Cliven Bundy has said that the land his family settled and has used since the late 1870s near Bunkerville, NV is his, so he doesn't recognize federal authority. In order to avoid paying the $1,000,000 he owes the government, he has teamed up with Nevada's favorite bimbo, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, to pass a bill to usurp all of the 85% of Nevada land that is owned by the BLM.
Eleven western states have introduced bills this year on the matter, and AB408 is the most extreme, according to Jessica Goad of the Denver-based conservation group Center for Western Priorities. The bill asserts the federal government has no right to the lands, while other bills merely call for a study on federal land ownership or demand the federal government turn over the lands.
— Jessica Goad (@jessica_goad) March 31, 2015
Cliven and his supporters showed up en masse as planned.
A bus from Phoenix and another from Las Vegas brought more than 100 people, according to Bundy's son, Ammon Bundy, and others came on their own to fill several legislative hearing rooms. Many wore shirts and carried signs that read "the land belongs to the people."
They don't understand that federal land assures that the people, meaning all Americans, can use the land. It is not for their animals to graze for free. This proposal would imperil the Red Rock Conservation Area and the Great Basin National Park, thus the Las Vegas tourist industry would lose a popular attraction for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
"We're here to take our state back and act like we're sovereign citizens," Bundy said at a rally outside the Capitol before the hearing. "We're going to have agency. We're going to own our rights here on this land." He does not understand that his profit off of the land is not helping "the people."
But critics raise serious concerns about the bill. The state's legislative counsel bureau said the proposal was "manifestly hostile" to the federal government and would be struck down if challenged in court for attempting to put state law ahead of federal law.
Nevada's state conservation department estimated that transferring around 60 million acres of federally controlled land would cost the department around $95 million and that the parceling process for mining, logging and other industries could become "complicated and controversial."
Assembly Bill 408, sponsored by Republican Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore, states that except in special cases, the federal government “shall not own rights to use land or water” and the state would take over management of most public land in Nevada.
But Assemblyman John Ellison, R-Elko, despite signing on initially as a co-sponsor, said he could no longer support it after a more thorough review.
“That’s a bad bill,” he said.
Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, agreed.
“The intent is fine but the language in the bill is horrible,” he said, adding that he thought it would be harmful to the ranching industry.
The #AB408 hearing ended with no action, as too many are weary of the crazy language and sponsors of the bill, thank goodness! It sure seems like Fiore and Bundy are going to be neutralized on this issue. They aren't exactly the most Constitutionally literate group, so staying a step ahead of them requires just a basic level of literacy. Now if only the federal government can collect money from the tax cheat with fifteen kids.