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Thread: Utah's Public Water Use Bill HB-80

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Terrapin Station
    Posts
    41

    Default Utah's Public Water Use Bill HB-80

    If you have ever fished in Idaho, Oregon or Montana and enjoyed fishing rivers through private land legally now is your chance to help Utah push this bill through the legislature. The opposition had sent a bill through last year that was defeated in the house thank GOD!!! If the previous bill had been passed, rivers through public land would have been illegal, even though the water is public. Utah had spent millions of dollars to revamp the Provo River to make it one of the best Blue Ribbon rivers in the nation. If the defeated bill would have passed all that work would have been wasted. Land owners could have posted no trespassing signs and deemed the access illegal. Just as home owners provide an easement in front of their home called a sidewalk for public to use, us fisherman, hunters, boaters and any recreators feel we should have the same right on public water. It works in Idaho and Montana and probably other states.
    We anglers have worked hard getting ahold of our senators and representatives e mailing calling and even so much as one on one talks with officials to bring to light the advantages this new bill will have for our future recreators. Lorie Fowlkes, a Utah representative has drafted a bill after spending countless hours on tours and conversing with anglers on the issues at hand. She has come up with a bill that would benefit every recreator in the state of Utah. This bill will even protect landowners as the bill stipulates education to those who plan to recreate these waters. This bill is a WIN WIN situation. We anglers feel that this is setting the stage for other states and would like to set an example as Idaho and Montana. California anglers, this could be an issue for you in the future as well.
    Legislature will start hearing in Feburary, while we know that it would be difficult for you to attend these meetings and quite costly, we have hired a lobbyist to have our voice more effectively heard. We have raised $16,000 so far roughly and would like to raise another $14000. We have a paypal link set up directly to Hartley and associates if you would like to help. Our motto is 200 people $50 thats all we need. If economic times have got ya strapped do what you can it all helps.

    I want to thank you for your time and if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me throught this site.

    TIGHT LINES BROTHERS!!!!

    Current Bill we need to pass
    http://le.utah.gov/~2010/bills/hbillint/hb0080.pdf

    Old BIll from 2009 ammended and defeated 3 times
    http://le.utah.gov/~2009/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0187.htm

    Results
    http://le.utah.gov/~2009/status/hbil...187s3.007h.txt


    Utah Water GUardians
    http://utahwaterguardians.org/

    Utah On The FLy current thread 200 @ $50
    http://www.utahonthefly.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=22506












  2. #2

    Question Relevance

    Nova -

    There was quite a discussion here on the BB of the Utah Supreme Court decision back in '08. That decision was based on the Utah Constitution and centered on the word "utilize" as used in the Constitution as it applies to the public waters flowing through private land in Utah.

    The law that you are asking for us to support, with or without our dollars, doesn't seem necessary. Those who want to change the law ( as stated in the Utah Supreme Court decision ) have failed in the State Legislature. And even if they passed a law, it would almost certainly be held unconstitutional because a simple act of the legislature can not amend the State Constitution. It seems to me that your opponents have to attack by trying to amend the Constitution, and that the bill you are asking us to support won't change the ultimate outcome one way or the other.

    Also, since the use of public water over private property is different in different states because of their different Constitutions and State Laws, what Utah ultimately does has little bearing on what Wyoming or California, or any other state might decide to do.

    Please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from lending support to your cause - just trying to understand why you are pursuing it when it seems unnecessary ?? Also, is there a prospect that this effort could backfire ??

    John
    The fish are always right.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Riverton, WY
    Posts
    511

    Default

    If only Wyoming became wader friendly... *sigh*

    Last OctoberI was heading to SLC for some stuff. I was surprised by the # of fisherman (mostly FF) that were fishing the stream that leads into Echo Reservoir.

    Paul
    Life is expensive... but it does include a free trip around the sun.
    Mottled Fly Fisher - My Fishing Blog

  4. #4

    Default Relevance....

    When the Utah supreme court made its decision in '08 the decision left a lot of gray areas and room for interpretation. In turn spawning HB187. HB187 was a bill that attempted to take advantage of those gray areas, for example, redefining the term navigable waters.
    If HB187 had passed Utah anglers, boaters, bird watchers and others would have lost more water use than we had before the Supreme Court decision.

    The whole point to HB80 is a proactive approach to passing a bill that is both a fair compromise for the private land owner and the Utah public who have the right to recreate on Utah rivers. With HB80 we hope to shed light on all the gray areas that the Supreme Court left in their ruling by defining more clearly what legal access and use is on private land. If left undefined there is no shortage of special interest groups that would love to give there own definitions and take advantage of these gray areas.

