Governor Jan Brewer decided Monday not to pick two new fights with the federal government.
The governor vetoed a measure to make it a crime for police officers to even attempt to enforce sections of the National Defense Authorization Act which let the government detain suspected terrorists -- including U.S. citizens -- without trial. Brewer said police cannot be required to choose between upholding federal laws or obeying state statutes. That comparison drew an angry response from Sen. Sylvia Allen.
"If you're concerned about law enforcement, why aren't you concerned about the citizens and their rights not being protected?" Allen asked. "That is the point of the whole bill."
Brewer also vetoed a demand the federal government give up to most of the 48,000 square miles it owns in Arizona. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said while the governor is a big proponent of state sovereignty, Arizona is ill prepared to manage that much land.
"The answer isn't to let the federal government off the hook and have the state of Arizona take over all those costs," Benson said. "Gov. Brewer wants the federal government to do its responsibility in caring for those lands."
But voters will get the last word. Lawmakers also put a measure on the November ballot to enact a constitutional provision declaring Arizona's "sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction'' of all that exists within its boundaries.