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Three removed from Utah Senate committee hearing

Posted at 3:05 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 20:42:28-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Three people were removed from a packed Utah Senate committee hearing on COVID-19 vaccine passports on Tuesday.

The hearing began with Senate Revenue & Taxation Committee Chair Dan McCay, R-Herriman, calling a recess because he said the crowd was being disruptive. The majority of people in the room were there to speak on House Bill 60, which prohibits businesses and employers from requiring proof of vaccination.

Sen. McCay convened the meeting again and told people not to be disruptive. Some in the room told FOX 13 News they had been instructed to remove stickers and signs in favor of the bill. Sen. McCay warned against further disruptions, then ordered several people removed.

"They said you have to take everything off that’s political. Your stickers, your sign, we don’t allow waving, we’re going, 'Tyranny. Welcome to Australia,'" said Diane Anderson, who was in the room. "There was a lot of people in there, he took off his sticker, he didn’t take his shirt off and they had the Highway Patrol come and take him out saying he was disrupting the meeting. It was in recess. He wasn’t disrupting."

A man was taken to a nearby elevator and placed on the ground in handcuffs. He was then picked up by troopers by his arms and legs and taken into the elevator. The Utah Highway Patrol later said the man was cited for disrupting a public meeting and released.

Video below shows UHP troopers removing a man from a Utah Senate committee room

Man removed from hearing

The hearing proceeded with Rep. Walt Brooks, R-St. George, describing his bill and public testimony for and against it.

Business groups expressed concern with the language of the bill which they believed intruded too far on the rights of employers, while others testified in support of the bill and against vaccine mandates.

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, successfully motioned to have the bill substituted to include language that he said struck a "balance" between the rights of businesses and individual freedoms.

Rep. Brooks said he opposed the substitute. His co-sponsor, Sen. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, said the original bill was designed to make a statement.

"At the barrier of your skin, or the entrance of your mouth is that your body and nobody else, nobody else including the President of the United States, should have the right to penetrate that bodily integrity," Sen. Kennedy told the committee. "That’s something that’s fundamental to our society."

The bill passed out of the committee on a 7-2 vote and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.