Monday, February 23, 2015

Strikers: what are "constitutionally nonenumerated federal lands"?

...or "Reason 202,147 to keep an eye on legislative agendas during silly season"...

Typically, in any legislative session in Arizona, there are a few efforts to have AZ secede from the United States by claiming that all federal land in AZ belongs to AZ, not the federal government.

Typically, those efforts don't go far, perhaps being passed by one of the BHC* committees, but not much further.

* = Black Helicopters Caucus (not every member of the committee are members of the BHC, but a majority are)

Typically, however, those efforts don't go away until sine die.

Bills like HB2318 (entering into a "compact" with other states for the purpose of gaining control of federal land), HB2321 (requiring the federal government to cede all federal lands in AZ by January 1, 2016 and to pay taxes on land not transferred to Arizona), HB2658 (creating a committee of Republicans to "study" the issues related to transferring federal land to state control), and HCM2005 (urging Congress to give federal land in AZ to the state) have all passed committee and are awaiting Rules Committee and floor consideration.

And probably will receive such consideration during the next couple of weeks.

However, those aren't enough for Rep. Justin Olson (R-of course).

He's proposed a strike-everything amendment (aka - "striker") to HB2176.  It would enact the following -
A.  The commissioner shall request The United States to relinquish all constitutionally nonenumerated federal land within this state to the state land trust on or before December 31, 2025.
B.  Beginning January 1, 2026, the attorney general shall initiate proceedings against the United States in order to force the relinquishment of all remaining constitutionally nonenumerated federal land within this state to the state land trust.

("Commissioner" refers to the state land commissioner, currently Vanessa Hickman)

Later in the striker is a clause requiring the state to tax all such "constitutionally nonenumerated federal lands".

What isn't in the striker?

A clear definition of "constitutionally nonenumerated".

There is a "legislative findings" section postulating that the federal government cannot hold property unless said property is used for "enumerated" purposes, but even that is very vague.

In short, Olson's proposal is a gambit to grab any federal land in the state that he and his fellow travelers (or more likely, their bribers...errr..."max campaign contributors") covet with their avaricious little hearts.

The striker is scheduled to be heard in House Appropriations on Wednesday.  The meeting is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. in HHR1.  If you can attend, please do; if you can only weigh in via the lege's Request to Speak system, please take a few minutes to do that.

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