Nevada State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore is pushing State bill AB 408, a piece of legislation that will force the federal government to seek state permission before using land in Nevada. The bill will allow county commissions to parcel out state land for commercial use, including land claimed by the U.S. government.
The bill is in part a response to the Federal Government’s illegal raid on the Bundy Ranch last year, where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management suspended the First Amendment on Public Land, closed off 600,000 acres of land to the public, and sent armed government snipers and cattle thieves to seize cattle from the Bundy Ranch.
Opponents of the bill say the legislation will damage the state’s hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation; but supporters point out how the federal government has already closed hundreds of thousands of acres of public land to outdoorsmen throughout the State. In fact, during the government shutdown in 2013 the Federal government closed over 1.5 million acres of land to the public and even removed off-griders from their homes.
In 2014 the federal government tried to ban the public from accessing over 3 million acres of Nevada Land, claiming outdoor activities like hiking, hunting and fishing where a danger to the environment.
Supporters of the bill flooded Carson City Nevada with signs reading, “It is simple: the land belongs to the people.”
The bill follows a similar effort by neighboring Utah, which enacted a law in 2012 calling for U.S. public lands there to be transferred to state control. Similar legislation has been proposed in eleven western states, where the federal government claims ownership of most of the state’s land.
In Nevada, as seen in the chart below, the Federal Government claims ownership of over 84% of the State’s land.