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Bill would require online dating sites to have a safety warning

Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 19:48:20-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill introduced in the Utah State Legislature would require online dating sites to post a safety warning if they don't do background checks on customers.

"Give a warning to people that they don’t necessarily do background checks and just safety reminders to people," said Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, who is sponsoring House Bill 352.

Rep. Romero said it would be a pop up on an online dating site or app with a warning and some online safety tips, if they have users in Utah. She said the bill is being run with some support from prosecutors and there have been instances where people have been scammed or sexually assaulted.

"It’s just a friendly reminder. We’ve had several instances here in Utah," she said.

There is some legal precedent for the bill. Last year, the legislature passed a law allowing the public to access court records for a fee. Lawmakers also passed a bill requiring porn sites to display a warning in Utah and some adult entertainment companies have complied.

"It is similar to that. Many people might think this is a silly thing to do, that adults can make up their own minds. But again, we’ve seen certain situations where people have been put in vulnerable situations because somebody groomed them or they did some serious lying and their lives have been forever changed," Rep. Romero said. "They may think this is silly, but maybe someone’s jumping on that site and they see this warning and triggers something in their head, then I’ve done my job."

FOX 13 News reached out to several online dating companies for comment on HB352. They did not immediately respond with a position on the bill. Rep. Romero said she has forwarded them copies of the legislation for feedback.