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Senate committee kills human trafficking bill

FILE — House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, addresses legislators in the House of Representatives on the first day of the Utah Legislature at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. On the heels of a vote by the Utah Senate to repeal the s
FILE — House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, addresses legislators in the House of Representatives on the first day of the Utah Legislature at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. On the heels of a vote by the Utah Senate to repeal the state's death penalty law, a Senate committee killed a bill Thursday that would have allowed the state to execute someone convicted of human trafficking if the victim dies because of the crime.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A Senate committee gutted and then killed a bill that would have allowed the state to seek the death penalty for someone convicted of human trafficking if the victim later died because of the crime.

The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted 2-5 Thursday afternoon to reject HB136, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield.

Committee member Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, amended the bill to remove language that would make it a capital crime if a trafficker recklessly disregards the victim's life or intentionally kills the victim.

Urquhart is the sponsor of legislation to do away with the death penalty in Utah, which was narrowly approved by the Senate earlier this week. HB136 runs counter to the will of the Senate, he said.

After Urquhart's amendment, Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, questioned the need for the bill after the death penalty language was striken.

"It takes it up to an aggravated" offense, Ray said, which means there could be enhanced penalties.

The bill had passed in the House by a vote of 44-28.