Nevada public lands bill amended in Assembly


CARSON CITY — A bill that sought to challenge federal control of Nevada’s public lands was amended in its entirety Thursday to deal with the issue of federal versus local law enforcement jurisdiction on land managed by federal agencies.

The original version of Assembly Bill 408 by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, was deemed to be unconstitutional by the Legislative Counsel Bureau.

At a work session in the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining, Fiore proposed the amendment, which gutted all the other provisions that provoked a contentious hearing in the committee last month.

Fiore’s original bill was introduced as a result of the BLM’s efforts to round up cattle belonging to Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy in 2014 that resulted in an armed confrontation between federal agents and Bundy supporters.

The bill as amended declares that sheriffs and their deputies are the primary law enforcement officers in the unincorporated areas of their respective counties. It would allow county sheriffs to enter into agreements with federal agencies to exercise law enforcement authority on land managed by the federal agency.

But such an agreement would require the federal agency to recognize the sheriff as the primary law enforcement authority on the federal lands.

The bill passed with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. It now goes to the full Assembly.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801.