ST. GEORGE — A proposed bill planned for the 2018 Utah Legislative session would require Utah citizens to provide assistance to others in the event of a crime or other emergency.
The bill, proposing a Duty to Assist in an Emergency law and designated as HB 125 in the 2018 session, seeks to bring the penalty of law down upon those who fail to act or call for help for someone in need in cases where there is a reasonable and safe opportunity to assist.
Sponsored by Utah House Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Brian King, HB 125 would make it a class B misdemeanor if a bystander fails to take reasonable action to help an individual in peril.
If enacted, the bill would also amend provisions of the Good Samaritan Act to provide immunity from liability to a person who provides assistance in accordance with the requirements of the bill.
King, who reportedly worked with University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law professor Amos Guiora on issues related to bystander intervention prior to drafting the bill, was quoted by the university as saying his bill does not require anyone to take actions that would put themselves at risk or in danger to help another human being.
“We’re talking about addressing the most clear-cut and callous examples of indifference to other people in need,” King said, adding:
If a person sees a crime being committed, or sees someone in dire need of help, but that person intentionally chooses not to call for help, that may make them complicit. In those circumstances, I think it is appropriate to give our prosecutors tools to ensure there are consequences.
- Read full text of bill: Utah 2018 HB 125 – Duty to Assist in an Emergency
- Contact legislators
- Bill sponsor: Rep. Brian King
- Southern Utah Sens. Evan Vickers, Don Ipson, David Hinkins and Ralph Okerlund | Listing of all senators.
- Southern Utah Reps. Jon Stanard, Bradley Last, V. Lowry Snow, Walt Brooks, John Westwood, Merrill Nelson and Michael Noel | Listing of all members of the House of Representatives.
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