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Barrasso-Enzi Bill Allows Teton County to Keep Jackson Courthouse

Legislation would allow the federal government to transfer ownership of the Clifford P Hansen U.S. Courthouse to Teton County.

January 15, 2014

Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, both R-Wyo., introduced legislation that would allow the federal government to transfer ownership of the Clifford P Hansen U.S. Courthouse back to Teton County. The Clifford P. Hansen Federal Courthouse Conveyance Bill would also allow for the federal court system to lease space to continue holding hearings in the building.

Senators Barrasso and Enzi released a joint statement on their bill:

“The Clifford P Hansen Courthouse provides an essential and convenient meeting place for not only federal and state hearings, but community events as well. By transferring ownership over to Teton County, our bill will ensure this important building remains open to the public and can continue to serve Wyoming and the region as a courthouse.”

Background:

In 1986 the Board of County Commissioners of Teton County conveyed a parcel of land to the federal government as part of an agreement between Teton County and the Wyoming Federal Court for the construction of a United States District Court in Jackson. The conveyance was made without any payment for the land as the commissioners felt that the construction of the federal courtroom on the property was a major public benefit.

The high cost of full time staffing has caused the federal courts in Wyoming to terminate their lease of the property from the Government Service Administration (GSA), and the GSA has decided to dispose of the Courthouse property. Three GSA officials from Denver recently met with Teton County officials to discuss the disposition of the Courthouse. They acknowledged that the County had given the land for the Courthouse for at no cost to the federal government, but stated that they could not give the land back to the County absent legislation granting them such authority.

The Clifford P. Hansen Federal Courthouse Conveyance Bill fixes this by explicitly giving the GSA Administrator the authority to convey the Clifford P. Hansen Federal Courthouse back to Teton County, Wyoming.