Friday, March 25, 2016

Bill to gut federal law enforcement on federal land

A Utah congressman wants to eliminate the law enforcement functions of the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service — agencies at the center of recent high profile standoffs with anti-government groups. The 10-page bill, titled “Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act of 2016,” would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to take charge during incidents on federal land rather than the federal agencies tasked with overseeing the area. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, joined by three other Utah Republican representatives, introduced the bill on March 16, which had been referred to the House Agriculture committee. The group issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind the legislation. “Federal agencies do not enjoy the same level of trust and respect as local law enforcement that are deeply rooted in local communities,” they said, adding that the measure “will help deescalate conflicts between law enforcement and local residents while improving transparency and accountability.” Chaffetz’s office released the statement alongside a letter of support by the Utah Sheriffs Association. The organization said it has a “strong heritage in keeping the authority of the Sheriff a top priority.” “The Utah Sheriffs Association has seen federal officials try and usurp this authority by enacting laws and regulations that mirror state law,” the group said...more

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