Nevada must go hat in hand to Congress to plead for use of its own land

The meek may inherit the earth, but meekly asking the Kremlin on the Potomac won’t get you a square-inch of your own land.

Nevada’s delegation — for the third freaking time, for crying out loud — has petitioned the representatives of the other 49 states for permission to use a few acres of the unappropriated lands within its own boundaries for campuses for higher education. The same supplication foundered in 2008 and 2009.

According to the Review-Journal, the bill introduced this past week would provide 2,000 acres of  “federal land” in North Las Vegas to UNLV, 40 acres in northwest Las Vegas to the College of Southern Nevada, and 280 acres in Pahrump to Great Basin College.

Land for UNLV northern campus

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei, who represents much of rural Nevada, which is largely controlled by various federal satrapies, introduced the bill, which is co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Joe Heck and Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he plans to reintroduce the bill in the Senate. Apparently the powerful Oz was impotent in any efforts to gain passage in the prior sessions.

No one raised so much as an eyebrow over the ignominy of a sovereign state having to beg the other states for permission to make gainful disposition of land within its own borders.

In 1864 when Nevada became a state the residents of the Territory of Nevada sold out the citizens of the State of Nevada by selling its birthright, agreeing to “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”

Except for an occasional rustling among the Sagebrushes by few rebels and an absolutely futile and completely ignored vote of the citizens of Nevada in 1996 to change the state Constitution so the state could obtain a modicum of power over the 83 to 92 percent of the state controlled by federal agencies, nothing has changed since.

Since my Ely Times column on this topic, I’ve sent messages to the governor and several of our representatives in Washington. I also sent an email to one congressman’s local aide. The aide said he would ask the congressman about it. That was several days ago. There was no reply from anyone else. Just a collective shrug.

Today the state Constitution still contains a footnote explaining that the amendment was “approved and ratified by the people at the 1996 general election, effective on the date Congress consents to amendment or a legal determination is made that such consent is not necessary.”

Congress has not consented. There has been no legal determination.

Meanwhile, the state must go “Mother may I” to all the delegations from all the other states to access its own land for its own purpose.

This is despite the fact the president proclaimed on Oct. 31, 1864:

“Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in accordance with the duty imposed upon me by the act of congress aforesaid, do hereby declare and proclaim that the said State of Nevada is admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original states.”

Equal footing? We can’t even get a toehold.

8 comments on “Nevada must go hat in hand to Congress to plead for use of its own land

  1. This is something that infuriates me as well. The Constitution, Federalist Papers, and Articles of Confederation are all very clear on an overriding theme – states rights is a crucially important and powerful concept to keep the federal government from overstepping its boundaries.

    I know the Nevada Journal did an interview with the presidential candidates on this topic and most of them had favorable responses to this specific issue. However, I think Ron Paul’s overall platform -heavy emphasis on the power of states rights and keeping the federal government within the confines of the Constitution – is superior precisely because it eliminates the need for begging and pleading on each individual issue and restores the rightful power of the states to govern themselves in all matters of this nature.

  2. Paul is good on states’ rights.


  3. nyp10025 says:

    You guys want to welsh on the deal you made to obtain statehood?
    Whatever happened to the sanctity of contract?

  4. No contract can last in perpetuity, Petey. How could the residents of a territory bind forever the citizens of a state after it enters the union on equal footing with the original 13?


  5. nyp10025 says:

    I dunno. Perhaps the same way white male property-owning residents of the subscribers to the Articles of Confederation in 1776 can bind 250 million people today.

  6. RedNevada says:

    […] If only Nevada had the most powerful person in Congress amongst out delegation, perhaps we could have more flexibility to put all of this empty land to some economically productive use. […]

  7. Never heard of amendments?

    Sent from my iPad

  8. […] the links to prove it from this year alone here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here — that Derek Yonai’s piece in Sunday’s Viewpoints section of the Review-Journal […]

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