Women, Allies Flood Utah State Capitol to Kick Off Legislative Session

Thousands March to Utah State Capitol Monday

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) This weekend hundreds of thousands of women marched around the country including right here in Utah.
 
They were protesting President Donald Trump while calling for equal rights.
 
A similar march happened at the Utah state Capitol Monday to help kick off the legislative session. The march started at City Creek Park and ended at the Utah State Capitol. 
 
Protesters main concern are the laws being passed here which Utah impacting women and their choices.
 
Thousands marched through the snow and then packed every level of the Capitol for the rally. Several speakers talked about the importance or protecting women's choices, and standing up to any form of discrimination.
 
A major complaint was about the lack of women in the legislature and how that impacts laws regarding women's issues.
 
"I'm sick and tired of men making laws about our bodies and our choices and our lives without consulting us," said Kate Kelly, organizer.
 
Another major issue organizers say they want to tackle is domestic violence, and sexual assault laws here in Utah. They note how weak some of the laws are and believe it has a direct impact on the fact that 40 percent of all homicides here in the state are domestic violence-related.
 
Rep. Angela Romero, (D) Salt Lake City, is sponsoring a bill to require testing of all rape kits. She also spoke during the rally to gain support for her bill.
 
Sen. Todd Weiler, (R) Davis County, noted he was impressed with the size of the rally and people making their voices heard.
 
"It sounded like freedom to me," said Sen. Weiler. "We have people who are upset with the direction of our country and they are speaking out. While I may not agree with them on every issue I love the fact we live in a country where people can come up and protest. "
 
Sen. Weiler helped support a bill to fund the testing of all rape kits currently in the backlog. After receiving several notes from protesters about funding for domestic violence programs being cut. He said he hadn't seen any proposals to reduce the funding to those programs.
 
The senator said extra funding for those programs could likely be brought up during budget committee meetings over the next two weeks.
 
He notes there are about $70 worth of requests for every $1 of budget surplus. Sen. Weiler said lawmakers will have some big decisions in the coming weeks.

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