Republican Senator Sine Kerr has introduced a bill that will reallocate the Arizona Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) fund. As it is, 30% of the OHV fund goes to the Arizona Highway User Revenue Fund administered by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The new bill will add ARS 28-1182 to reallocate this 30% and establish the Off Highway Vehicle Law Enforcement Safety Fund.
The OHV Law Enforcement Safety Fund will be split between all 15 County Sheriff’s offices in Arizona to hire additional deputies to patrol federal lands.
The new ARS 28-1182 reads as follows:
28-1182. Off-highway vehicle law enforcement safety fund
A. The off-highway vehicle law enforcement safety fund is established consisting of:
- Monies appropriated by the legislature.
- Monies deposited pursuant to section 28-1177.
- Federal grants.
- Private gifts.
B. Monies in the off-highway vehicle law enforcement safety fund are continuously appropriated and shall be distributed to each county sheriff’s office solely for the purposes provided in this article. The state treasurer shall administer the fund. Interest earned on monies in the fund shall be credited to the fund. Monies in the off-highway vehicle law enforcement safety fund are exempt from the provisions of section 35-190 relating to lapsing of appropriations.
C. The state treasurer shall distribute the monies monthly to the sheriffs’ offices in each county in the following percentages:
- Apache 3%
- Cochise 4%
- Coconino 18%
- Gila 5%
- Graham 3%
- Greenlee 3%
- La paz 4%
- Maricopa 11%
- Mohave 12%
- Navajo 4%
- Pima 5%
- Pinal 9%
- Santa cruz 3%
- Yavapai 13%
- Yuma 3%
We have been advocating for this action for a long time.
We commend Sine Kerr for bringing this action to the table. This is exactly what we need to solve many comprehensive issues, and ultimately defend our right to use roads. By giving the County sheriffs the resources they need, the motorized community has a chance to make real change.
It is about time to recognize the fundamentals that govern roads on federal lands. These rights-of-way have existed for decades and should be governed similarly to county highways. But so long that we assume powers to a distant capital that are not granted in the US Constitution, nothing will get done.
All state laws and county ordinances apply to roads over public land. The states are traditionally tasked with certain law enforcement responsibilities such as the operation of a motor vehicle, the use of fire, and the use of firearms. The federal government simply has no authority to exercise these powers.
With law enforcement presence, there will be less crime. High-traffic areas can be patrolled for abandoned campfires, dumped trash, and other violations of state law. Law enforcement can investigate crimes like trespassing and vandalism. And many of the common problems we see happening will mostly come to an end.
Most significantly of all, if Counties take over law enforcement duties on public lands, tyrannical policies from federal agencies will not be enforced. At the same time, by quelling the significant criminal activity on public lands, the Sheriff’s department will protect the interest of We The People and the federal government.
Local clubs and organizations should shift gears and start building a rapport with their county Sheriff. It will be important to establish a clear line of communication to address the issues that matter to us. It is equally important to educate County Sheriffs on the fundamentals of ARS 37-931 and Revised Statute 2477. For this reason, and to promote the passage of SB1393, Arizona Backcountry Explorers is working on a multi-page educational resource for our counties to highlight the reasons this bill is important.
Please Take Action!
We urge you to take action and contact the Arizona House of Representatives using the form below. Please ask them to support SB1393 so we can finally solve these problems once and for all.