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H.B. 148

             1     

TRANSFER OF PUBLIC LANDS ACT AND RELATED

             2     
STUDY

             3     
2012 GENERAL SESSION

             4     
STATE OF UTAH

             5     
Chief Sponsor: Ken Ivory

             6     
Senate Sponsor: Wayne L. Niederhauser

             7     
             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This bill addresses issues related to public lands, including the transfer of title to public
             11      lands to the state and requiring the Constitutional Defense Council to study or draft
             12      proposed legislation on certain issues related to public lands.
             13      Highlighted Provisions:
             14          This bill:
             15          .    enacts the Transfer of Public Lands Act;
             16          .    defines terms;
             17          .    requires the United States to extinguish title to public lands and transfer title to
             18      those public lands to the state on or before December 31, 2014;
             19          .    provides that if the state transfers title to public lands with respect to which the state
             20      receives title to the public lands under the Transfer of Public Lands Act, the state
             21      shall retain 5% of the net proceeds the state receives, and pay 95% of the net
             22      proceeds the state receives to the United States;
             23          .    provides that the 5% of the net proceeds of those sales of public lands shall be
             24      deposited into the permanent State School Fund;
             25          .    provides a severability clause;
             26          .    requires the Constitutional Defense Council to study or draft legislation on certain
             27      issues related to the transfer, management, and taxation of public lands, including:


             28              .    drafting proposed legislation creating a public lands commission; and
             29              .    establishing actions that shall be taken to secure, preserve, and protect the state's
             30      rights and benefits related to the United States' duty to have extinguished title to
             31      public lands and transferred title to those public lands to the state; and
             32          .    makes technical and conforming changes.
             33      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             34          None
             35      Other Special Clauses:
             36          This bill provides an immediate effective date.
             37      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             38      ENACTS:
             39          63L-6-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             40          63L-6-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             41          63L-6-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             42          63L-6-104, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             43      Uncodified Material Affected:
             44      ENACTS UNCODIFIED MATERIAL
             45     
             46      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             47          Section 1. Section 63L-6-101 is enacted to read:
             48     
CHAPTER 6. TRANSFER OF PUBLIC LANDS ACT

             49          63L-6-101. Title.
             50          This chapter is known as the "Transfer of Public Lands Act."
             51          Section 2. Section 63L-6-102 is enacted to read:
             52          63L-6-102. Definitions.
             53          As used in this chapter:
             54          (1) "Governmental entity" is as defined in Section 59-2-511 .
             55          (2) "Net proceeds" means the proceeds from the sale of public lands, after subtracting
             56      expenses incident to the sale of the public lands.
             57          (3) "Public lands" means lands within the exterior boundaries of this state except:
             58          (a) lands to which title is held by a person who is not a governmental entity;


             59          (b) lands owned or held in trust by this state, a political subdivision of this state, or an
             60      independent entity;
             61          (c) lands reserved for use by the state system of public education as described in Utah
             62      Constitution Article X, Section 2, or a state institution of higher education listed in Section
             63      53B-1-102 ;
             64          (d) school and institutional trust lands as defined in Section 53C-1-103 ;
             65          (e) a national park affirmatively ceded to the United States by state statute;
             66          (f) public lands that:
             67          (i) on January 1, 2012, are designated as part of the National Wilderness Preservation
             68      System under the Wilderness Act of 1964, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1131 et seq.; and
             69          (ii) are affirmatively ceded to the United States by state statute;
             70          (g) lands with respect to which the jurisdiction is ceded to the United States as
             71      provided in Section 63L-1-201 or 63L-1-203 ;
             72          (h) real property or tangible personal property owned by the United States if the
             73      property is within the boundaries of a municipality; or
             74          (i) lands, including water rights, belonging to an Indian or Indian tribe, band, or
             75      community that is held in trust by the United States or is subject to a restriction against
             76      alienation imposed by the United States.
             77          Section 3. Section 63L-6-103 is enacted to read:
             78          63L-6-103. Transfer of public lands.
             79          (1) On or before December 31, 2014, the United States shall:
             80          (a) extinguish title to public lands; and
             81          (b) transfer title to public lands to the state.
             82          (2) If the state transfers title to any public lands with respect to which the state receives
             83      title under Subsection (1)(b), the state shall:
             84          (a) retain 5% of the net proceeds the state receives from the transfer of title; and
             85          (b) pay 95% of the net proceeds the state receives from the transfer of title to the
             86      United States.
             87          (3) In accordance with Utah Constitution Article X, Section 5, the amounts the state
             88      retains in accordance with Subsection (2)(a) shall be deposited into the permanent State School
             89      Fund.


