PHOENIX (April 12, 2012) – For all of her bluster and finger-shaking at  President Obama, it appears Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s commitment to the Tenth Amendment and state self-sufficiency only goes so far.

Citing the need to cooperate with “federal partners,” the Arizona governor vetoed HB2434 , which would have affirmed the county sheriffs as the chief constitutional law enforcement officers in the state and required federal law enforcement officers to notify them before taking any action in the county.

“This legislation has the potential to interfere with law enforcement investigations and adds unneeded reporting requirements for law enforcement. Rather than hinder the efforts of our federal law enforcement colleagues, we need to focus on collaboration,” she wrote in her veto letter. “Establishing arbitrary reporting requirements for our federal partners takes us in the wrong direction.”

Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey points out that the law would have done nothing to hinder legitimate cooperative efforts between Arizona state and federal law enforcement, such as counter terrorism operations cited by Brewer in her veto letter.

“Obviously, the sheriffs would already know about joint  state, local and federal law enforcement efforts in their counties. This would have done nothing to hinder those operations. What it would have done is placed a check on independent and unconstitutional federal actions, such as armed raids on medical marijuana distributors legal under state law,” he said.

In fact, U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel sent a letter to Brewer in February saying the feds would continue to “vigorously enforce” federal laws against those who operate and/or facilitate large marijuana production facilities and marijuana production facilities involved in the selling of marijuana for medical use in the state of Arizona.

“Obviously, Brewer doesn’t understand – or maybe doesn’t mind – that most of what the feds do is unconstitutional, and that this measure is a small but important step to reasserting the proper chain of authority,” Tenth Amendment Center director Michael Boldin said. “What’s that? The people are the top of the food chain – not the federal government.”

The Arizona Senate passed the federal law enforcement notification legislation 20-8 on April 4. The House took up the  bill and passed it 38-17 on April 9.

Maharrey called the veto extremely disappointing,  but not particularly surprising.

“Like so many ‘conservative’ politicians, Brewer talks the talk, but she doesn’t walk the walk. The Tenth Amendment rhetoric and finger-wagging at the president makes for  good headlines and gets the Tea Party base all frothy mouthed. But when the rubber met the road, she bowed down at the federal alter just like the so-called liberals. You have to give the liberals credit – at least they are honest about wanting expansive federal control.”


The House and Senate can override the veto with a two-thirds vote. The Senate needs 20 votes to override, which is the number the bill originally got. On the House side, it takes 40 votes to override and the bill got 38 votes. But five representatives didn’t vote the first time around. Two “yes” votes of those five would override the veto. The five reps who did not vote are:

Sally Ann Gonzales
Javan “J.D.” Mesnard
Daniel Patterson
Heather Carter
Albert Hale

Contact your representatives and senators, along with the five House members who did not initially vote, and let them know you want them to override this veto and stand up for the Constitution.

Click HERE for Arizona legislature contact information.

Contact Governor Brewer and let her know you oppose her veto. You can find contact information for the governor’s office HERE.

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