So-called "ecoterrorists" who commit crimes against the agriculture, mining and timber industries would be subject to enhanced penalties under a bill that passed the Utah House Thursday.
After nearly an hour of debate that included at least three attempts to amend the bill on the House floor, the bill passed by only three votes.Republicans and Democrats alike attempted to alter HB206, noting similar offenses against other business interests or governmental agencies would not carry similar penalties.
Anyone guilty of conspiring with or soliciting others to commit acts of ecoterrorism would be subject to enhanced criminal penalties as well.
Rep. Ralph Becker, D-Salt Lake City, said he feared that young people, among them the daughter of a family friend, who stage demonstrations or other nonviolent acts of civil disobedience could be subject to stiff penalties.
"Under this legislation, it's possible her entire future could be ruined," Becker said. He attempted to amend the bill to limit the penalties to violent offenses, but the amendment failed.