Washington • Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, wants to remove some of the drama from any future government shutdown by creating a mechanism for states to run national parks and get reimbursed when Congress eventually strikes a budget deal.
Stewart, a freshman House member, introduced legislation Wednesday to formalize what Utah leaders accomplished during the recent 16-day partial shutdown. Gov. Gary Herbert and his staff negotiated directly with the Interior Department to pay $1.7 million to reopen the state's five national parks and three national monuments for up to 10 days.
Other states followed suit. Arizona shelled out $651,000 to open the Grand Canyon. Colorado, South Dakota and New York also paid to unlock the gates to national lands that were big tourist draws.