Utah Legislature: Bill would limit police powers of 3 agencies

Published: Thursday, March 11 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — In yet another reaction to what lawmakers assert are overreaching federal powers, the Utah Legislature approved a measure Thursday that would curtail the police powers of three agencies: the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service rangers.

HB146, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, would limit the law enforcement powers of those agencies, especially for typical violations of Utah law, such as trespassing, speeding or driving with expired tags.

The measure also sets in place review requirements by local county sheriff's offices to ensure those agencies have not overstepped boundaries.

Noel, in pushing for passage of the measure, has stressed that it does not apply to federal agencies like the DEA or FBI, but only those that are tasked with the management of federal lands.

Too often, he and several rural county sheriffs have said, the land management agencies are overstepping park boundaries and going about writing violators in a willy-nilly fashion.

— Amy Joi O'Donoghue

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