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Public Lands:
federal lands; conveyance and taxation

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: SB1332
Sponsor: Melvin, Allen, Griffin, et al.
Legislative Session: 2012 Legislative Session

S.B.1332 federal lands; conveyance and taxation (Melvin, Allen, Griffin, et al. ) demands that the federal government extinguish title to all public lands in Arizona and transfer title of those lands to the state.

The state cannot even properly fund and care for its state park system or fund the State Land Department to manage state trust lands, so how would it take control of and even consider managing federal public lands?

These lands do not belong to the legislature, a majority of legislators, or only to the people of Arizona. These parks, forests, monuments, and more, are public lands that belong to all Americans.

Status

05/16/2012 - Governor Brewer vetoed this!

Action Needed

To find out how your representatives voted on SB1332, just click on SB1332 House Vote.

To see how your senator voted on SB1332, just click on SB1332 Senate Vote.

Background

If the plan would be to just sell them off or allow massive abuse for the short-term profits of the few at the expense of the majority of the people and their lands, then you are way out of step with most Arizonans.

A recent poll released by Colorado College found that Arizonans support public lands protections:

  • 90% of Arizona voters agreed with this statement: “Our national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas are an essential part of Arizona’s economy.”
  • 89% agreed that, “Even with state budget problems, we should still find money to protect and maintain Arizona’s land, water, and wildlife.” 
  • 74% think that, “Arizona should maintain protections for land, air, and water in the state rather than reduce them in an effort to create jobs as quickly as possible.” 

Finally, this bill is contrary to our state’s enabling act, which states:

“That the people inhabiting said proposed State do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated and ungranted public lands lying within the boundaries thereof and to all lands lying within said boundaries owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes, the right or title to which shall have been acquired through or from the United States or any prior sovereignty, and that until the title of such Indian or Indian tribes shall have been extinguished the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition and under the absolute jurisdiction and control of the Congress of the United States; that the lands and other property belonging to citizens of the United States residing without the said State shall never be taxed at a higher rate than the lands and other property belonging to residents thereof; that no taxes shall be imposed by the State upon lands or property therein belonging to or which may hereafter be acquired by the United States or reserved for its use; but nothing herein, or in the ordinance herein provide for, shall preclude the said State from taxing as other lands and other property are taxed any lands and other property outside of an Indian reservation owned or held by any Indian, save and except such lands as have been granted or acquired as aforesaid or as may be granted or confirmed to any Indian or Indians under any Act of Congress, but said ordinance shall provide that all such lands shall be exempt from taxation by said State so long and to such extent as Congress has prescribed or may hereafter prescribe.”

Act June 20, 1910, c. 310, 36 U.S.Stat. 557, 568— 579

That seems pretty clear – “forever disclaim all right and title.”  The state cannot override the enabling act that allowed Arizona to become a state. Furthermore, this would be contrary to U.S. Constitution.  Please reject this bill and save Arizona further embarrassment and litigation.

     
     

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