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Senate committee advances suicide prevention bill

Published: Friday, Feb. 14 2014 6:01 p.m. MST

Jordan Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A House panel on Friday signed off on a bill that would give more teeth to the state's suicide prevention efforts.

Rep. Steven Eliason, R-Sandy, described HB329 as a "cleanup bill" to legislation he sponsored last year, which created the position of youth suicide prevention coordinator at the Utah State Office of Education but stopped short of establishing a budget for suicide prevention programming.

The bill "establishes a very small budget" of $159,000, Eliason said, and provides additional direction for suicide prevention seminars conducted by the state's school districts.

State Superintendent Martell Menlove spoke in favor of the bill. He said the Legislature's recent suicide prevention efforts — which include several bills sponsored by Eliason — have had an impact that is impossible to calculate.

"I’m convinced, personally, that these seminars are saving the lives of some young people in our state," Menlove said.

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