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Arizona bill would make feds answer to sheriff

The Westerner

Posted 2/5/2014

State senators took the first steps Wednesday to putting the county sheriff between federal agencies and Arizona residents and businesses.

The legislation approved by the Senate Committee on Public Safety would require any federal agency that does business in any county first register with the local sheriff. 

The sheriff could charge a registration fee. But the real heart of SB 1093 would require any federal agency seeking to inspect any home or business, or inspect any records, to first present the sheriff with a court-approved warrant. And Sen. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, who crafted the measure, said failure of an agency to follow that procedure or produce a search warrant that has been reviewed by the sheriff would permit the individual or business to turn away the federal workers. He conceded there might be implications for anyone who does that, including a fine by the agency or even the risk of being shut down. And Crandell said he foresees a likely court fight with the federal government. But he said the legislation fits within the state’s constitutional rights.

“What this bill does is put the county sheriff in charge of protecting their people,” he said. And Crandell said he’s prepared to fight this out in court. Crandell’s measure is not limited to federal regulatory agencies. He said it also could apply to the Internal Revenue Service. “If IRS shows up at your door and they want to audit you, they should be looking for something very specifically instead of just saying, ‘Oh, this is a random audit,’ ‘’ he said.

And Crandell said his legislation even would apply if it’s not the feds at the door but instead ordering a taxpayer to come to the IRS office for a review of tax returns. For Crandell, the issue is states’ rights. “I’m just trying to send a message: Don’t come in to our state and assume you have control of everything that’s going on,” Crandell said. “This is industry within the state that should be regulated by the state, that should be taken care of by the state and not by the feds.”

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