Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The GOP crazy base bills are moving through the legislature at a break-neck pace this year. Last year "black helicopters day" at the Arizona Lege didn't come until April. Black helicopters day at the Arizona Lege.
On Wednesday the annual "constitutional sheriffs" bill, a favorite of anti-government right-wing conspiracy theorists who believe the black helicopters of the federal "guvmint" are coming for their guns and "freedom!", is sponsored by far-right extremist groups like former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack's conspiratorial Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and the Oath Keepers, made up of former and current law enforcement officers and military personnel who believe it is their duty to defy what they deem to be unconstitutional orders. Here is a profile of Mack from the Southern Poverty Law Center. 'Army' of Sheriffs to Resist Federal Authority.
In 2012, wingnut Rep. David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista), who has now been promoted to House Majority Leader, sponsored HB 2434 which would have required employees of federal agencies to first notify the sheriff of the county "before taking any official law enforcement action in a county in this state." HB 2434 was actually approved by the Arizona legislature. It took a veto by Governor Jan Brewer to restore sanity. Governor Brewer vetoes 'States' Rights' Tea-Publican bill.
The sponsor of this year's version of the bill, SB 1290 (.pdf). is the "Birther Queen," Rep. Judy Burges (R-Sun City West), who is also the Grand Inquisitor of climate science denialism. This woman is never without her tinfoil hat.
Howard Fischer reports, Feds should get permission to enforce the law, says bill in Arizona Senate:
Warning of federal “atrocities,” former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack talked a Senate panel into making it a crime for federal agents to operate in Arizona without first getting written approval from the county sheriff.
Mack told members of the Senate Public Safety Committee on Wednesday that county sheriffs are the only elected law enforcement officers in the country. That, he said, means they answer to — and are responsible for protecting — the people.
“And then we allow bureaucrats from Washington, D.C., to come in and supersede his authority, and to do whatever they want in his county, and they (the sheriffs) can say nothing about it?” Mack said.
SB 1290, sponsored by Sen. Judy Burges, R-Sun City West, says a federal employee who is not a state-certified peace officer cannot make an arrest, or conduct a search or a seizure in Arizona without written consent of the sheriff. And it says the sheriff can withhold that permission “for any reason.”
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“We’re asking that the federal government do something they should already be doing: verifying their work and what they’re doing with the sheriff as a check and balance so that atrocities committed in the 1990s especially by the federal government at Ruby Ridge and Waco and other places” do not happen here, Mack said.
Remember the so-called Patriot Movement from the 1990s? Yeah, he's that guy. Leave it to Howard Fischer to gloss over the far-right extremism of Richard Mack, documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center above, with this candy-ass backgrounder:
Mack is best known for his own high-profile fight with the federal government. He got the U.S. Supreme Court to void a provision of the federal Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, ruling that Congress had no right to require him as a local official to conduct background checks.
As I have said many times before, it is not enough for Arizona's elite political media to simply report on these crazy bills. They have an obligation to report on the far-right extremists groups who are behind these bills and on our legislators' relationships to these far-right extremist groups. The voters have a right to know whether our legislators are members or supporters of far-right extremist groups. Are there no investigative jornalists left?