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Utah lawmakers to discuss whether a child under 12 can be criminally prosecuted

Utah state Capitol building Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the House Judiciary Committee will be taking up the topic of when is someone is too young to be charged with a crime as the Legislature continues its 2020 session Wednesday.

HB262 modifies the definition of a youth offender and prohibits the prosecution of an individual for offenses that occurred before the child was 12 years old, with some exceptions.

In another criminal code matter, the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee is hearing HB171, which creates the crime of threats against schools. The bill would also codify that a threat against a school can be real or a hoax. If the person making the threat is a juvenile, it reduces the degree of the crime and requires that the minor undergo a mental health assessment.

Other bills of note in committees:

• Members of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee will also discuss HB282, which requires the Bureau of Criminal Identification to create a process and forms to allow a non-restricted person to voluntarily become a restricted person and be unable to buy a firearm. It allows the person to request removal after 30 days and requires the law enforcement agency and bureau to destroy all records after a person is removed from the voluntary restricted list.

• The Senate Health and Human Services Committee HB97 is scheduled to take up changes to Utah’s newborn safe haven law that passed the House on Feb. 12 on a 72-0 vote. Among other things, the bill extends the time that a mother can relinquish her child from three days to within 30 days of birth.

• Members of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee are taking up HCR12, a concurrent resolution that encourages the State Board of Education and local education boards to provide Holocaust and genocide education.

• Members of the House Transportation Committee will consider HB182, which requires vehicles subject to an emissions inspection also be inspected for compliance with noise suppression equipment requirements and imposes fines for not having an approved muffler.