Santa Fe New Mexican, Legislative roundup, March 3, 2015

Federal land transfer: The House Judiciary Committee voted 8-4 against Rep. Yvette Herrell’s HB 291, which would have created a commission to study the transfer of federal public lands to the state, tribes and land grants. Two Republicans joined six Democrats to stop the measure.

“We were pleased today that a bipartisan group of members of the House Judiciary Committee listened to the majority of New Mexicans who believe federal public lands are rightfully managed by the federal government, instead of wasting our state agencies’ scarce time and resources studying a move that has been found to be unfeasible and unconstitutional,” said Victor Reyes, legislative director for Conservation Voters New Mexico.

House panel rejects federal lands transfer study bill

Albuquerque Journal

A House committee has rejected a proposal to create a commission to study whether federal lands should be transferred to the state.

The House Judiciary Committee today tabled House Bill 291 on a bipartisan, 8-4 vote.

Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-Alamogordo, sponsored the legislation, which drew opposition from a range of public lands users and conservation groups.

“We should be in control of our own lands … managing them on more of a local level,” Herrell said.

She disputed the argument of opponents that transferring land to the state would lead to its being sold to private interests.

But critics of the bill said the transfer of federal lands was unworkable and unconstitutional.

Victor Reyes of Conservation Voters New Mexico said it would be “wasting our state agencies’ scarce time and resources” to study land transfers.