Utah bill regarding a body of water’s “personhood” advances

Bill will deny personhood to the Great Salt Lake
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January 29, 2024 –H.B. 249, Utah Legal Personhood AmendmentsOpens in a new tab., was approved by the House Business and Labor Committee last week and awaits a third reading before the House.

The proposed Utah Legal Personhood Amendments explicitly state that a body of water cannot be granted or recognized as having legal personhood  This means that under this legislation, bodies of water would not possess legal rights, obligations, or the capacity to participate in legal proceedings as a person would.

Sponsored by Rep. Walt Brooks, the bill prohibits governmental entities from granting or recognizing legal personhood to several categories of entities and elements that are non-human. This includes artificial intelligence, inanimate objects, bodies of water, land, real property, atmospheric gases, astronomical objects, weather, plants, nonhuman animals, and any other non-human taxonomic domain members.

The bill proposes the enactment of Sections 63G-31-101 and 63G-31-102 in the Utah Code Annotated 1953, with an effective date of May 1, 2024.

OpponentsOpens in a new tab. fear that the bill’s passage could damage efforts to protect Great Salt Lake.



Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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