SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the House voted Tuesday against a bill to require someone with personal knowledge of a serious bodily injury or emergency to call 911 with a vote of 26-44.
House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, is the sponsor for HB170. He presented similar legislation last year, which also failed in the House. King said the bill is meant to protect the vulnerable.
"It's never been easier to help people who are in positions of vulnerability than it is today with our cellphones and calling 911," King said.
The bill mandates a reasonable effort and reasonable assistance, stating that a person is not guilty if there is a reasonable belief that emergency services were already notified.
King said the bill would not give any basis for a personal injury claim, but would give prosecutors a way to handle callous indifference.1 comment on this story
Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, spoke against the bill saying it makes a big leap in Utah law to criminalize inaction. He said under Utah law there is already sufficient protection for those in need with the accomplice liability statute.
"Mandating someone to all 911 is excessive. It is unnecessary under Utah law to mandate compassion," Nelson said.
Rep. Brady Brammer, R-Highland, said he supports the bill and that morality should be a part of Utah laws.
"I think that we can have enough morality and common decency to say that we have a general obligation as fellow humans to dial 911 when we see someone that is the victim of a crime or has undergone serious bodily injury," Brammer said.