Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Utah Land Protection Act - 2012

The Utah Lands Protection Act (2012) – Rep. Fred Cox

Redefines "Sovereign lands" to include those lands:

owned by the state by virtue of its sovereignty; including land previously claimed by the federal government that is:

claimed by the state through judgment, decree, purchase, compact, exchange, gift, other conveyance, the United States Constitution, or other law;

reclaimed by the state through judgment, decree, purchase, compact, exchange, gift, other conveyance, the United States Constitution, or other law; or

obtained by the state through judgment, decree, purchase, compact, exchange, gift, other conveyance, the United States Constitution, or other law.

"Sovereign lands" does not include property owned by the federal government in accordance with the United States Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 17, or trust lands,

If any United States public lands owned or claimed by the federal government on January 1, 2012 become sovereign lands, then the State School Fund, pursuant to Utah Constitution shall receive 5% of the net proceeds from the sale of those lands.

If any of the following become sovereign lands, the division may not sell the sovereign lands or substantially change the management policies that relate to those sovereign lands from the management policies that were in effect for those sovereign lands on January 1, 2012:

(a) Arches National Park;

(b) Bryce Canyon National Park;

(c) Canyonlands National Park;

(d) Capitol Reef National Park; or

(e) Zion National Park.

Utah Land
The principle behind the bill is that under the US Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 8, Clause 17, and the 10th amendment, the Federal Government can not exercise exclusive jurisdiction or own land in Utah, unless it is for Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings, and it was purchased by the Consent of the Utah Legislature. Clearly the 2/3 of the land in Utah "claimed" by the Federal Government does not fit within this constitutional power.

My contention is that Congress, the President, the US Supreme Court do NOT have constitutional authority to exercise exclusive jurisdiction or own land in Utah, and that the Utah Enabling Act, Sec 3, 4th paragraph and the Utah Constitution Article 3, section 2, be declared void ab initio, which means "to be treated as invalid from the outset," based on US Constitution Art. 1, Sec. 8, Clause 17 and the 10th amendment. As a State, the land should be Utah's
based on "equal footing" with the original 13 States.

Even if that Utah Enabling Act section be determined to be US Constitutional, the Federal Government promised in that agreement to sell the 2/3 of Utah, and not to keep it. They officially violated that agreement with FLIPMA in 1976, leaving Utah and not the Federal Government, jurisdiction and the owner of 2/3 of the land.

Also, the U.S. Supreme Court, decided in 1987
Utah Div. of State Lands v. United States, 482 U.S. 193 (1987)

After the Federal Government, in 1976, issued oil and gas leases for lands underlying Utah Lake, a navigable body of water located in Utah, the State brought suit in Federal District Court for injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that it, rather than the United States, had title to the lakebed under the equal footing doctrine. Under that doctrine, the United States holds the lands under navigable waters in the Territories in trust for the future States, and, absent a prior conveyance by the Federal Government to third parties, a State acquires title to such lands upon entering the Union on an "equal footing" with the original 13 States. The Utah Enabling Act of 1894 provided that Utah was to be so admitted.

Held: Title to Utah Lake's bed passed to Utah under the equal footing doctrine upon Utah's admission to the Union.


It is time the Federal Government recognize Utah is a State and not a Territory.

For a draft copy of my bill see:

For an article about the bill and protecting our land, see:

Additional information:
The framework for sovereign land management is found in the Utah Constitution (Article XX), state statute (primarily Chapter 65A-10), and administrative rule (R652). Article XX of the Utah Constitution accepts sovereign lands to be held in trust for the people and managed for the purposes for which the lands were acquired. Section 65A-2-1 of the Utah Code provides: “The division [of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, FFSL] shall administer state lands under comprehensive land management programs using multiple-use, sustained-yield principles.”

Utah Lake example:
Although sovereign land planning and management responsibilities lie with FFSL, other divisions of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also have management responsibilities for resources on and around Utah Lake. The Division of Wildlife Resources, for example, has plenary authority for managing wildlife in, on and around the lake. The Division of Parks and Recreation manages Utah Lake State Park and coordinates search and rescue and boating enforcement on the lake. The Division of Water Rights regulates the diversion and use of lake and tributary waters. The Division of Water Resources conducts studies, investigations and plans for water use. DNR divisions also regulate mineral extraction activities, conduct hydrologic research and identify and map geologic hazards around the lake.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Endorsement of Cherilyn Eagar for Congress

I have been associated with Cherilyn Eagar for years. I was active in helping her team when she ran for US Senate. I have watched her tireless effort in promoting conservative values, that didn’t diminish when that race was over. Her extensive knowledge of the US Constitution along with State, National and International policies and situations is simply amazing.

As a newly appointed member of the Utah House of Representatives, I have found that bills being drafted or debated often contain conflicting ideas and principles and that it is sometimes very difficult to determine which way to vote. While I have watched others be overly critical of that process, Cherilyn has been only supportive, even when she didn’t agree. I have watched her be firm in principles and values while continuing always to learn. It is with that background that I endorse Cherilyn Eagar for the US House of Representatives as someone I trust and that will represent Utah well.

For more information about Cherilyn Eagar


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Friday, August 12, 2011

West Valley City raises property taxes - option 3

A big thank you to the City Council for cutting the West Valley City budget shortfall so property taxes were not raised 2 or 3 times as much.

Based on current commitments, I believe there was only 3 choices for the proposed budget year.

For the 2012 budget, raise taxes, cut programs, or use one time money to cover the shortfall.

For the following year, there could be other savings, but you need to get a lot deeper than the 20 page version of the budget most people didn't even see to find most of them.

Someone this last week, either the council or the city manager, decided option 3 wasn't going to be used and pulled $3.2 million one time revenue out of the general budget and moved it to another account. That meant they had to find over $3 million in general budget savings in a week, which was done.

That accomplished, if they had simply put the $3.2 million back in, they could have deleted the property tax increase. It wouldn't have pretty, but could make a big difference in a lot of WVC businesses that are struggling to stay open, or waiters or waitresses that are now looking for another job because they can't afford to work for a WVC restaurant clinging to stay open.

Again, you hit businesses and people with any tax increase when there is a depression and you increase the number of people you see living out of their car and the number of businesses boarded up. Again, I don't like one time money bridging on going operation budget gaps, but it would have been better than what they did.

When faced with tough choices, it is easy for those outside to criticize, while those we delegate the responsibility to make the best choice they can with the information they have. If we don't tell them what we are thinking, how will they know?

I applaud those on the council that had enough backbone to do what they thought was the best choice when they knew it wasn't going to be popular.

I do not, however, believe that raising taxes was the answer.