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HB 603 - Federal agency stockwater rights

HB 603 - Federal agency stockwater rights

Phil Haunschild
February 22, 2018

Bill description: HB 603 would establish a process for reclaiming unused stockwater rights from the federal government.

Rating: +1

Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism? 

In Joyce Livestock Co. v. United States, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that a federal agency cannot own a stockwater right unless it is put to beneficial use. To comply with this ruling, HB 603 would establish a procedure for taking stockwater rights back from the federal government. Under this new process, the director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources would compile a list of all stockwater rights owned by federal agencies and request proof from them that the rights are being put to beneficial use. If a federal agency cannot provide proof, then the stockwater rights would be subject to forfeiture and reclaimed by the state of Idaho.

By taking stockwater rights back under state control, HB 603 would be guaranteeing control of important water resources is brought closer to the citizens in our state.


This analysis reflects the Senate amendments to the bill on 3/8.

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