Photo: Rep Stephen Sandstrom
HB 70 has been 10 months in the making and finally made it to the Utah House yesterday for a vote. Passing 58-15, even the sponsor was surprised by the strong support.
The final version leaving the house did undergo some changes though. The bill was amended on the floor to remove provisions under which private citizens could sue local police departments for not enforcing Sandstrom’s bill.
Last week Sandstrom also removed a provision. It was one that would require local police to investigate the legal statuses of those being questioned for class B or C misdemeanors. That change — simply changing “shall” to “may” check status — would drop the cost, estimated in a fiscal note, from a range between $5 million and $11 million to about $150,000 a year.
Tony Yapias, Proyecto Latino de Utah director, has called an emergency meeting for Sunday at Centro Civico to urge opponents of HB70 to sign the Utah Compact — a document endorsed by many who do not support Sandstrom bill. It attempts — point by point — to address the issue of illegal immigration by seeking federal solutions and keeping families together.
The Bill needs to pass the Senate and then it moves to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature, both of which are uncertain.