The House approved a bill that would make sweeping changes in the organization and jurisdiction of Utah courts, by a vote of 58-10.
HB436 would merge circuit and district courts into a single trial court system and alter the role of justice courts - the former justice-of-the-peace system.The sponsor, Rep. John Valentine, R-Orem, said the bill would grant justice court exclusive jurisdiction of class B traffic misdemeanors and lesser offenses.
Also, the bill would grant city attorneys authority to prosecute state misdemeanors and divide misdemeanor fines evenly between the court and prosecutor.
Valentine said the bill would allow district court judges the option of recording court proceedings on videotape or employing court reporters.
The bill, the product of a two-year task force and six months of interim study, was forwarded to the Senate.