A Senate panel tabled a bill that would provide penalties against a custodial parent who interferes with the former spouse's child-visitation rights.

Members of the Senate Social Services Standing Committee stopped SB132, sponsored by Sen. Lyle W. Hillyard, R-Logan, following heated testimony from the audience.Under the bill, a parent who denies visitation rights could be held in contempt of court and forced to spend 24 hours in jail. During that time, the children would be cared for by the non-custodial parent or a babysitter paid for by the jailed parent.

"This bill sends a clear statement to the custodial parent to stop playing games," Hillyard said.

"I feel like it's sending in a Sherman tank to deal with the problem," said Roz McGee of a group called Utah Children. "It creates a further adversarial atmosphere between people who already could not work things out in marriage, much less in divorce."

Arnold Gardner, director of Legal Aid, said the bill was unnecessary and potentially harmful.