State Representative column
Anderson reports on legislature
Recently in the House of Representatives, we passed a bill that should probably be labeled "The Federalist Role in Shared Sovereignty". It actually has the title of HB 114, the "Second Amendment Preservation Act", but it dealt with important issues of water rights, forest and public land management, resource development, and gun control. All of the listed areas are where the federal government is impinging on the lives of "we the people".
When we water our crops; whether they are alfalfa, corn, carrots, or peas, we now have to consider many federal restrictions. For example, we are strongly encouraged to water with sprinklers rather than by flooding in rows. The government also encourages us to consider ways to keep the salt in our ground from leaching out and running downstream to California. The control comes from the government deciding that our irrigation ditches are "navigable waterways" and thereby fall under federal jurisdiction.
Also public access to our lands is a big issue in the hands of the legislature this session, especially for rural areas of Utah.
The tool of "endangered species" is being used by radical "tree hugger" environmentalists to shut down big areas of the rural parts of the state from being open to recreation, resource use, development, and water access. The Sage Grouse, wolves, tiny insects, exotic fish, scarce plants and many other species are keeping our neighbors from making a living on their farms and ranches. Our lands are also under attack from the closing of roads that have been open and used for generations. The loss of the roads prevents important grazing, recreation, resource development, and proper management of our forests and wild lands from occurring.
On the other hand, an important bill, HB 142, "Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office Amendments", has been passed in the house and is on its way to the Senate. It will allow for a detailed inventory of the resources, size, and value of all the public lands in the state. That will give us a good basis for understanding the need for the transfer of public lands from federal ownership to the state.
On a different note, gun legislation always gets a lot of attention. A good compromise that was passed this week involved a bill that allows a person the 2nd Amendment right (to openly carry a weapon) to also be allowed to cover the weapon for protection from the weather or for the comfort of people in their vicinity. This bill will allow the open carry of guns, with the added convenience to cover the weapon if needed.