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Utah Senate approves bill to require regents to study campus safety, report to Legislature

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The Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate gave final approval to a bill that would require the Utah State Board of Regents to study public safety activities on state college campuses, give recommendations for improvements and report findings to the Legislature.  

SB80 had already flown through both the House 69-1 and the Senate 26-1 on the third reading — Friday’s vote was to approve an amendment introduced in a House committee, which Senate lawmakers pushed through 27-1.

The bill would bring a number of organizations such as the Utah System of Technical Colleges, the Utah Department of Heath, the Utah Office for Victims of Crime, local districts that provide 911 and emergency dispatch service, local law enforcement agencies, and more together to coordinate with the board of regents in their efforts.

The bill would also require the board to present their final report to the Legislature based off their study which would focus on issues like policies and practices for hiring, supervision and dismissal of campus law enforcement officers, and campus law enforcement training.

The bill’s sponsor, Senate Minority Assistant Whip Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay, said the legislation came back to the Senate for final approval because of a House amendment that added a coordinating clause to go with Sen. Ann Millner’s SB111, which would rename the State Board of Regents as the Utah Board of Higher Education.

SB80 builds upon requirements implemented in SB134 — a bill that passed during the 2019 Legislative session in the wake of the on-campus murder of University of Utah student athlete Lauren McCluskey in 2018.