This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah senators passed a bill Tuesday that would set a June 30, 2016 deadline for the filing of a lawsuit asserting Utah's legal claim to more than 31 million acres of federal land.
While Senate Democrats generally oppose Utah's land transfer quest, they all signed on to Sen. Jim Dabakis' SB105.
The Salt Lake City Democrat wants to send "the big enchilada" legal question straight to the U.S. Supreme Court for the quickest resolution possible. But determining specific tactics would be left to Attorney General Sean Reyes, with recommendations coming from the Legislature's Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands.
"This is a red letter date in the generational Utah v. Feds fight over 32 million acres of public land in Utah," Dabakis wrote in a statement. "After years of bickering, tens of millions of Utah taxpayers' lawsuit dollars and endless little lawsuits, the Senate today gave the Utah Attorney General his marching orders.
"End the endless lawsuits. One way or another, ask [the Supreme Court] to settle who currently owns and who will own and manage this public land in Utah. Let's get this decided soon and move on with our lives!"
In a vote of 17-10, the bill cleared the Senate, with urban conservative lawmakers mostly voting against it and rural conservatives voting in support.