The Senate, while debating SB 1338, Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll’s public lands nuisance bill this afternoon, heard arguments from both supporters and opponents of the bill that it wouldn’t actually do anything. “This bill codifies into state law what counties can already do,” Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, told the Senate, “but it demonstrates that the state supports counties in their efforts to require abatement” when catastrophic conditions arise on federal lands. “Counties desire to know that they have the backing of the state Legislature,” she said.
Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, told the Senate, “In fact, everything in this bill is already possible. ... It does not encourage positive, proactive solutions. … It does not improve current practice.”
Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, said, “I don’t see where this provides any liability for the state or the county. It does nothing but clarify and define the authority that they currently have.” After debate, the bill passed on a 28-6 vote, and now moves to the House side. The bill has 12 legislative co-sponsors, all Republicans.
The bill adds multiple sections to state law, including sections headed “DECLARATION OF CATASTROPHIC PUBLIC NUISANCE -- AUTHORITY TO DECLARE AND DEMAND ABATEMENT” and “EMERGENCY ABATEMENT OF A CATASTROPHIC PUBLIC NUISANCE.”