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Senate approves emergency declaration measure

In this Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010 picture, an American flag on a resident's home waves in the breeze near a U.S. Border Patrol truck blocking the road leading to a search area near where U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was killed northwest of Nogales, Ariz. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Greg Bryan)

The state Senate has approved a resolution declaring a state of emergency in Arizona because the shared border with Mexico is not secure and the forests have been badly managed, leading to large wildfires.

The resolution, which now goes to the House, says the border and forest situations threaten the safety and welfare of citizens.

State law authorizes an emergency declaration from the governor, which usually occurs with flooding and wildfires.

The resolution, approved on a 20-8 vote Monday, says the state has the authority to declare this emergency and will be “exercising its right of sovereignty over soil within its boundaries.”

Arizona State University law professor Paul Bender says the resolution has no legal effect and the state cannot do anything that conflicts with or pre-empts federal law.

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