Arizona land grab bills and the anniversary of Bundy ranch

The Phoenix New Times reported a couple of weeks ago that the Neo-Confederate Tea-Publican secessionists in the AZ Senate Advanced “Land Grab” Bills:

Confederale SoldiersThe Arizona Senate Committee on Rural Affairs and Environment recently advanced three bills and one memorial demanding that all federally owned public lands in Arizona be transferred surrendered to the state immediately:

HB 2321 tells the federal government to give up the title to all public lands in Arizona;
HB 2176 requires the State Land Commissioner put pressure on the government, and the Attorney General take legal action if the transfer doesn’t occur;
HB 2318 establishes an interstate compact to help facilitate the process;
• And the memorial, HCM 2005 “urges the federal government to dispose of public lands in, and transfer title to, Arizona.”

The purported goal of the legislation is to increase state revenue by selling or leasing acquired lands [to private interests], similar to how the state land trust system works.

These state legislative efforts can be traced to “Kochtopus” front groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council  (ALEC), and Americans for Prosperity (AFP). State Efforts to ‘Reclaim’ Our Public Lands:

ALEC and Americans for Prosperity have been fanning the fire under these efforts to “reclaim” federal public lands. ALEC is a conservative corporate front group funded by fossil-fuel interests such as the Koch brothers and ExxonMobil that develops model legislation for state legislators to introduce in their legislatures, and it has endorsed many of the bills turning public lands over to the states.

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That should come as little surprise, considering that one of ALEC’s “model bills”—those that it drafts and develops to shop to various state legislators—is the “Sagebrush Rebellion Act,” which was “designed to establish a mechanism for the transfer of ownership of” non-state lands “from the federal government to the states.”

ALEC and AFP have their Tea-Publican tools in Congress as well.  Last week, the Senate Voted To Help States Sell Off Public Lands:

The new chair of the powerful Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee secured a vote Thursday afternoon in the U.S. Senate on a controversial proposal to sell off America’s national forests and other public lands.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) amendment, which passed by a vote of 51 to 49, is now part of the Senate’s nonbinding budget resolution. The proposal would support and fund state efforts — which many argue are unconstitutionalto seize and sell America’s public lands. These include all national forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, historic sites, and national monuments.

Murkowski’s amendment, which would need further legislation to become law, follows a similar proposal from House Natural Resources Committee Chair Rob Bishop (R-UT) to spend $50 million of taxpayer dollars to fund the sale or transfer of U.S. public lands to states.

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Murkowski’s proposal to sell off public lands, however, is meeting stiff opposition from other western senators. On a conference call yesterday, Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) said that they are determined to turn back legislative attacks on the outdoors. Bennet called efforts to sell off lands to reduce the federal deficit “an assault on our public lands.”

Senator Heinrich also introduced an amendment Wednesday which would block any effort to sell off public lands to reduce the federal deficit. Heinrich said that “selling off America’s treasured lands to the highest bidder would result in a proliferation of locked gates and no-trespassing signs in places that have been open to the public and used for generations.”

Public opinion research has found that a majority of Westerners oppose land grab efforts and believe that transferring public lands to state control will result in reduced access for recreation; higher taxes; increased drilling, mining and logging; and a high risk that treasured public lands will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Gosar Bundy Ward 14 April 2014Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and state Sen. Kelli Ward (R-Lake Havasu City) with their good buddy Cliven Bundy.

Screenshot from 2014-08-14 16:06:28A number of Arizona politicians travelled to Bunkerville, Nevada a year ago in support of the racist deadbeat rancher Cliven Bundy in his armed standoff with federal law enforcement officers trying to execute a valid court judgment. The one year anniversary is now upon us, and an Armed Anti-Government Contingent To Swarm Carson City On Tuesday:

It seems like the best way to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Bundy Ranch Seige: a big Teabag protest where a tax-dodging, bigoted Mormon garnered the sympathy of fellow ammosexual anarchists. In Carson City, tomorrow, the Nevada Assembly will vote on a few controversial bills, one being AB408.