    By passing HB80 Utah anglers will be able to actually go and fish rather than spend their time fighting bill after bill trying to take that right away.

    As for its relevance to any other state that is simple, water rights and access is not only an issue in Utah. When it comes time to defend your public waters it would be beneficial to have an example of working legislation in other states. Law makers are trendy and it seems that once one state makes the effort to induce change, other states tend to follow.

    For the record, I am from Utah and this is very important to me and my family. We have made our donations and lent our support. Actually, my wife took all of the above pictures when we attended the HB187 rally on Utah Capital Hill last year. With that said I am not looking to get in to a legal debate over this, I have done of that plenty over the last year i just want every one to understand that this is not just a Utah thing. We just happen to be fighting our battle now.
    Ben.
    Last edited by ben; 01-30-2010 at 04:08 AM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnScott View Post
    The law that you are asking for us to support, with or without our dollars, doesn't seem necessary. Those who want to change the law ( as stated in the Utah Supreme Court decision ) have failed in the State Legislature. And even if they passed a law, it would almost certainly be held unconstitutional because a simple act of the legislature can not amend the State Constitution. It seems to me that your opponents have to attack by trying to amend the Constitution, and that the bill you are asking us to support won't change the ultimate outcome one way or the other.
    John,

    You are mistaken. What the Utah Supreme court stated was that there was a public easement on the waters of the state of Utah, and that the easement included touching the stream bottom. HB80 defines the scope of that easement as the Ordinary High Water Mark, and allows recreation within the OHWM so long as there is water in the stream channel (some of our desert streams go dry in the summer). So, this bill won't be unconstitutional, since it simply further defines what the court has already stated.

    So what this bill does is simply clarify the scope of the easement identified by the Supreme court. It also puts protections in place for both land owners and recreationists. This is necessary because the easement could be taken away by legislation, it's not defined in the state constitution, it's defined by state statue.

    Right now there are 2 other bill that will attempt to address the same issue. One will try and overturn Conaster, the other is a "wet boot" bill. We have yet to see either of these bills.

    I have just returned from doing some citizen lobbying on capitol hill here, so I know what I am talking about. This bill is worth all of our support. As anglers from out of state, you should contact the representatives in our state house and let them know how valuable fishing is to you as an out of state tourist. Our next fight is in the house natural resources committee. We need to get this bill out of that committee and on to a floor vote. HB80 was the only bill to have an open process, where all sides were able to provide input. That should be stressed.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this....

    Utah House Natural Resources Committee.
    Rep. Roger E. Barrus, Chair rogerbarrus@utah.gov
    Rep. John G. Mathis, Vice Chair jmathis@utah.gov
    Rep. Melvin R. Brown melbrown@utah.gov
    Rep. Brad L. Dee bdee@utah.gov
    Rep. Jack R. Draxler jdraxler@utah.gov
    Rep. Kerry W. Gibson kwgibson@utah.gov
    Rep. James R. Gowansjgowans@utah.gov
    Rep. Neal B. Hendrickson nhendrickson@utah.gov
    Rep. Michael E. Noel mnoel@kanab.net
    Rep. Patrick Painter ppainter@utah.gov
    Rep. Phil Riesen priesen@utah.gov
    Rep. Christine F. Watkins cwatkins@utah.gov
    Rep. Ryan D. Wilcox ryanwilcox@utah.gov
    Rep. Bill Wright billwright@utah.gov

    rogerbarrus@utah.gov
    jmathis@utah.gov
    melbrown@utah.gov
    bdee@utah.gov
    jdraxler@utah.gov
    kwgibson@utah.gov
    jgowans@utah.gov
    nhendrickson@utah.gov
    mnoel@kanab.net
    ppainter@utah.gov
    priesen@utah.gov
    cwatkins@utah.gov
    ryanwilcox@utah.gov
    billwright@utah.gov
    Last edited by Lonnie; 02-02-2010 at 08:15 PM.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
    ...So what this bill does is simply clarify the scope of the easement identified by the Supreme court. It also puts protections in place for both land owners and recreationists. This is necessary because the easement could be taken away by legislation, it's not defined in the state constitution, it's defined by state statue. ...[/email]
    Lonnie -

    Subsequent to our exchange of PMs, I did some further research on the issue. At this point, I agree that this is NOT a matter grounded in the State Constitution, as I previously believed, and it IS a matter defined by State Statute.

    I was mistaken.

    Hopefully the discussion that has taken place here will further your objectives in securing at the Legislative level what the Supreme Court has reasonably interpretted existing statutes to mean, and the support you are seeking.

    John
    The fish are always right.

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