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Legislators Vote to Put a Deadline on Public Lands Lawsuit

Brian Grimmett
File: Utah State Capitol

A Utah Senate committee approved a bill today that would give the Attorney General’s office a deadline to file a lawsuit over Utah’s public lands.

When the legislation was first released it gave the Utah Attorney General’s office only six months to file a lawsuit against the federal government. Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake, is the sponsor of the bill.  He reworked the language to extend the deadline an additional year to June 30, 2016. He says the bill is meant to squeeze the AG into action.

“We spent a ton of money. We figured out now if we do get the land where it’s going to go, how we’re going to spend the money, what the budgets are going to be," Dabakis says. "We’re kind of planning to take over this land, and what this does is says we’re serious about it.”

The bill passed out of the committee by a 4 – 2 vote. Sen. Evan Vickers was one of the two no votes. He says while he applauds Sen. Dabakis for what he’s trying to do, he still has too many concerns to support the bill.

“My worry is that this isn’t the right way to do it," he says. "You’re giving them a time frame, but it’s not, we don’t have the right court case yet. We’re not sure of that.”

Even though the bill passed out of committee, several of the yes votes also voiced some concerns with the legislation.  SB105 will likely face stiffer opposition when Senators debate the bill on the floor of the Senate. 

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