Standard-Examiner

Bill requiring Utah jails to report in-custody deaths passes House, Senate

Wednesday , March 07, 2018 - 12:59 PM

The Utah State Capitol is shown Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Salt Lake City. Utah lawmakers are using their last two days of the legislative session to finalize a $16.7 billion budget plan that includes $10 million to help tackle homelessness and $8.5 million to get the state's Winter Olympics facilities ready to bid for the games again. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rick Bowmer

The Utah State Capitol is shown Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Salt Lake City. Utah lawmakers are using their last two days of the legislative session to finalize a $16.7 billion budget plan that includes $10 million to help tackle homelessness and $8.5 million to get the state's Winter Olympics facilities ready to bid for the games again. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would require Utah jails to report deaths is on its way to the governor’s office after unanimously passing both the House and Senate Wednesday. 

Senate Bill 205 was sent to Gov. Gary Herbert’s office Thursday morning. The bill passed a House vote 70-0 just after 6 p.m. Wednesday. Two hours later, the Senate voted 28-0 to pass the legislation. 

After being signed by the heads of both chambers, the bill was sent to Herbert’s office.

SB 205 would require county jails and state prisons to submit annual reports to the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. The reports are to detail deaths behind bars, their causes, plus jails’ policies addressing how inmates suffering from opioid addiction or withdrawal are handled.

Jail deaths reporting bill passes Utah Senate, moves on to House

The bill would also require jails to report deaths of inmates that are being taken to a hospital or receiving care outside of a county jail. 

Just before SB 205 passed in both legislative chambers, it absorbed House Bill 410.

HB 410 aimed to require the Utah Substance Use and Mental Health Advisory Council to study substance abuse in county jails and report all findings to the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee.

HB 410’s sponsor, Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Salt Lake City, said in an email Wednesday conjoining the two pieces of legislation leaves “the best of both bills.” 

With the Senate bill’s passage, the only step left will be for Herbert to sign it into law.

Contact reporter Jacob Scholl at jscholl@standard.net or follow him on Twitter @Jacob_Scholl.