Supporters of prison move will try again to sway lawmakers

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 7 2015 4:26 p.m. MDT

Utah State Prison in Draper on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Utah State Prison in Draper on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Supporters of relocating the Utah State Prison from Draper to free up the nearly 700-acre site for development will try again next week to win support from lawmakers.

On Thursday, members the House GOP caucus balked at backing a resolution calling for the move, asking for more time to study a consultant's report prepared for the state's Prison Relocation and Development Authority.

The caucus will take up the issue again Tuesday, said House Majority Leader Brad Dee, R-Ogden, the same day Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, a member of the authority, will make presentations to the Senate GOP and Democratic caucuses.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said the Senate had not yet discussed the recommendations, but “the information we're getting is pretty favorable.”

Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, also a member of the authority, is drafting the resolution supporting the move. The authority voted Wednesday to recommend lawmakers start work on relocating the prison to a site yet to be named.

Wilson said he is not discouraged by the House GOP's lack of action so far.

"I have to remember I've been living this," he said. "But we do have a tendency to overcomplicate things at times."

Also Thursday, another member of the authority, Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, was granted permission by the House to open a new bill file related to the prison project.

Hutchings said he is seeking funding to reimburse county jails in the state to house as many as an additional 400 prisoners, part of the authority's recommendations, along with expanding the state prison in Gunnison.

"It's starting," he said of the authority's intent to relocate the Draper facility. "We weren't kidding."

Contributing: Marjorie Cortez

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com Twitter: DNewsPolitics

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company