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Nonviolent felons would be able to get help from the Utah Legislature to attend a technical school under a bill unanimously approved Wednesday by the House.

SALT LAKE CITY — Nonviolent felons would be able to get help from the Utah Legislature to attend a technical school under a bill unanimously approved Wednesday by the House.

Rep. Val Potter, R-North Logan, said the pilot program created by HB106 will help prepare people in the justice system for a career, not just a job interview.

The grant program would be run by an attorney working very closely with the judicial system to pick candidates who "have a chance, have a GED and can prepare for a career," Potter said.

Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, rose in enthusiastic support of the bill, saying if people in the criminal justice system don't have a basic education or a way to support themselves, "they never get out. We know that. There's no question about that."

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Hutchings praised the legislation as "one of the most unique, forward-thinking redirections (or) early interventions that I've ever seen."

Rep. Derrin Owens, R-Fountain Green, said if youths would just attend 90 percent of their classes, and if their parents stay involved, they wouldn't end up in jail.

"But this puts the arms around them. It puts the attorney in place that can also be a counselor, and helps guarantee success," Owens said.

The House passed the bill 68-0. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.