Utah lawmakers OK bill forcing public lands lawsuit



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A bill that would set a hard deadline for Utah to sue the federal government over public lands has cleared its first hurdle at the Utah Legislature.

Senators on a natural resources committee voted 4-2 to approve the bill Wednesday afternoon.

Salt Lake City Sen. Jim Dabakis sponsors the bill, which gives Attorney General Sean Reyes until June 30, 2016 to file a lawsuit.

Dabakis says the lawsuit will settle a long debate about control of Utah's public lands.

Utah passed a law in 2012 demanding that the federal government hand over control of more than 30 million acres of land by 2015.

That deadline has quietly passed but lawmakers say they may press the issue in court.

Utah Republicans argue the state would be a better land manager.

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Online: SB 105: http://1.usa.gov/1BWP2hb

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The Associated Press

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