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Bills Proposed in Ariz., Del. Concern Sheriffs’ Constitutional Authority

Monday, April 16, 2012

Recently two important and very different pieces of state legislation were introduced, one in Arizona and the other in Delaware, both concerning the constitutional authority of county sheriffs.

The first, HB 2434, was passed by Arizona lawmakers in an attempt to affirm the county sheriffs’ authority as sovereign, requiring federal law enforcement officers to notify a sheriff of any action to be carried out in his county. The Tenth Amendment Center said it made “a big statement.” The measure, which passed the state Senate with a 20-8 vote and the House by a margin of 38-17, stated:

A. Before taking any official law enforcement action in a county in this state, a federal law enforcement officer shall notify the sheriff of the county, unless the notification would impede the federal officer’s duties.

B. If a federal law enforcement officer does not notify the sheriff pursuant to subsection A. of this section, the federal law enforcement officer shall notify the sheriff of the county as soon as practicable after taking the action.

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