The Utah House passed a bill aimed at slowing down the distribution of illegal drugs near homeless shelters by bumping up penalties.
HB365 would enhance the charge for selling or distributing illegal drugs in or near homeless resource centers. The expected result — sending more people to jail and prison — sparked debate in a Legislature that in recent years has focused on decreasing sentences for drug crimes in favor of more treatment.
Several representatives expressed skepticism HB365 would help get illegal drugs off Salt Lake City streets.
Sponsor of the bill, Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, countered that while it would not resolve the problem, it was still a "piece to the puzzle."