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Bill meant to repeal Utah’s death penalty fails to pass Utah House committee

The Utah Capitol Building sits under a cloudy sky. People are gathered on the steps for a protest.
Larry D. Curtis
The Utah Capitol Building on a cloudy day.

A bill meant to repeal Utah’s death penalty has failed to move forward within the Utah House committee after hours of discussion on Monday night.

HB-147’s primary goal was to prohibit the state from seeking the death penalty for all aggravated murders committed after May 4th, 2022. On top of this, the bill would have added a new life sentence of 45 years to life for aggravated murder, but the bill was kept out of the house floor by a 6-5 vote margin out of 11 total votes.

There were many heart wrenching public testimonies delivered to oppose the bill, primarily from families who were directly impacted by crimes committed by those on Utah’s death row. Many citizens, including Matt Hunsaker, opposed the bill because it could parole the ones responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.

Many Utah officials were split on the concept of this bill as many, including Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, spoke on behalf of the bill stating that going forward with it would result in providing hope to victims. Other officials such as the Utah Attorney General’s Office opposed the bill, stating that there is a clear reason why the death penalty exists in the first place.

Currently, there are seven inmates on Utah’s death row.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.