A privately owned water company in Holladay might get the legal right to refuse to fluoridate its water even though Salt Lake County residents voted in favor of doing so.
SB29, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, would allow shareholders of private or corporate water systems to take an up-or-down vote on fluoridation, in spite of an overriding public vote.
Stowell’s measure advanced 20-8 in the Senate on Monday amid spirited debate on both sides.
Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, spoke in support of the bill, one that would affect her household, neighbors and constituents, many of them older and beyond the need of fluoride. The issue is currently before the courts on appeal.
Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, also favored the bill.
“It seems we have to identify this as pro- or anti-fluoridation but it’s neither,” Buttars said. “This bill just says the private people with private water should have the say in whether to fluoridate or not.”
Sen. Allen Christensen, a pediatric dentist from North Ogden, voiced strong opposition.
“This is an ugly bill,” Christensen said, calling it an end-run to a court battle that ended in defeat for Holladay Water.
Christensen pointed out that Holladay’s water is not completely independent from other water systems in the county.
“I just ask once again that we refuse to interfere with the judicial process,” Christensen said. “Let the courts make the final
SB29 gets one more vote in the Senate, which will determine whether it advances to the House or dies for lack of support. decision.”