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Bill that regulates 'troubled teen' facilities in Utah passes legislature

Paris Hilton Boarding School
Posted at 9:06 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 23:43:46-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that regulates so-called "troubled teen" facilities in Utah has cleared the legislature.

On a vote of 70-2, the House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 127. It requires more immediate reporting of use of restraints or chemicals on children, as well allowing spot inspections by Utah's Department of Human Services. There are more requirements for suicide prevention training and non-discrimination policies, and a way for people to report abuses.

The bill received a lot of attention when celebrity Paris Hilton testified in a Senate committee hearing in support of it. She spoke about abuses she suffered while attending a facility in Provo in the 1990s. She was joined by others who reported similar experiences in youth programs across the state.

On the House floor, Rep. Brady Brammer, R-Highland, said the bill was essential.

"This just adds some guardrails and some oversight that, frankly, has been lacking," he said.

Rep. Rex Shipp, R-Cedar City, tried to add an amendment to allow for some "inducing of pain" when a staffer's health or safety was threatened. It was rejected by the House. So was a proposed amendment by Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper, that would have delayed how long a report must be made to state officials.

The bill will now go to Governor Spencer Cox's office for his signature or veto.