Utah House Speaker: Wait on bill to move prison

Published March 6, 2013 4:09 pm
Project • Lockhart says she would prefer to delay the decision.
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House Speaker Becky Lockhart said Wednesday she would like the see the Legislature wait to pass legislation dealing with whether to move the Utah prison from its Draper location, putting off decisions until a potential special session.

"I personally have some concerns about how, in my estimation, this has gone rather rapidly," said Lockhart, R-Provo. "The Senate has had this piece of legislation for quite a while. They've been going over and over it. … The House has yet to see it."

"I am personally concerned about the amount of time that is left in the session to make a decision," she said.

After weeks of haggling, the Senate finally passed the fourth version of SB72 Tuesday evening with little floor debate. The new bill creates an 11-member committee to delve into the issues surrounding building a new prison and disposing of the 600-plus acres where the current prison stands. It allows interested parties to submit proposals not only on rebuilding the prison in a new location, but operating the prison.

It does not give the committee the authority to enter into any contracts to pursue the prison project.

Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, said he would still like to see the bill make it through the Legislature this session and emphasized the bill does not pre-suppose that the prison would be moved.

"This tells them as a committee to go out and dig into this. … This isn't a slam dunk," Jenkins said. "This is another phase of the study process."

Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, the House sponsor of the legislation, said he is still working on the bill.

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