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Several Utah lawmakers concerned about safety during upcoming legislative session

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Several Utah lawmakers concerned about safety during upcoming legislative session (KUTV)

Several state lawmakers are concerned for their safety heading into the upcoming legislative session, which begins on Tuesday.

“I didn't sign up for the threats, but what I did sign up for was to be a leader and I signed up to be a voice,” says Rep. Sandra Hollins, a Democrat representing District 23.

Hollins says she's received intimidating messages in the past and the events of the past week have amplified tensions, nationally and locally.

“I have gotten those emails that were from people that said to me, 'look, we don't like the way you voted and we're watching you,'” Hollins said.

Which is why she says being concerned for her safety in the upcoming legislative session is not an overreaction.

“My concern is that people are going to come to the Capitol and want to do what they did in Washington, D.C.," Hollins said.

Other lawmakers feel the same, including Rep. Angela Romero, a Democrat representing District 26.

It's so polarizing; people aren't looking at people as individuals, they're just grouping people together,” Romero said.

Windows of the Salt Lake City and County Building, which was damaged during the May 30, 2020 riot, were boarded up on Wednesday. The Salt Lake City Police Department says it will be ready for any unrest.

The Utah State Capitol is closed to the public and the Utah Highway Patrol, which patrols the Capitol grounds, has ramped up security and is closely monitoring planned protests.

“My concern is with people who might be frustrated with a particular issue and you say the wrong thing and it triggers them,” Romero said.

Legislative leadership has met with UHP to discuss the beefed-up security plans around the Capitol.

Both Romero and Hollins say they have faith UHP will secure the Capitol and plan to do some of the session virtually and some in-person.