The ongoing debate over federal control of lands in Nevada will heat up again this week with a hearing on a bill proposed by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore that would prohibit the federal government from owning or managing any lands that it has not acquired with the consent of the Legislature.
Assembly Bill 408 also would prohibit the federal government from owning water rights in the state.
The bill is just the latest in the Republican-controlled Legislature challenging the federal government’s authority over more than 80 percent of the acres in Nevada.
Fiore, R-Las Vegas, sent out an email last week asking for supporters to attend the Tuesday hearing in the Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining Committee.
Critics say Fiore’s bill is unconstitutional and is based on a flawed legal theory about public lands, noting that on numerous occasions the U.S. Supreme Court has described the federal authority over public lands as “without limitation.”
The hearing comes just days before the one-year anniversary of the BLM’s efforts to round up cattle belonging to Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy that resulted in an armed confrontation between federal agents and Bundy supporters.
The Bundy family is asking supporters to “swarm” the hearing, which will be videoconferenced to Las Vegas and Elko.
Calling it the Nevadans Resource Rights Bill, Fiore said the bill will “put Nevada’s land and resources back where they belong, in the hands of the people.”
“Why does the federal government own so much of Nevada’s land? Why are our park rangers acting as police officers?” Fiore asked in her email message.
Tune in Tuesday to see if those questions will be answered.
See all of our coverage: 2015 Nevada Legislature.