Author Topic: Bill targets OHV law enforcement in national forests  (Read 1061 times)

Offline Peter Vahry

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Bill targets OHV law enforcement in national forests
« on: April 12, 2013, 04:48:30 am »
hursday, April 11, 2013
By Jessica Boehm
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Under a state law that took effect in 2009, an Arizona Game and Fish Department officer enforcing hunting laws on federal land is supposed to stop someone from riding an off-highway vehicle in an area closed to OHV use.

To Jack Husted, chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, that requirement takes away from an officer’s duties, which also include enforcing state laws on fishing and boating safety.

“We don’t think that a federal rulemaking body should be able to make rules and make a state peace officer enforce those rules for them,” he said.

Sen. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, has authored legislation that would remove areas governed by federal agencies from the scope of the state’s law on OHV use. At present, the law applies to roads, trails, routes or areas closed to OHVs or designated for OHV use by federal agencies, the state, a county or a municipality.

Crandell’s legislation, a strike-everything amendment to HB 2551, won an endorsement Thursday from the Senate Committee of the Whole, setting up a vote by the full Senate that would send it back to the House to consider the changes.

Concerns raised by Crandell and Husted center on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2005 Travel Management Rule, which requires national forests and grasslands to designate which roads, trails and areas are open to motor vehicle use.

Crandell said state tax dollars shouldn’t go toward enforcing federal rules.

“I think the issue is the unfunded mandate that we have roads here that we expect you to enforce and take care of and we’re not going to put any money into it,” Crandell told the Senate Government and Environment Committee on March 21. “It’s your job to follow our rules that we’ve put in place and, by the way, you’re going to have to do it with your own resources to take care of that.”

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