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Utah House, Senate Pass Bill To Ban Knee-Holds By Police

Utah House of Representatives

On Thursday morning, the Legislature convened for its fifth special session this year. In fact, it’s the longest list of bills in Utah’s history, that lawmakers have considered during a special session.

House Speaker Brad Wilson called the session to order and appealed for unity.  

“The next two days, regardless of party, need to be about policy, not about politics at all,” said Wilson. “We are all on the same team, we are on team Utah.”

Both the House and Senate passed a measure that would allow school districts to use property taxes to pay for modifications needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Then, the House considered bill that would ban knee-holds by police officers. It also bars the Police Academy from training chokeholds and other forms of restraints. Rep. Carl Albrecht voiced his opposition.

“I don’t think we’re doing anything in Utah, or law enforcement, that’s been out of line,” said Albrecht. “I just don’t think we need to force a law, let’s let the law enforcement arena take care of that.”

The legislators had a lively discussion about how to prosecute officers who broke the law, and many voiced their support of the measure.

“This is just a down payment for them to say, we hear you, we want you a part of our community, and we’re going to make sure that you feel safe,” said Rep. Sandra Hollins, the bill’s sponsor.

The bill passed with an overwhelming majority in the House and unanimously in the Senate. It now heads to the governor for approval. Later during the special session, the Senate will vote on a plan to amend the state’s budget to account for a COVID-19 related shortfall.