This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A bill seeking to resolve conflicts between local, county and federal law enforcement agencies on who has the right to police public lands awaits the signature of Gov. Gary Herbert after it passed in the Senate.
Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, the Senate sponsor, explained on the floor how law-enforcement agencies would interact under the bill.
"HB391 sets up a procedure for a county sheriff to seek legal relief if ... duties are violated by the [Bureau of Land Management] or Forest Service," he said. Local sheriffs would work with the Utah attorney general's office in preparing a letter to the federal agencies stating demands and deciding on legal action if those demands are not sufficiently met.
"The bill is important because it enables county sheriffs and county commissioners to consult with the AG to notify and work with federal land management agencies to provide sheriff contracts and curb their own police powers to the system with proprietary jurisdiction," Hinkins said.
Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, testified last week before the House of the frequency of such disputations, and the state's need for such a bill.
The bill passed in the Senate with a vote of 21-4.