Outspoken Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy told the Desert Valley Times Wednesday he plans to be at the front of a contingent of Nevadans planning to rally at the Capitol in Carson City Tuesday to show support for AB408, a bill that “reclaims” rights to Nevada land from the federal government.

The Legislative Counsel says section 3 of AB408, which was sponsored by GOP Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, “prohibits the federal government from owning or administrating any land or resources in the state that it has not acquired with the consent of the Nevada Legislature and upon which it has not erected forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards or other needful buildings.”

Bundy said one of his sons, Ammon Bundy, has been in Carson City working in concert with bill sponsors to design and amend AB408, although Ammon’s a resident of Arizona, not Nevada.

“He is a Bundy, though,” Cliven laughed during an interview Wednesday.

“We’ve got 15 legislative co-sponsors in the Assembly,” Ammon said via phone from Carson City. “Eight of the 12 members of the Natural Resources Committee are also co-sponsors of the bill.”

AB408 is the Nevada version of a Congressional proposal. The original bill, the brainchild of Congressman Crescent Hardy and a Republican from Ohio, seeks to usurp federal land for private ownership AT THE TAXPAYERS’ EXPENSE.

From Let’s Talk Nevada:

On March 18, 2015, Congressman Cresent Hardy, R-NEV-04. supported by Congressman Steve Stivers, R-OH-15, introduced HR 2014 into the House. It then went to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture.

The Hardy and Stivers legislation is intended to use federal land acquisition policies to drive a balanced budget and encourages land transfer to the states eventually for private profit gains at public expense.

The agencies targeted include the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Bureau of Land Management and the Departments of Agriculture (DOA). They omit the Department of Defense, one of the largest land acquiring agencies, from the legislation.

Hardy told the House that the legislation allowed The Department of Interior (DOI) and the DOA to acquire land for species’ conservation, recreation and the preservation of culture. The legislation, he said, prohibited agencies from increasing their “net” holdings of “unnecessary lands” unless the Federal Budget was balanced in the acquisition year. The two Congressmen also want “unnecessary land” transferred to the states. Hardy told the House that the states “are best able to manage” those lands.

HR 2014 is a dangerous, unworkable, and unconstitutional piece of legislation. Hardy and Stivers are simply aligning themselves with Tea Party and Koch Brother efforts to force the federal government to turn millions of acres of public lands over to the states for eventual exploitation for private profits.

Hardy, in particular, tied the announcement of HR 2014 to coincide with Tuesday, March 31, 2015 efforts by his friend and neighbor Cliven Bundy and Nevada State Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore to swarm the Nevada Legislature in support of a Nevada legislative bill (AB 408). That bill seeks to transfer public land to the state for eventual exploitation by the private investors.

On the one hand, I suppose we should be glad that a band of armed yahoos did not swarm the Arizona Capitol to lobby for the land grab bills at the top of the post. On the other hand, it was not necessary: the armed yahoos are members of the Arizona legislature and members of Congress, and readily promote this unconstitutional model legislation for ALEC and Americans for Prosperity in every legislative session.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, the former head of the “Kochtopus” Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government think tank, campaigned on being a “Tenther.” He told the Lake Havasu News:

[H]e would do a better job than Horne of fighting against, what he calls, “federal overreach.” “(Our attorney general) has to make sure we’re asserting our rights under the 10th Amendment,” Brnovich said.

The question remains, however, what will governor Doug Ducey, the man hired by Koch Industries to manage their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona (h/t Charles Piece), do with these unconstitutional Neo-Confederate secessionist bills when they reach is desk?

“A similar bill was vetoed in 2012 by former-Governor Jan Brewer for being unconstitutional and impossible to fund, and Arizona voters rejected the measure when it was proposed as a ballot question the same year.”

Or will Arizona Tea-Publicans seek out an armed confrontation with the federal government over federal land, like their good buddy Cliven Bundy, and live out their fantasies of starting an insurrection against the United States Government?

One response to “Arizona land grab bills and the anniversary of Bundy ranch

  1. Ah yes, another GOP “jobs bill”. Full employment for lawyers at taxpayers expense. Obviously the biggest reason they keep cutting education is because the revenue is needed for attorneys.