Gov. Jan Brewer refused to sign into law legislation that demanded title to some 48,000 square miles of federal lands in her state. The public lands bill, which parallels one recently passed in Utah, was sponsored by state senator Al Melvin (R-Tucson). Like many Western states, a substantial portion of Arizona — more than 40 percent — is owned or controlled by the federal government. Melvin’s bill would have required the transfer of all federal lands to the state with the exception of military bases and parklands. While describing herself as a “staunch advocate” for state sovereignty, Gov. Brewer wrote, “We still must be mindful and respectful of our federal system.”
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