Arizona bill aims to challenge US authority

2013-03-04T00:00:00Z Arizona bill aims to challenge US authorityHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star
March 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - Arizona lawmakers are once again challenging federal authority, despite warnings it will just land the state on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" - again.

The Senate is set to take a final vote today on a measure that would allow Arizonans to "reject a federal action that the people determine violates the United States Constitution." SCR 1016 received preliminary approval last week.

If approved, it will go the House and ultimately be submitted to voters in 2014.

A nearly identical measure on the 2012 ballot failed by a 2-1 margin.

But this time senators are adding language to take the plan even further. If approved, the measure would prohibit the state and local government from using their employees or finance resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with any federal action or program they determine is not "consistent with the Constitution."

The idea of challenging the federal government drew derision from Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.

"We're putting language that is totally unconstitutional on our state ballot at our next election," he said.

"Let's be serious now," Gallardo continued. "If we want to get away from 'The Daily Show' and all the national-type television shows that keep mocking Arizona, we must put an end to stuff like this."

Arizona and the actions of its elected officials have been a regular target of the humor of "The Daily Show" host, Jon Stewart. At one point he said if states are supposed to be the laboratories of democracy, Arizona has proved itself to be "the meth lab of democracy."

But Sen. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, said the measure simply reflects the system of government in the United States.

Crandell said the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled the U.S. Constitution is the limit on federal power, not on the power of the states. And he said that was reinforced just last year when the court, while upholding most of the federal Affordable Care Act, ruled the federal government "still must show that a constitutional grant of power authorizes each of its actions."

The Republican-controlled Senate rejected a Democratic proposal to include a warning to voters that ignoring federal law could cost the state money.

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