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Bill creates contingency plan for keeping national parks open

Published: Monday, July 27 2015 8:17 p.m. MDT

Park Ranger Matthew Chuvarsky talks to St. George resident Melissa Norris on Oct. 5, 2013 after her hike in Zion National Park that violated the park's closure after the government shutdown. (McKenzie Romero, Deseret News Archives) Park Ranger Matthew Chuvarsky talks to St. George resident Melissa Norris on Oct. 5, 2013 after her hike in Zion National Park that violated the park's closure after the government shutdown. (McKenzie Romero, Deseret News Archives)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Senate committee unanimously recommended a contingency plan for managing federal facilities, should something like the partial government shutdown in 2013 happen again.

In cases of fiscal emergency, HB133 would allow the governor to work with the federal government to keep national parks, monuments, forests and recreation areas open and maintained.

Bill sponsor Rep. David Lifferth, R-Eagle Mountain, established his "credentials" Friday by placing worn hiking boots and a Nalgene water bottle on the table before presenting HB133 to the Senate Business and Labor Committee. Lifferth said he loves Utah's state and national parks.

HB133 would put in place a "rational and methodical" process to have a special session of the Legislature called so parks can stay open "despite the actions or inactions of Washington, D.C.," Lifferth said.

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