Arizona Senate OK's bill for public lands fight - CBS 5 - KPHO

Arizona Senate OK's bill for public lands fight

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Arizona Capitol Building Arizona Capitol Building
PHOENIX (AP) -

The Arizona Senate has approved legislation that attempts to force the federal government to hand over control of public lands in the state.

A majority of the land in Arizona is controlled by federal agencies, but some state lawmakers say the state would be a better manager of that land.

Tucson Republican Sen. Al Melvin sponsored the measure and says federal regulations are killing industries like mining and timber, and the state could collect more money in property taxes if some of that land is sold.

Legal experts say the move is unconstitutional, and opponents say state leaders are likely to disregard environmental concerns.

A similar proposal was approved by the Utah legislature on Wednesday and awaits Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's signature.

The measure passed on a 19-9 vote Thursday.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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