Mar 302012

By Teri Walker —

A bid by state lawmakers to take control of federal lands in Arizona died in the House of Representatives this week.

Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, sponsored the measure, which had the support of Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, among others, and which has been termed the “sagebrush rebellion” of this second session of the 50th state legislature.

Champions of the bill said the federal government has mismanaged lands under its jurisdiction in Western states, and that federal regulations are killing Arizona’s long-standing timber and mining industries. In pushing his bill, Melvin said the state could garner additional property taxes if a portion of the reclaimed lands were sold.

Other Western states have similar bills in their legislatures, and Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed his state’s version into law last week.

The House Rules Committee killed the Arizona bill on Monday.