SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — State lawmakers have agreed to spend more than $1 million on enhanced security measures at the Utah State Capitol.
Protecting the Utah Capitol
Close to an hour into the scheduled “rally” at the capitol. Still only 20-30 people on the front lawn. Meanwhile, there’s probably the same number of these vehicles on-site. pic.twitter.com/WNCX4eRM6K
— John Wojcik (@wojKSL) January 17, 2021
“It’s becoming more important for us to focus on the issue of security around our Capitol, around our elected officials and even around our staff,” explained floor sponsor Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy.
The bill would specifically expand the security responsibilities of the Utah Department of Public Safety. It gives Utah DPS the power to “assess, monitor and address any threat to a public official, a public official’s staff member or any part of the Capitol Hill complex.”
It also could include protection for a governor-elect and their immediate family, if needed.
“Once in a while we do things that make people mad and sometimes we make people mad enough that they make threats toward us,” Spendlove said.
According to the bill’s text, there needs to be a “demonstrable need or a specifically identified threat” to a person or the Capitol complex for extra security measures, training or people to be put into action.
On to Governor Cox
Not everyone is on board though, with some lawmakers criticizing the bill’s purpose.
“I think there’s a balance here between safety, which is always paramount, but also providing levels of protection that we don’t equally distribute among our high-ranking elected officials,” said Rep. Casey Snider, R-Paradise.
Despite some backlash, the measure still passed the House on a 48-20 vote. The bill now goes to Gov. Spencer Cox for his signature or veto.
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