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The Utah Senate tentatively approved the creation of a commission Tuesday aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty that its sponsor says traps one generation after the next.

"Children become victims of this generational lifestyle," said Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, noting that children who grow up in poverty have higher dropout rates, crime rates, drug and alcohol abuse and teen pregnancy, limiting their potential to break out.

"They're subjected to it because it's been passed on from one generation to another," Reid said. "Yet they suffer a majority of the consequences which lead to a life of despair and hopelessness."

He sponsored legislation last year requiring state agencies to report on the prevalence of intergenerational poverty. SB53 creates a commission with members from the Department of Workforce Services, Health and Human Services, education and juvenile courts to share data and develop policies aimed at addressing intergenerational poverty.

The bill advanced to a final vote in the Senate, likely later this week, before it heads to the House.

— Robert Gehrke

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