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Bill would allow cities to ignore federal land rules

An Arizona Senate committee has approved a bill that would allow cities and towns to enter restricted federal land without permission in emergencies.

The Committee on Public Safety approved House Bill 2541 with a 3-2 vote on Wednesday.

Republican bill sponsor Kelly Townsend of Mesa says she was inspired by the battle between the city of Tombstone and the federal government over access to repair its water supply system in the Coronado National Forest. She says local authorities should have the right to go in where needed without being granted approval first in cases of emergency.

The House of Representatives voted down the bill earlier this month but later passed it when it was brought back for reconsideration. House attorneys have said it is likely unconstitutional.

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