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State Capitol News

State Senate Set to Vote on Federal Policy Nullification Bill

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UPDATE: The Arizona Senate has rejected House Bill 2201. It failed by a vote of 15-14 Tuesday afternoon.

The Arizona Senate is set to vote on a bill that would allow the state to ignore actions of the federal government not approved by Congress. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The bill’s sponsor, Flagstaff Republican Rep. Bob Thorpe, says it’s designed to nullify actions of the president, federal agencies and courts found to be unconstitutional. House Bill 2201 would prevent the state, cities and counties from enforcing or financing them.

“It’s telling Congress do your job, and don’t allow other departments, other agencies within the federal government to usurp your authority to be the only body that can actually write laws,” Thorpe says.

Thorpe says the bill would rein in what he says are harmful executive orders and regulations from departments like the Environmental Protection Agency.

Democratic lawmakers and other critics of the bill say the state doesn’t have the power to deem federal policy unconstitutional. Tim Hogan is the Executive Director for the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. He says the bill violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and wouldn’t hold up in court.

“This is written in a way that would basically have the state not complying with anything the federal government says or does,” Hogan says. “This kind of legislation is an exercise in futility and a waste of time.”

If passed by the Senate, the bill will go to Governor Doug Ducey for his consideration.

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