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Utah State Legislature | 2014 General Session
- Utah S.B. 112 Substitute Game Fowl Fighting Amendments
- Bill Text
Do not forget! Our Freedom Struggle continues… Worldwide
Repeal Cockfighting Ban!
– Gameness til the End
Weakened, then dies » Lawmakers decline to strengthen penalties for fights.
By Lee Davidson | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published March 14, 2014
A bill to toughen penalties for cockfighting was clawed, wounded and eventually killed in legislative wrangling Thursday.
Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, the House sponsor of the bill, said the bill’s defeat will continue to “make Utah the cockfighting capital west of the Mississippi.”
SB112 originally sought to make cockfighting a third-degree felony. In committee, that was lowered to a class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for subsequent violations.
But the full House amended it Thursday to make any violation a class A misdemeanor. Currently, cockfighting is a class B misdemeanor.
The Senate then refused to go along with that change, the House refused to back away from it, and lawmakers let it die minutes before the Legislature’s midnight adjournment.
Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, the bill’s sponsor, said in earlier debate that Utah is a haven for the fights. “It’s a blood sport,” Davis said earlier. “It is being made a felony in every state around us.”
But Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, complained that felonies should be reserved for the most serious offenses, and “not victimless crimes against one’s own property.”
Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, wasn’t swayed with arguments that most states punish the activity more severely. “We’re not a state that follows. We’re a state that leads. We need to lead,” and not crowd prisons with more felonies for such crimes.
Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, noted that dog fighting in Utah, in contrast, is a felony now. “We don’t have a scourge of dog fighting in the state, because it’s a felony. We also don’t have a prison full of dog fighters, because a felony is a deterrent.”
By Madeleine Brown, Deseret News
Published: Thursday, March 13 2014 9:50 p.m. MDT
Cockfighting still won’t be a felony in Utah after the House and Senate failed to come up with a compromise in the last hour of the legislative session.
SALT LAKE CITY — Cockfighting still won’t be a felony in Utah after the House and Senate failed to come up with a compromise in the final hour of the legislative session Thursday.
After some debate, the House voted 43-28 to amend SB12, originally intended to make cockfighting a class A misdemeanor on the first offense and a third-degree felony on subsequent offenses.
The amendment made all offenses of intentionally causing “game fowl to fight with or injure another game fowl” a class A misdemeanor, said Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, who proposed the amendment.
Greene said the severity of a felony should be reserved for “the most serious offenses” and that there are other ways to deal with social ills.
Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, the bill’s House sponsor, said he wanted to set a deterrent to match the 35 states that have made cockfighting a felony.
“Our hesitancy in taking action yet again will continue to make Utah the cockfighting capital west of the Mississippi,” Anderson said.
The House then voted 62-10 to pass the bill. The Senate, however, refused to concur with the amendment. The House then refused to restore the original version.
A committee conference was called, but Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, the bill’s sponsor, decided to let the bill die.
Cockfighting in Utah will remain a class B misdemeanor.