             90          Section 4. Section 63L-6-104 is enacted to read:
             91          63L-6-104. Severability clause.
             92          If any provision of this chapter or the application of any provision to any person or
             93      circumstance is held invalid by a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, the
             94      remainder of this chapter shall be given effect without the invalid provision or application. The
             95      provisions of this chapter are severable.
             96          Section 5. Constitutional Defense Council study.
             97          (1) During the 2012 interim, the Constitutional Defense Council created in Section
             98      63C-4-101 shall prepare proposed legislation:
             99          (a) creating a public lands commission to:
             100          (i) administer the transfer of title of public lands to the state; and
             101          (ii) address the management of public lands and the management of multiple uses of
             102      public lands, including addressing managing open space, access to public lands, local planning,
             103      and the sustainable yield of natural resources on public lands;
             104          (b) to establish actions that shall be taken to secure, preserve, and protect the state's
             105      rights and benefits related to the United States' duty to have extinguished title to public lands,
             106      in the event that the United States does not meet the requirements of Title 63L, Chapter 6,
             107      Transfer of Public Lands Act;
             108          (c) making any necessary modifications to the definition of "public lands" in Section
             109      63L-6-102 ;
             110          (d) making a determination of or a process for determining interests, rights, or uses
             111      related to:
             112          (i) easements;
             113          (ii) geothermal resources;
             114          (iii) grazing;
             115          (iv) mining;
             116          (v) recreation;
             117          (vi) rights of entry;
             118          (vii) special uses;
             119          (viii) timber;
             120          (ix) water; or


             121          (x) other natural resources or other resources;
             122          (e) to establish the conditions under which the state shall cede a national park to the
             123      United States, which may include:
             124          (i) any circumstances under which a national park shall revert to the state;
             125          (ii) the retention of interests, rights, or uses described in Subsection (1)(d); and
             126          (iii) whether the state should retain any power to:
             127          (A) impose a tax, fee, or charge on activities conducted within a national park; or
             128          (B) serve civil or criminal process on a person who is within the boundaries of a
             129      national park;
             130          (f) to preserve as wilderness public lands that, on January 1, 2012, are designated as
             131      part of the National Wilderness Preservation System under the Wilderness Act of 1964, 16
             132      U.S.C. Sec. 1131 et seq.; and
             133          (g) determining what constitutes "expenses incident to the sale of public lands"
             134      described in Subsection 63L-6-102 (2).
             135          (2) During the 2012 interim, the Constitutional Defense Council created in Section
             136      63C-4-101 shall study and determine whether to prepare proposed legislation:
             137          (a) to administer the process for:
             138          (i) the United States to extinguish title to public lands;
             139          (ii) the state to receive title to public lands from the United States; or
             140          (iii) the state to transfer title to any public lands the state receives in accordance with
             141      Title 63L, Chapter 6, Transfer of Public Lands Act;
             142          (b) establishing a prioritized list of management actions for the state and the political
             143      subdivisions of the state to perform on public lands:
             144          (i) before and after the United States extinguishes title to public lands; and
             145          (ii) to preserve and promote the state's interest in:
             146          (A) protecting public health and safety;
             147          (B) preventing catastrophic wild fire and forest insect infestation;
             148          (C) preserving watersheds;
             149          (D) preserving and enhancing energy and the production of minerals;
             150          (E) preserving and improving range conditions; and
             151          (F) increasing plant diversity and reducing invasive weeds on range and woodland


