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Resolution to declare racism a public health crisis in Utah dropped

Posted at 2:49 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 18:54:30-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Sandra Hollins has dropped her resolution to declare racism a public health crisis in Utah.

With only a few days left in the 2021 legislative session, she said her House colleagues still had questions about the practical policy implications of House Joint Resolution 13. So she will pick it up next year.

"Whether this bill goes forward or not, one of the best things that is happening is we are having conversations. We are talking about it on social media, we’re talking about it in the media, we’re talking about it on the House floor," Rep. Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, said in an interview with FOX 13 on Tuesday.

Rep. Hollins has spent the session pushing a series of bills dealing with policing reforms in the aftermath of protests against racism and police brutality. Dozens of bills have been introduced in the session, each touching on a different aspect of policing.

She was particularly pleased to see a bill that requires documentation and data every time an officer uses force, whether from a Taser or a gun. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, is currently in the Senate.

Rep. Hollins, who is the only Black lawmaker in the Utah State Legislature, has spent a lot of the session shepherding other bills through. She said she has been pleased to see so many bills pass, and said her colleagues are having important conversations about racism.

"People don’t know what racism is. My definition of what racism is, as a Black woman who grew up in the South, may be different than people who may have grown up in Utah," she said. "The definitions are different. That’s part of of the conversation we need to have."

Rep. Hollins said she will bring her resolution back as well as other policing reform bills for the 2022 session. She also believes her colleagues have an appetite to enact change.

"I can tell you I’ve had a number of my colleagues approach me who want to have this conversation, have actual clarifying questions about where I stand and why I see the world the way I see the world," she said. "And part of the conversation is me understanding why they view the world the way they view the world."