even when confined under restrictive conditions. Endorsed by the AARP.

These bills as well as juvenile justice reform and other legislative bills I have sponsored and supported are evidence of my commitment to protect the vulnerable citizens of our state including children, the elderly and those victimized by criminals and abusers.