H.B. 276, Utah Public Land Management Act, puts a framework in place to prepare for the eventual transition of Utah’s 31 million acres of federal lands to state ownership.
Nothing in this bill would take effect until at least 100,000 acres are transferred and the state receives title to the lands. Every year the Legislature considers bills that will deal with this eventuality and this is one more in that process.
During a public forum held on Monday, March 21, Rep. Mike Noel shared a response he received from Reed Richards of the Utah Sheriff’s Association, expressing that his review of H.B. 276 found no problems relating to the authority of county sheriffs and that the bill, in his view, seemed to simply clarify and enhance the powers of the sheriff. This is the same view taken by the Governor’s office and the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel.
Utah House of Representative Mike Noel, sponsor of the H.B. 276, Utah Public Land Management Act, released this statement after a public forum held Monday, March 21, 2016.
“This bill does nothing to diminish the power of our county sheriffs, and in fact codifies their place as the top law enforcement agent in the county,” said Rep. Noel. “At the meeting we were able to respond to every one of the concerns expressed by opponents, and address much of the misinformation that’s out there.”
H.B. 276 was passed during the 2016 Legislative Session that ended March 10 and is currently awaiting the signature of the Governor.