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Proposed Legislation Would Allow Arizona To Ignore Federal Laws

Arizona lawmakers are considering another bill that puts the state in conflict with the federal government. Phoenix's KPHO reports:

If passed and signed into law, Senate Bill 1433 would give members of the state Legislature the power to override federal laws and executive orders...

It would allow a committee of 12 people — six from the House and six from the Senate — to recommend to the full Legislature which laws they think are unconstitutional.

Both new and existing federal laws would be up for debate.

The bill states that "no authority has ever been given to the legislative branch, the executive branch or the judicial branch of the federal government to preempt state legislation."

The bill is co-sponsered by Russell Pearce, the newly minted Senate president, who was also the driving force behind Arizona's controversial immigration law, last year. After that law was passed, the federal government moved quickly to assert its power. The Obama administration sued Arizona, saying the law was unconstitutional.

As for SB1433, Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini said it amounts to the state of Arizona seceding "without having to do so officially." He adds:

In this instance, legislators here — who claim to be strict constitutionalists — seem fairly willing to ignore what is commonly called the "supremacy clause" of the U.S. Constitution (as well as the Fourteenth Amendment), and which more or less say that federal law supersedes state law.

We've reached out to Senator Pearce's office for comment. We'll update when we get it.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.