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Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Chairman, you know, we do processes here in government, and hopefully we do them for a reason. But when the process we have harms kids, we should ask ourselves why do we have this slavish devotion to the process.
The problem before the State of Minnesota today is simply Federal action that took place 34 years ago that took lands guaranteed and devoted to the kids of Minnesota and took them away by Federal action.
I live in a State that does have a State trust lands policy where the use of that school makes a significant contribution to the education of our kids. It wasn't always that way. We took it seriously.
The State of Minnesota now wants to take this process seriously and develop resources that would be beneficial for their kids in a significant way and equalize the process, as we do in my home State, to benefit all the kids that are in public education.
This is one of those situations in which we have had plenty of time to solve this problem but obviously the Federal Government has not moved forward to give to the State of Minnesota what will benefit their kids.
In the hearing we had on this particular bill, the Forest Service said, Yeah, we can do this process. Give us about 4 years to evaluate all of these lands. Our Constitution gives us a right to a speedy trial. I wish it gave us a right to speedy decisions by bureaucrats. In 4 years an entire class of kids can start and finish high school without having any benefit from these lands that were theirs in the first place.
I do not know why those who constantly breathe the air of the Potomac River are the ones who are always wringing their hands and dragging their feet, but it seems to be the same way.
Mr. Chairman, you and I worked in the State legislature, where we had time limits. I had 45 days to get something accomplished or you didn't do it.
I taught school on trimesters. I had 90 days to cover the material, or I didn't get to do it. Can you imagine what would happen if the principal came to me and said, We're going to do our final test on Tuesday. And I said, I'm sorry. I couldn't possibly cover all of that material by Tuesday. Maybe in 4 years from Tuesday I might be able, if you're lucky, to get through the material and actually be ready for that particular test.
One of the issues in this campaign is indeed dealing with permits. What takes my State 45 days on average or less to permit takes the Federal government 307 days on average to do it. That's the process we're talking about here.
The State of Minnesota has a State process in place. It covers tribal issues. It covers all of the issues that are there, and this would take precedence. The State of Minnesota is just as smart as the Federal Forest Service in solving these problems, except the State of Minnesota wants to do it quickly and the Federal Forest Service is not.
This will also eliminate potential delaying litigation using Federal laws to actually do that.
Look. It is simply time for us to realize that if this bill passes, it helps the Forest Service because it takes away inholding problems. It also helps kids of Minnesota because it guarantees a funding source for their education in the future. We should be doing our job and moving us forward and taking this process away from an agency that moves at glacial speed to help kids.
It is time. It's time we do something to help kids instead of harming kids. This bill helps kids, and I am proud to vote for it.
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