Proposition challenges control of federal lands, divides candidates

Former State Senator Tom O’Halleran (R-Sedona), center, chats with Democrats Angela LeFevre and Doug Ballard moments before endorsing them in their bids for Legislative District 6.

By Pete Aleshire

Payson Roundup

A controversial ballot measure intended to allow the state to seize control of millions of acres of federal land has drawn a sharp divide between two slates of candidates seeking to represent Rim Country in the state Legislature.

Proposition 120 would amend the Arizona Constitution to revoke the state’s 1920 agreement to “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated and ungranted public lands.”

The amendment would also give the state Legislature exclusive control over air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources.

The Legislature voted along party lines to put the measure on the ballot. Rep. Chester Crandell (R-Heber) co-authored the law referring the amendment to the ballot, which passed on a party-line vote. Crandell represented Rim Country in the old legislative district and is now seeking to move up to the Senate in the dramatically redrawn district.

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