Bill seeks felony penalties for drugs near homeless shelters

By The Associated Press | Posted - Feb. 23, 2017 at 9:02 p.m.

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers have advanced a bill that would create stiffer penalties for people caught dealing drugs near homeless shelters.

The bill brought by Democratic Rep. Joel Briscoe makes drug-related crimes committed within 100 feet of a government-funded shelter a felony. It would add homeless facilities to a list of other places where Utah law imposes higher punishments for drug distribution, including schools, parks, libraries and churches.

The legislation was forwarded out of a House committee in a unanimous vote Wednesday but not without people voicing concerns.

Utah Sentencing Commission Director Jennifer Valencia says creating 100-foot buffer zones around homeless shelters could push drug dealers into neighborhoods.

Briscoe acknowledged the need to protect neighborhoods in a statement after the vote and said the goal was to target those who prey on the state's homeless population.

The bill now goes before the full House.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press


    Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast