2023 Bills

HB 204: Changing a Child Welfare Drug Test

This bill passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously. Review our tracker for more information.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

The family is the basic unit of society. It follows that children should only be taken from parents in extreme circumstances. The most accurate evidence possible should be obtained when parental rights are being threatened.

HB 204, sponsored by Representative Christine Watkins, aims to ensure that only the most accurate drug tests are used when a parent is party to an abuse, neglect, or dependency proceeding. Currently in these types of proceedings, courts may use saliva tests to determine if a parent has been using illegal drugs. While saliva tests are fast and convenient, their accuracy has been called into question in prior court cases.

Utah law already prohibits the use of fingernail and hair tests in these types of cases due to reliability concerns, so there is precedent for limiting testing methods. Blood and urine tests have both been extensively vetted and will still be available for courts to use in making their determinations.

Truth is an essential prerequisite for justice. We support accurate testing to determine the truth. Anything less could unnecessarily change the lives of families forever.