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AM News Brief: Juvenile Justice, Human Trafficking Law & Wildfire Breaks

A photo of a bulldozer plowing a fire break in a forest. Flames and smoke are visible in the background.
Wikimedia Commons
The Bureau of Land Management is now planning to create 11,000 miles of fire breaks in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah in an effort to help control wildfires.

Monday morning, Feb. 17, 2020

State

Prosecuting Children

Children under 12 could be shielded from prosecution under a bill moving through the Utah Legislature. Instead of being jailed, kids under 12 would be assigned a treatment plan. That could include things like paying restitution, doing community service and undergoing substance abuse treatment. Kids accused of violent crimes like murder and aggravated kidnapping, however, could still be prosecuted. During a hearing on Friday, lawmakers in the House Judiciary committee decided to hold the bill, planning to take it up again this week. — Sonja Hutson

Updating Human Trafficking Laws

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand the definition of “sex offender.” The bill passed unanimously in a house committee meeting Friday. It would amend the definition of sex offender to include people convicted of sex trafficking. The bill would also mandate human trafficking training for law enforcement, which would accompany the sexual assault training that officers already receive. It will now head to the House Floor for a second reading. — Jessica Lowell

Northern Utah

Police Found Justified In Use Of Deadly Force

The Salt Lake County District Attorney has found 15 law enforcement officers were justified in firing nearly 200 shots at a man following a pursuit prompted by several robberies and random gunfire. Harold Vincent Robinson died in April 2019 when he was shot after his pickup truck crashed into a business. District Attorney Sim Gill found that 10 Salt Lake police officers, three Utah Highway Patrol troopers and two other officers were legally justified in their use of deadly force. Robinson fired about 50 shots during an incident that began with the robbery of two convenience stores and included firing shots at buildings and police cars throughout the city. — Associated Press

Region

Wildfire Fuel Breaks

The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to fund 11,000 miles of strategic fuel breaks throughout the West — including in Utah — in an effort to help control wildfires. The Oregonian reports that wildfires are becoming bigger and more frequent across the Great Basin states. Between 2009 and 2018, more than 13.5 million acres of BLM land burned in the project area. Some scientists debate the costs and effectiveness of fuel breaks. — Associated Press

Health Insurance And Fertility Treatment

Colorado is considering a new bill that would require private health insurance companies in the state to cover in vitro fertilization — or IVF — for patients struggling with infertility. It would become the most comprehensive coverage for infertility in our region. Some argue the bill could raise the cost of insurance premiums for many Coloradans. According to the CDC, about 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. — Ali Budner, Mountain West News Bureau

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