Two bills aimed at getting Utah out of management of the Navajo Trust Fund passed a first legislative hurdle Tuesday.
The House Government Operations Committee approved a resolution and bill supporting this year's sunset of federally mandated state management and setting up interim management of the fund, which handles money from mineral revenues on the Utah portion of the Navajo Reservation.
"Every one of the Navajo chapters have expressed a desire for the state to no longer manage the fund," said Rep. David Clark, R-Santa Clara, sponsor of HCR4 and HB352.
Under the system, 37.5 percent of all oil and gas royalties derived from the Utah portion of the three-state reservation are set aside and administered by the state for the use of Utah Navajos.
The state is currently involved in litigation over alleged mismanagement of the fund, and that was the topic of some testimony.
David Irvine, a plaintiff's attorney in that case, said, "the state's liability could exceed $100 million."