Court Blocks Utah Law Restricting Federal Agents' Power To Enforce State Law

Utah is trying to limit D.C. authority over vast public lands


A federal judge signed an order Monday blocking implementation of a Utah law prohibiting some Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service employees from enforcing state laws anywhere in Utah after the U.S. Department of Justice argued the law was unconstitutional.

HB155, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, makes it a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, for federal employees who are not certified law enforcement officers to enforce any state law within Utah.

In a filing Monday, the Justice Department said that Congress has the authority to make laws governing federal lands and that the Utah Legislature does not have the power to overturn or supersede those laws and rules.

The federal regulations governing the officers and land have been written to incorporate state laws and local ordinances.