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Bill allowing 14-year-olds to tell court which parent they want to live with goes to governor

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14 2013 2:56 p.m. MST

People walk between the West and the East Building (pictured) of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 19, 2007. Steam rises from a pond between the buildings. A Senate bill lowering the age from 16 to 14 at which a child can express a preference about which parent they want to live with in custody proceedings passed the House Thursday.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Senate bill lowering the age from 16 to 14 at which a child can express a preference about which parent they want to live with in custody proceedings passed the House on Thursday and now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his action.

The House approved SB18, sponsored by Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, 69-0. The bill passed the Senate after being amended to spell out that the child's position would not be the "single controlling factor" in the court's decision.

House Majority Whip Greg Hughes, R-Draper, voted for the bill but said lawmakers need to be careful about what they're asking of children.

"These are weighty matters," Hughes said. 

The bill's House sponsor, Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, said the legislation is needed because the judicial process moves slowly and a decision may not be made on a case that begins when a child is 14 for a year or more.

Lisa Riley Roche, Twitter: dnewspolitics

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