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First Substitute H.B. 355

Representative Stephen E. Sandstrom proposes the following substitute bill:


             1     
LEGAL GUARDIANSHIP AMENDMENTS

             2     
2010 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Stephen E. Sandstrom

             5     
Senate Sponsor: John L. Valentine

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill amends the Utah Uniform Probate Code as it relates to guardianship of minors.
             10      Highlighted Provisions:
             11          This bill:
             12          .    increases the burden of proof that a school district must demonstrate to object to a
             13      court appointment of a guardian for a minor if certain evidence is met;
             14          .    requires attorney fees to be paid in certain circumstances; and
             15          .    makes technical changes.
             16      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             17          None
             18      Other Special Clauses:
             19          None
             20      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             21      AMENDS:
             22          75-5-206, as last amended by Laws of Utah 1995, Chapter 156
             23     
             24      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             25          Section 1. Section 75-5-206 is amended to read:


             26           75-5-206. Court appointment of guardian of minor -- Qualifications -- Priority of
             27      minor's nominee.
             28          (1) (a) The court may appoint as guardian any person whose appointment would be in
             29      the best interests of the minor.
             30          (b) In determining the minor's best interests, the court may consider the minor's
             31      physical, mental, moral, and emotional health needs.
             32          (2) Except as provided in Subsection (3), the court shall appoint a person nominated by
             33      the minor, if the minor is 14 years of age or older, unless the court finds the appointment
             34      contrary to the best interests of the minor.
             35          (3) The court may deny the appointment of a guardian for a minor of school age if it
             36      finds that:
             37          (a) if the minor is older than 11 years of age:
             38          (i) the minor has not secured a certificate from the local police authority in the
             39      jurisdiction where the minor has lived during the past two years stating that there have been no
             40      criminal charges filed against the minor and the minor is not the subject of a criminal
             41      investigation in that jurisdiction and given a copy of the certificate to the superintendent of the
             42      school district in which the minor would attend school in Utah; or
             43          (ii) a release has not been given by or on behalf of the minor to the superintendent of
             44      the school district in which the minor would attend school in Utah within a reasonable time
             45      prior to the guardianship hearing, allowing the superintendent full access to all criminal records
             46      of the minor in those jurisdictions outside the state where the minor has resided during the
             47      previous two years, which release remains part of the minor's school records together with
             48      verification of residence for the previous two years, except that information disclosed in the
             49      criminal records may not be made a part of the minor's school record;
             50          (b) the school district has proven by [a preponderance of the] clear and convincing
             51      evidence that the primary purpose for the guardianship is to avoid the payment of tuition,
             52      which a school district may assess against a nonresident for attendance at a Utah public school;
             53      or
             54          (c) after consideration of relevant evidence, including any presented by the school
             55      district in which the petitioner resides, the minor's behavior indicates an ongoing unwillingness
             56      to abide by applicable law or school rules.


             57          (4) If a school district files an objection for reasons described in Subsection (3)(b), and
             58      the court does not find in favor of the school district, the court may award the petitioner
             59      attorney fees and costs if the court finds that the school district's arguments lack a reasonable
             60      basis in law or fact.


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