Summarized by Kent Larsen
Utah Senate Votes To Fight Polygamy
Associated Press 23Feb00 N5
By Paul Foy: Associated Press writer
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Utah Senate approved a bill Tuesday meant
to assist the prosecution of crimes in polygamous groups. The 27-1
vote signals a strong commitment to stop abuses among polygamists in
the wake of last year's Kingston child abuse trial. However, the bill
may still be a long way from becoming law since the Utah House turned
down a similar measure last month.
The bill appropriates $250,000 for prosecution of abuse and fraud
among polygamists and gives an additional $250,000 for a polygamy hot
line and emergency shelter for victims of the practice. Last year's
Kingston trial focused much attention on polygamy, leading national
news and entertainment outlets to continue their coverage of the
practice since then.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Ron Allen, who says that the crimes
addressed by the bill "go to the heart and soul of human rights.
Certainly it is to our advantage to deal with these issues we have
put off so long before the Olympics.'' Senate Minority Leader Scott
Howell, a Democrat, said the secretive nature of polygamous societies
makes special investigations necessary. "You need an expert to get at
the heart of this terrible evil, where there are no civil rights,
just dominance. Under this bill, we can only go after the abuses and
Polygamy itself, while a crime under Utah law, has not been
prosecuted since the disastrous 1954 Short Creek raid, in which
families were torn apart, creating a public relations nightmare for
Utah and Arizona, the states behind the raid.