             152      portions of the public lands;
             153          (c) establishing procedures and requirements for subjecting public lands to property
             154      taxation;
             155          (d) establishing other requirements related to national forests, national monuments,
             156      national recreation areas, or other public lands administered by the United States; and
             157          (e) addressing the indemnification of a political subdivision of the state for actions
             158      taken in furtherance of Title 63L, Chapter 6, Transfer of Public Lands Act.
             159          (3) The Constitutional Defense Council may study any other issue related to public
             160      lands as determined by the Constitutional Defense Council.
             161          (4) The Constitutional Defense Council shall:
             162          (a) make a preliminary report on its study and preparation of proposed legislation to the
             163      Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee:
             164          (i) on or before the June 2012 interim meeting; and
             165          (ii) on or before the September 2012 interim meeting; and
             166          (b) report on its findings, recommendations, and proposed legislation to the Natural
             167      Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee on or before the November 2012
             168      interim meeting.
             169          Section 6. Effective date.
             170          If approved by two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, this bill takes effect
             171      upon approval by the governor, or the day following the constitutional time limit of Utah
             172      Constitution Article VII, Section 8, without the governor's signature, or in the case of a veto,
             173      the date of veto override.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-14-12 12:40 PM


As required by legislative rules and practice, the Office of Legislative Research and General
Counsel provides the following legislative review note to assist the Legislature in making its
own determination as to the constitutionality of the bill. The note is based on an analysis of
relevant state and federal constitutional law as applied to the bill. The note is not written for the
purpose of influencing whether the bill should become law, but is written to provide
information relevant to legislators' consideration of this bill. The note is not a substitute for the
judgment of the judiciary, which has authority to determine the constitutionality of a law in the
context of a specific case.


This bill enacts the Transfer of Public Lands Act, which requires the United States to
extinguish title to public lands and transfer title to public lands to the state on or before
December 31, 2014.
If challenged, this bill raises questions of who has the right to dispose of and possess the land
held by the United States.

The "Property Clause" of the Constitution of the United States authorizes Congress "to dispose
of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property
belonging to the United States . . ." U.S. Const. art. IV, sec. 3, cl. 2. The Supreme Court of the
United States has held that "Congress has the same power over [territory] as over any other
property belonging to the United States; and this power is vested in Congress without
limitation . . ." United States v. Gratiot, 39 U.S. 526, 537 (1840). See also Kleppe v. New
Mexico,
426 U.S. 529, 539 (1976). Pursuant to its broad authority under the Property Clause,
Congress may enact legislation to manage or sell federal land, and any legislation Congress
enacts "necessarily overrides conflicting state laws under the Supremacy Clause." Kleppe, 426
U.S. at 543. See U.S. Const. art. VI, cl. 2.

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that "[w]ith respect to the public domain, the
Constitution vests in Congress the power of disposition and of making all needful rules and
regulations. That power is subject to no limitations. Congress has the absolute right to
prescribe the times, the conditions, and the mode of transferring this property, or any part of it,
and to designate the persons to whom the transfer shall be made. No State legislation can
interfere with this right or embarrass its exercise; and to prevent the possibility of any
attempted interference with it, a provision has been usually inserted in the compacts by which
new States have been admitted to the Union, that such interference with the primary disposal of
the soil of the United States shall never be made." Gibson v. Chouteau, 80 U.S. 92 (1872).

The Transfer of Public Lands Act requires that the United States extinguish title to public lands
and transfer title to those public lands to Utah by a date certain. Under the Gibson case, that
requirement would interfere with Congress' power to dispose of public lands. Thus, that
requirement, and any attempt by Utah in the future to enforce the requirement, have a high
probability of being declared unconstitutional.



Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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