For Immediate Release
Paul Murphy, Utah Attorney General’s Office:
Attorney General John Swallow will defend a new state law that prohibits federal land management officers from acting as state and local law enforcement officers. The United States filed a lawsuit against the state of Utah today attempting to block HB 155, the Federal Law Enforcement Amendments bill, from going into effect.
Assistant Attorney General Paul Tonks agreed with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to a temporary restraining order this afternoon in exchange for a coordinated briefing schedule and expedited hearing. HB 155 prohibits Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service agents from enforcing state and local laws, or federal regulations that mirror state and local laws, on public lands under federal administration.
“We don’t want Utah citizens going before a federal magistrate for a speeding ticket,”says Attorney General Swallow. “Federal officers should be enforcing federal laws and state and local officers should be enforcing state and local laws. We are concerned about the federal government once again encroaching on states rights and we will vigorously defend the constitutionality of HB 155.”
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel and passed this year with overwhelming bipartisan support. “This is an important fight and we need to draw the line,” said Rep. Noel. “ I appreciate the hard work and support of state attorneys to stand up for Utah and local law enforcement officers. If we don’t stand up for Utah residents we will lose ground and our rights.”
The Utah Attorney General’s Office will prepare a brief on May 28 and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will reply on June 7. U.S. District Judge David Nuffer will hear oral arguments on June 28.