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It was like preaching to the choir, but U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop and Sen. Orrin Hatch told the Utah Legislature on Thursday that states should have more power over local decisions.

"Federalism means people get to make decisions for themselves whether those decisions are good or bad," Bishop, a Republican, said. "The problem with federalism is one that is very simple: no one knows what the hell it means."

He said some believe meansthe federal government should give money with fewer strings, but that won't happen.

"If you want to get out of the trap, you have to let go of the cheese," he said. "The more money you get from us, the more problems you have."

He wouldn't say if he would support expanding Medicaid under so-called Obamacare, which the Legislature is considering.

"The nice thing about federalism is, I'm not in your shoes and that's your decision to make whether you make a good one or bad one," said the former Utah House speaker. He said he had an opinion on what he would do, but wouldn't share it, although he added that, "The law we passed that put you in this situation was a crappy piece of legislation."

On the issue of public lands, he noted he is working on a bill with groups across the political spectrum to outline future uses of lands in many counties. "I also want to give several areas to the state … so it can show it is just as competent as the federal government in maintaining these areas."

The Obama administration has been supportive of that process, he said, and has held off creating new national monuments in Utah. But he said the Antiquities Act, which allows presidents to create monuments, "is the most abused or misused piece of legislation" ever.

He said in recent years it has been used "not to preserve antiquities as it was designed, but as a political tool to make a statement" ensuring federal control over public lands.

Meanwhile, Hatch complimented leaders saying, "This is a well-run state," and is ahead of others in such things as maintaining its roads and bridges.

Hatch spoke about the urgency that the Legislature work with the Defense Department to expand the Air Force's sprawling Utah Test and Training Range, which he said is needed to accommodate the military's new F-35 fighter jets.

"In order to keep them here and do what we should and keep the jobs that are really important jobs we're going to have to find a way, working with you, of expanding the Utah Test and Training Range."

With the F-35s, he said Hill would have a solid future. "So far it is in good shape. I intend to keep it in good shape."