Noel argued that Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service officials sometimes enforce traffic laws, which he said should be left to local sheriffs.
Federal Judge David Nuffer has already signed a temporary resting order blocking the law from taking effect, but attorneys from all sides have been filing arguments about whether he should issue a more permanent preliminary injunction as the case moves forward.
Federal attorneys argued Friday that a "state may not restrict the federal government's exercise of authority on federal land. Yet that is precisely what the state of Utah has attempted."
The Utah Attorney General's Office argued in a brief that Congress never specifically gave federal officials authority to enforce Utah laws, so they say HB155 is within constitutional bounds. A friend-of-the-court brief by the Utah Association of Counties and the Utah Sheriffs' Association agreed with that argument.
But federal attorneys said Congress gave federal land agencies "broad authority over federal lands, including the authority to issue regulations necessary to manage and protect those lands" including adopting rules that may mirror state and local laws.
"When a federal law enforcement officer arrests an individual for the violation of a federal regulation, the officer is enforcing federal law, even if the regulation incorporates or adopts specific standards from state laws," federal attorneys argue.
They added that Congress has charged land agencies "with adopting regulations to implement specific statutes, and yet Utah now purports to deny the federal government the authority to enforce those regulations," which they said makes the law unconstitutional.