A non-binding resolution, urging Congress to curb alleged expansions of law enforcement authority by the Bureau of Land Management, is on its way to the Senate.
The House voted 65-5 for the resolution on Tuesday. Sponsor Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, told House members the BLM is using a recodification of its criminal laws to enlarge its criminal authority.
BLM officials appeared before the House State Affairs Committee to dispute Wood’s claims. Officials said the recodification merely assembled the agency’s criminal laws into one section.
“It makes significant changes in the existing regulations,” Wood said. “We are asking Congress to look at this and in fact repeal or pull back some of the powers they claim they have.”
She said recodification gives the agency authority to impose steep penalties for relatively minor violations.
“I think a $100,000 fine and 12 months in jail for not wearing a seat belt (while traveling on federal property) is excessive,” Wood said.