During Black History Month, and in all months, Utah Democrats stand with Black Lives. Our members understand and appreciate the deep commitments to Utah that Black Americans have made, and in a time when Black lives are under attack, our members and legislative caucuses are determined to protect Black Utahns.

UDP stood with our House Caucus member, Rep. Sandra Hollins, and community activists last year in demanding the removal of slavery as a punishment from our state Constitution. Rep. Hollins sponsored the bill that unanimously passed the legislature to put Amendment C on the ballot, and it was overwhelmingly approved by voters. Amendment C was passed by a wider margin than any other similar amendment in any other state.

Utah Democrats are also pushing legislation to protect Black constituents from discrimination. Sen. Derek Kitchen proposed S.B. 80, which would follow the framework of the CROWN Act, legislation adopted in California, New Jersey, and New York City. Under the bill, the Antidiscrimination Act will be amended to protect Black Utahns’ rights to natural hairstyles. “This bill remains crucial to protecting the right to Black expression in Utah. I have every intention of passing this legislation and working alongside the vibrant community of Black activists in Utah to protect them from discrimination for their natural hairstyles.” said Sen. Kitchen.

In the Legislature, Democratic Reps. Angela Romero and Andrew Stoddard have worked to pass important police reform bills that listen to the demands of Black constituents and allies in the Black Lives Matter Protests that swept the nation after the unjust murder of George Floyd. Rep. Romero’s H.B. 162, Peace Officer Training Amendments would require 16 hours of yearly police training focused on de-escalation tactics and working with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Rep. Stoddard’s H.B. 62 would add “conduct involving dishonesty or deception or violation of employer’s use-of-force policy,” as suspension grounds for officers.

Utah Democrats have consistently shown a dedication to protecting the lives of Black Utahns. The legislature’s GOP leaders must follow Democrats to do the same.