Hate crimes, marriage and guns among new Utah laws in effect

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Starting Tuesday, people convicted of hate crimes can be subject to harsher punishment, 15-year-olds can no longer be married and the state’s “stand your ground” law will get stronger.

Lawmakers passed 574 bills this year, setting a record, and most of those new laws will go into effect on Tuesday, 60 days after the end of the short legislative session.

Some closely watched changes aren’t in effect yet. A measure allowing grocery stores to sell higher-alcohol beer will start in November. Lawmakers also passed a ban on most abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, but it’s on hold as a court challenge plays out.

Here are some of the notable new laws that go into effect Tuesday:

HATE CRIMES

A new hate-crimes law means people can be sentenced to more serious punishments if they’re convicted of targeting others based on their race, religion, sexual orientation or other factors.

Utah’s previous hate-crimes law didn’t protect specific groups and prosecutors said it was unenforceable. The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Daniel Thatcher had been stalled in the Legislature for years before it gained momentum following the November 2018 beating of a Latino man in Salt Lake City.

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SUPER TUESDAY

Utah’s presidential primary election will move several months earlier next year, to March 3. The date is known as Super Tuesday because a number states hold their contests that day, and it could mean that candidates looking for an earlier boost spend more time campaigning in the state.

Lawmakers also approved spending $2.9 million for the state to run the primary after many people experienced long lines during the 2016 vote, which was run by the individual political parties.

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