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West Jordan Passes Hate Crimes Resolution

Julia Ritchey / KUER
A woman holds up a picture of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman killed after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., in August.

West Jordan City Council has passed a resolution urging the state to stiffen penalties for those who commit hate crimes.

The council approved the resolution in a 5-2 vote this week. The idea came from Republican state Sen. Daniel Thatcher of West Valley City.

He’s been pushing for two years for stricter penalties to be added to the state’s criminal code for crimes targeting a person based on his or her race, religion or sexual orientation.

In an interview last month, Thatcher said he thinks in light of recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., and elsewhere in the country, lawmakers may finally be coming around to passing a hate crimes bill.

“So this year I do believe momentum is building," he said. "I’ve continued working on my colleagues over the interim, and I believe I’m up to 18 votes now.”

Thatcher said he hopes to get other cities around the valley to adopt similar resolutions to increase pressure on the legislature.


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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