HB214 Proposed to Assist Those Leaving Polygamous Relationships, Communities

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On Feb. 15, Utah lawmakers were visited by a number of women that spoke with them on the subject of polygamous relationships and marriages.

These women informed the panel that, upon leaving the “plural marriages,” which would many times become abusive in one form or another, they were left with few resources and limited funds. This information created support for a proposal that is now intended to assist other women to be able to safely remove themselves from polygamous relationships and communities.

The House Judiciary Committee made a unanimous vote to advance HB214. This bill will make state reparations monies available to these victims. The vote was made after hearing testimonies, including one woman stating that all those that extricate themselves from these situations are often in need of mental health assistance.

HB214 is now one of a handful of pending proposals that are at the Utah Capitol’s doorstep aimed at improving the lives of victims of domestic violence.

Praise was spoken on this bill from many, including Representative Kyle Anderson of Ogden and the director of the Utah Office for Victims of Crime, Gary Scheller. Rep. Anderson stated that there will be need for an arrest, charge or conviction before a victim may apply for the upcoming services.

Instead, those that wish to apply must simply come forward and state that they were a part of a polygamous relationship or community that they wish to leave. Both adults and children would be able to apply through Rep. Anderson’s proposal.

Scheller stated that the bill makes sense. His agency is in charge or providing reimbursement for victims with costs such as medical, counseling and any wages that may have been lost.

Now, the proposal will advance through the unanimous vote and move toward the House for consideration. It was stated that not a single individual spoke against HB214.

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