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After Utah Nurse's Arrest, Lawmakers Will Draft a Bill on Officers Drawing Blood

Members of the Utah Legislature’s Judiciary Interim Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to draft a bill that will clarify when police may — and may not — draw blood without a driver’s consent.

Members of the Utah Legislature’s Judiciary Interim Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to draft a bill that will clarify when police may — and may not — draw blood without a driver’s consent.

“This is an important issue,” said Rep. Craig Hall, a West Valley City Republican who is sponsoring the legislation. “I think that it will help medical facilities, help law enforcement if we can all get on the same page as to when it’s appropriate to take blood [and] when it’s not appropriate to take blood. I think it will serve everybody well.”

The bill is a response to the July 26 arrest of University Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels by Salt Lake City police Detective Jeff Payne, who claimed she was interfering in an investigation by refusing to let him get a blood sample from an unconscious patient. The arrest drew widespread condemnation after Wubbels’ attorney released body camera footage of the encounter on Aug. 31.

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, noting that consent for blood draws has become a state and national issue, said the bill should be a priority.

“It important for us to show the public that when there is a high-profile incident like this that really outraged a lot of people, including myself, that we’re addressing that,” Weiler said.

Natalie previously covered immigrant communities and environmental justice as a bilingual reporter at CityLab and CityLab Latino. She hails from the Los Angeles area and graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English literature.
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