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Bail reform becomes legislative spotlight in Utah once again

A bid to raise minimum wage in Utah is being put on hold. (PHOTO: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill says a bail reform measure passed in the 2020 legislative session is doing what sponsors said it would do–and that there isn’t a need to repeal it.

According to the Deseret News, H.B.206 required a judge to release people accused of low-level crimes by using the least restrictive condition appropriate for their case. 

And that’s what’s happening according to Gill, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, and Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings.

RELATED: American Bail Coalition director: It’s time for system reform

All three say the bail reform law is mostly doing what it was meant to do — keeping dangerous offenders in jail while allowing people facing less serious charges to get out.

It has only been in effect since October 2020.

Those opposed to H.B.206 say last year’s bill isn’t working. A replacement bill H.B.220, sponsored by House Majority Whip Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, would repeal most of H.B.206.

According to the Deseret News, Shultz says H.B.206 is “broken on all sides. It is holding people it shouldn’t, and it is releasing people it shouldn’t.”H.B.220 passed the House last week and moved on to the state Senate.