Environment & Public Lands
1:33 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Repeal of HB 155 on Special Session Agenda

  One of the items on the agenda of Wednesday’s special legislative session is the possible repeal of a controversial bill restricting the authority of federal law enforcement officers.  KUER’s Dan Bammes has more.

House Bill 155 limits the authority of Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service personnel to enforce state laws on public land, and threatens them with prosecution if they try it.  A federal court has issued an injunction preventing the state from implementing the law.

Republican Mike Noel, the original sponsor, says one sticking point that needs a second look is the question of state officers arresting federal personnel.

“We’re gonna re-look at this issue," Noel told KUER.  "We don’t want it to be a volatile situation.  We were hoping the federal government would stand down on this issue.”

Democratic State Representative Brian King voted against the bill in the general session, but he says repealing it needs more discussion than it’s likely to get.

King told KUER, “I don’t like the idea of being called into a special session – within a day or two – and being asked to consider repealing a bill that there’s been no discussion short of the special session itself as to what the problems with the bill are and why it should be repealed.”

Noel says new legislation is being drafted now that should be ready by the time the session begins.  Because the case is currently in the courts, he wouldn’t say exactly what it will contain or how it might be different from current law.