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Small Bill, Big Congressional Hurdles

Not all bills introduced in Congress are broad in breadth or impact on a national, or even a state level. Some are downright microscopic. Here's an example.

Three of Idaho's four congressional delegates have written a bill to strip away some land from the US Bureau of Land Management and transfer it to Idaho County, Idaho's largest political subdivision with more than 5-point-4 million acres. And more than 4-million of those acres are owned by the federal government.

For about three years now, Idaho County has been trying to use a portion of that land, but because the parcel lies within an area along the Salmon River that may be included in the National Wild and Scenic River system, the federal government was unable, by law, to lease the land to the county. Hence, the bill, written by Representative Raul Labrador and Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, to give the land to the county, no strings attached.

The parcel in question is tiny - only 31 acres. And it's not even pristine. It's a former dump site. But it's valuable to the Idaho County sheriff and the Riggins, Idaho police department for use as a shooting range. It's already an unofficial gun range for a good many locals. And the Bureau of Land Management is perfectly willing to part with the little parcel, if Congress amends the law.

So the bill, as narrowly focused as it is, must go through the same laborious hearings as any other congressional bill before anything can happen.

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