Cliven Bundy, Supporters Rally Before Nevada Lawmakers - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Cliven Bundy, Supporters Rally Before Nevada Lawmakers

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It's been nearly a year since a standoff between a rancher and the Bureau of Land Management in Southern Nevada over grazing fees. On Tuesday, members of the Bundy family traveled to Carson City to testify on behalf of a bill that would give control of federal public lands to the state.

The federal government owns 84% of Nevada's land and many say it's time Nevada took control. 

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It was standing room only during Tuesday's Assembly Committee meeting with people weighing in on Assembly Bill 408.

Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore says the bill would allow Nevada to control its resources...and she says federal land is supposed to be used for building forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings. "Our U.S. Constitution, the federal government is only, only supposed to own a minor amount of our lands."

Others say they are concerned that the BLM is restricting access.

"The land and the resources should be managed, it should be distributed to the people and we haven't followed that here, in Nevada. So, therefore, we keep having negative symptoms of this problem."

Ammon Bundy's family made national headlines, last April, when the BLM temporarily seized their cattle because of unpaid grazing fees in excess of $1 million. The Bundys say they don't owe the federal government. “What happened at the Bundy Ranch is that they came to take our rights that we had established in 1877 and passed onto six generations. And we were left alone to defend ourselves."

Others say the government owns the land and by not paying the Bundys are breaking the law.

"What this essentially will do is reward terrorist behavior."

Annette Magnus says she fears this bill would restrict access to public lands and allow the state to sell much of it off. "Mining companies, fracking, people like Cliven Bundy can have access to that land and it would essentially close it off to the public."

A group gathered outside the legislative building opposing this bill saying Nevada can't afford to take control of the land.

"We've got to now pay the fees, we've got to track it, we've got to figure out who is on it. No one's talking about the staff. The folks that maintain these lands are federal folks,” says Democratic Sen. Kelvin Atkinson.

Fiore says she expects the state to make money because of taxes and fees.

And while some say the state would restrict public access, proponents say that will stay the same except the state would control it.  

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