2018 Bills

HB 43: Want My Blood? Get a Warrant

This bill passed both the House and the Senate unanimously.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it is aligned with our principles and merits support.

Now a well known incident, the controversial arrest of Nurse Wubbels in Salt Lake City on August 31, 2017, sparked national outrage after she refused to allow Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne to draw blood from an unconscious patient involved in a vehicle accident.

Wubbels pointed out that the victim was not under arrest and that the officer did not have a warrant. The officer, insisting he had proper authority, handcuffed the nurse and placed her in his police car; she was later released and charges were not filed against her.

Now, the incident is leading to legislative reform. Representative Craig Hall is sponsoring House Bill 43 to clarify and consolidate the law dealing with when blood may be taken from a person.

The bill states that an individual may be required to submit to a blood test for a law enforcement purpose only if:

  1. the individual or legal representative of the individual with authority to give consent gives oral or written consent to the blood test;
  2. the peace officer obtains a warrant to administer the blood test; or
  3. a judicially recognized exception to obtaining a warrant exists as established by the Utah Court of Appeals, Utah Supreme Court, Court of Appeals of the Tenth Circuit, or the Supreme Court of the United States

An interim legislative committee unanimously recommended this legislation for consideration by the full legislature. We support the bill, as it clarifies existing case law and explicitly includes important restrictions in statute.