Fillmore, Utah was the location of The Liberty Convention last week. One source at the convention said that there was a good turn out and those that spoke delivered great messages concerning ranchers freedom, individual rights, and liberty. One topic was concerning H.B. 276 the “UTAH PUBLIC LAND MANAGEMENT ACT”.
This has been a hot topic in the blogging world and on some talk shows since it came out about two weeks ago. It has generated some heated discussion on negative attacks from both sides of the issue.
This bill talks about creating a new division within the Utah Natural Resource Department called the Division of Land Management which would manage federal lands once they are returned to the state. There are several concerns that have been raised like how the state will fiscally afford the new division? Why the state is in such a hurry to create it before the land is transferred, and why the bill gives this new agency primary law enforcement powers if needed.
The bill was presented to the clerk on February 2, 2016 and by March 18, 2016 (42 days) H.B. 276 was passed by 23 State Senators and 60 House Representatives and was sitting on the governors desk to be signed into law. These are just some of the questions that where covered at the convention.
The following is the part of the bill that folks are referring to concerning the law enforcement issue.
“334 (4) (a) Except as provided in Subsections (4)(b) and (c), the local county sheriff is the
335 primary law enforcement authority with jurisdiction on public land to enforce this chapter and
336 rules issued by the director pursuant to Subsection (1).
337 (b) The director may employ and utilize within the DLM certified peace officers that, if
338 and when deployed, will be the primary law enforcement authority with jurisdiction on public
339 land to enforce this chapter and rules issued pursuant to Subsection (1).”
A few days ago The Petroglyph contacted Representative Noel and asked him about the primary law enforcement issue in the bill and he replied,
“The sheriff will be the primary officer to deal with all state and county laws excluding wildlife issues. I’ve already sent a request to the bill drafter to change that section to reflect what I had in mind. No state law enforcement agencies.”
Rep. Noel makes it quite clear that there will not be a new law enforcement agency created with HB 267, and the local sheriff will remain the primary law enforcement in the county. He has made a similar statement on the Fox News Kate Dalley Show. No matter how you look at it this topic has generated some strong emotions on both sides of the issue. At the convention was no different and it was decided that the convention would draft a letter to Governor Herbert stating that the members of The Liberty Convention are opposed to H.B. 276.
The following is a copy of the letter that was drafted at the convention and sent to The Petroglyph.
It will be interesting to see if and how Governor Herbert will respond to The Liberty Conventions letter.
The Utah State Legislature website has the bill available for those that would like to read it and it lists all the elected officials that sponsored the bill if anyone would like to contact the sponsors of the bill to ask them questions.
Representative Mike Noel Substitute Sponsor along with the Floor Sponsor Sen. David Hinkins and the following CoSponsor(S):
Anderegg, J. `Barlow, S. Brown, M. Chew, S. Christensen, L. Christofferson, K. Coleman, K. Cox, F. Cunningham, R. Daw, B. Dee, B. Draxler, J. Edwards, R. Eliason, S. Froerer, G. Gibson, F. Greene, B. Grover, K. Handy, S. Hughes, G. Ipson, D. Ivory, K. Kennedy, M. Last, B. Lifferth, D. McIff, K. McKell, M. Nelson, M. Oda, C. Owens, D. Perry, L. Peterson, J. Peterson, V. Pitcher, D. Ray, P. Roberts, M. Sagers, D. Sandall, S. Schultz, M. Snow, V. L. Stanard, J. Stratton, K. Thurston, N. Ward, R. Webb, R. C. Westwood, J.