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H.J.R. 21






Chief Sponsor: Roger E. Barrus

Senate Sponsor: Scott K. Jenkins

             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This joint resolution of the Legislature urges Congress to adopt legislation authorizing
             11      Western States to make selections of public land within their borders under certain
             12      circumstances.
             13      Highlighted Provisions:
             14          This resolution urges Congress to adopt legislation authorizing Western States to make
             15      selections of public land within their borders in lieu of receiving 5% of the proceeds of
             16      the sale of public land lying within the state as provided by certain states' enabling acts.
             17      Special Clauses:
             18          None
             20      Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             21          WHEREAS, for purposes of this resolution:
             22          (1) "Federally owned land" means all land held in the name of the United States or any
             23      agency of the United States, including land held in trust, United States military reservations,
             24      Indian reservations, and any other land used for federal purposes.
             25          (2) (a) "Unappropriated public lands" means all land under the management and
             26      control of the Bureau of Land Management or United States Forest Service.
             27          (b) "Unappropriated public lands" do not include lands which are:

             28          (i) held in trust;
             29          (ii) located within a United States military reservation;
             30          (iii) a unit of the National Park System;
             31          (iv) a Wildlife Refuge;
             32          (v) a Wilderness Area designated by Congress; or
             33          (vi) a National Historic Site.
             34          (3) "Western States" means Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho,
             35      Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
             36          WHEREAS, Western States, as a group, are falling behind in education funding as
             37      measured from 1979 to 2007 by growth of real per pupil expenditures of 56% compared to
             38      92% in the remaining states;
             39          WHEREAS, 11 of the 17 states with the lowest real growth in per pupil expenditures
             40      are Western States;
             41          WHEREAS, one effect of less funding for public education in the West is higher
             42      pupil-per-teacher ratios;
             43          WHEREAS, nine of the 12 states with the largest pupil-per-teacher ratios are Western
             44      States;
             45          WHEREAS, on average, the 13 Western States have 3.7 more students per classroom
             46      than the remaining 37 states;
             47          WHEREAS, between 2012 and 2018, the rate of enrollment growth in Western States is
             48      projected to increase 9%, while the rate of enrollment growth in other states is projected to
             49      increase by only 3.3%;
             50          WHEREAS, state and local taxes of Western States, as a percentage of personal
             51      income, are as high as or higher than other states;
             52          WHEREAS, despite the fact that Western States tax at a comparable rate and allocate
             53      nearly as much of their budgets to public education as other states, Western States have lower
             54      real growth in per pupil expenditures and have higher pupil-per-teacher ratios;
             55          WHEREAS, the federal government is the source of and has the potential to solve the
             56      problem because of the enormous amount of federally owned land in Western States;
             57          WHEREAS, all states east of an imaginary vertical line from Montana to New Mexico
             58      have, on average, 4.1% of their land federally owned, while the Western States on average have

             59      51.9% of their land federally owned;
             60          WHEREAS, many of the Acts enabling the people of American West territories to form
             61      their constitutions and state governments and providing for the admission of those states into
             62      the Union on equal footing with the original states, included a common provision of which the
             63      following example is typical: "That five per centum of the proceeds of the sales of public land
             64      lying within said state, which shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of
             65      said State into the Union, after deducting all the expenses incident to the same, shall be paid to
             66      the said state, to be used as a permanent fund, the interest of which only shall be expended for
             67      the support of the common schools within said state.";
             68          WHEREAS, the plain language of these enabling acts proclaims that the public land
             69      shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of the states into the Union;
             70          WHEREAS, the United States honored this language by selling public land within the
             71      Western States until the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976,
             72      wherein Congress declared that the policy of the United States was to retain public land in
             73      federal ownership and management;
             74          WHEREAS, the United States has broken its solemn compact with the Western States
             75      and breached its fiduciary duty to the school children who are designated beneficiaries of the
             76      sale of public land under the terms of the respective enabling Acts of many Western States;
             77          WHEREAS, the current shortfall in funding public education in the Western States
             78      requires immediate Congressional action to remedy this discriminatory federal land policy and
             79      prevent the further disadvantaging of the school children of the Western States; and
             80          WHEREAS, the most efficient and cost effective remedy now available to the United
             81      States is to grant to the Western States 5% of the remaining federally owned land located
             82      within each state and authorize each state to select land from the unappropriated public land of
             83      the United States within the boundaries of each state to satisfy the grant:
             84          NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah
             85      urges Congress to adopt legislation that would include the following provisions:
             86          (1) instead of receiving, for the support of the common schools, 5% of the proceeds of
             87      the sales of federally owned land lying within the Western States which have not been sold by
             88      the United States, grants of land will be made to each Western State in the amount of land
             89      equal to 5% of the number of acres of federally owned land within the state;

             90          (2) each Western State shall select from the unappropriated public lands within the
             91      borders of the state in a manner determined by the legislature of the state, land equal in acreage
             92      to 5% of the federally owned land in the state;
             93          (3) selection and transfer of land to Western States shall not be considered a major
             94      federal action for the purposes of section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act
             95      of 1969;
             96          (4) (a) all mineral, oil, and gas rights to the land selected by the Western States shall
             97      become the property of that Western State unless the federal lessee of the selected land is
             98      making royalty payments to the United States from production of minerals, oil, or gas, in which
             99      case that leasehold interest shall remain in the ownership of the United States until the
             100      leasehold interest terminates; and
             101          (b) after the leasehold interest described in Subsection (4)(a) terminates, the mineral,
             102      oil, and gas rights shall become the property of the respective Western State; and
             103          (5) all land selected by each of the Western States shall be held in trust by a state
             104      educational agency empowered to sell or lease the land, the proceeds of which shall be used as
             105      a permanent fund, the interest of which shall be expended only for the support of public
             106      education.
             107          BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Majority
             108      leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives,
             109      the President of the United States, and Utah's Congressional Delegation.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-2-11 9:25 AM

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