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H.B. 68






Chief Sponsor: Kay L. McIff

Senate Sponsor: ____________

             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This bill defines the state's public trust obligations and declares that certain water rights
             11      constitute property rights protected by the Utah Constitution.
             12      Highlighted Provisions:
             13          This bill:
             14          .    defines the state's public trust obligations;
             15          .    declares that certain water rights constitute property rights protected by the Utah
             16      Constitution; and
             17          .    makes technical changes.
             18      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             19          None
             20      Other Special Clauses:
             21          None
             22      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             23      AMENDS:
             24          73-1-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 410
             25      ENACTS:
             26          65A-15-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             27          65A-15-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953

             29      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             30          Section 1. Section 65A-15-101 is enacted to read:

             32          65A-15-101. Title.
             33          This chapter is known as "State Public Trust Obligations."
             34          Section 2. Section 65A-15-102 is enacted to read:
             35          65A-15-102. State public trust obligations.
             36          (1) The state's public trust obligations are limited to public trust obligations defined by:
             37          (a) federal law, including federal law applicable to the beds of navigable bodies of
             38      water;
             39          (b) the Utah Constitution, including public trust obligations relating to state-owned
             40      lands under Utah Constitution, Article XX, Section 1; and
             41          (c) the Utah Code, including public trust obligations relating to:
             42          (i) sovereign lands as defined in Section 65A-1-1 ; and
             43          (ii) public ownership of water, as described in Section 73-1-1 .
             44          (2) (a) The state does not recognize a public trust obligation that is not described in
             45      Subsection (1).
             46          (b) Nothing in this section is intended to limit the state's use of its police powers or
             47      other legal means to protect public or private lands.
             48          (3) In exercising a public trust obligation described in Subsection (1), the state may not
             49      violate property protections of the Utah Constitution, including:
             50          (a) Utah Constitution, Article I, Sections 1 and 22; and
             51          (b) Utah Constitution, Article XVII, Section 1.
             52          (4) (a) To the extent a state public trust obligation related to public ownership of water
             53      exists under Subsection (1)(c)(ii), the state fulfills its public trust obligation through legislative
             54      enactment of laws regulating the use of water.
             55          (b) An appropriation of water for beneficial use, made in accordance with applicable
             56      law, satisfies the state's public trust obligation for that appropriation.
             57          (c) In advancing a claimed public trust violation, neither the state nor any other party
             58      may use the state's public trust obligation as grounds to reduce a quantity of water being put to

             59      beneficial use under an appropriation made in accordance with applicable law.
             60          (5) The state fulfills its public trust obligations related to public land through
             61      legislative enactment of laws regulating public land.
             62          Section 3. Section 73-1-1 is amended to read:
             63           73-1-1. Waters declared property of public -- Property right related to water.
             64          (1) All waters in this state, whether above or under the ground, are hereby declared to
             65      be the property of the public, subject to all existing rights to the use thereof.
             66          (2) The declaration of public ownership of water in Subsection (1) does not create or
             67      recognize an easement for public recreational use on private property.
             68          (3) The Legislature shall govern the use of public water for beneficial purposes, as
             69      limited by constitutional protections for private property.
             70          (4) The appropriation of water for beneficial use in accordance with applicable law
             71      constitutes a property right protected under Utah Constitution, Article I, Sections 1 and 22 and
             72      Article XVII, Section 1.
             73          [(4)] (5) The right of the public to use public water for recreational purposes is
             74      governed by Chapter 29, Public Waters Access Act.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-15-13 4:18 PM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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