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Bill: Sheriffs are primary state law enforcers on federal land

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 4 2015 12:10 p.m. MDT

Virgin River in Zion National Park. A Senate committee unanimously voted Monday to recommend HB225, which clarifies that the sheriff is the primary state law enforcer on federal land. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Virgin River in Zion National Park. A Senate committee unanimously voted Monday to recommend HB225, which clarifies that the sheriff is the primary state law enforcer on federal land. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Senate committee unanimously voted Monday to recommend HB225, which clarifies that the sheriff is the primary state law enforcer on federal land.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, wouldn't change current statute.

"This bill represents a baby step in the direction our state needs to move," said Tyler Cope, a real estate broker. "We are in the midst of a federal power grab that threatens our union, our state and us as individuals."

State lawmakers recognize they are operating in a "shrinking box," and they're trying to push back against the federal government, said Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, chairman of the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.

"Oftentimes there's the desire or hope to take things back at a loaf at a time," Madsen said. "The prerogatives of the states have been eroded over time, and sometimes we have to be satisfied with taking it back a slice at a time. But I like this slice. I think it's moving in the right direction."

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