Senators in Hiding, Approve Federal Zoning!!!
from American Land Rights Association - Land Rights Network
PO Box 400 - Battle Ground WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 - Fax: 360-687-2973 - Email:
Washington, D. C. - March 26, 2002 - The United States
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW Committee) yesterday, April
25, met IN SECRET and voted to approve S. 975, the
Federal Zoning Act!!!
Because of growing public opposition to S.975, the committee
leadership decided to HIDE from the public and meet in a
This is the SAME committee that hid from the public last
December and approved S. 990, the "Son of CARA" land acquisition
bill. When the public doesn't like what they are doing, the EPW
Committee shuts out the public and votes in secret!
HOWEVER, this time around, information has leaked out about how it
happened. Here is the story of this disgraceful episode, along with
ACTION ITEMS below:
8:00am, Thursday, April 25:
The general public and lobbyists start lining up outside the door of
Room 406 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. This is where the EPW
Committee gave public notice several days ago that the "markup"-the
final debate and committee vote-on S. 975 would be held, at 9:30am that
For controversial bills like S. 975, it is usually a good idea to get in
line early, because there is sure to be a big crowd and there is limited
A committee staff person announces to the people in line that the
committee "markup," due to start at 9:30, has been moved. He
was asked WHERE and said, "I don't have room number." He
was asked WHEN and said, "I don't know, sometime after 10
o'clock." He was asked WHY and said, "The Senators
He finally admitted that the meeting was being moved to a small office
in a part of the Capitol Building that was CLOSED to the general
public!!! But he still insisted that it was a public meeting, just
being held in a room that was closed to the public. Yes ladies and
gentlemen, this kind of doubletalk does go on in Washington, DC on a daily
The EPW Committee, at about 10:30am, met IN SECRET and
voted to approve
S. 975, the Federal Zoning Act. The vote was twelve in favor to
seven against. We were able to get ahold of the roll call vote, even
though the committee leadership wanted to keep it secret and hide their
actions from the public. Here it is:
TWELVE IN FAVOR of S. 975:
Senator Jim Jeffords, Vermont
Senator Harry Reid, Nevada
Senator Max Baucus, Montana
Senator Bob Graham, Florida
Senator Joe Lieberman, Connecticut
Senator Barbara Boxer, California
Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon
Senator Tom Carper, Delaware
Senator Hillary Clinton, New York
Senator Jon Corzine, New Jersey
Senator Lincoln Caffee, Rhode Island
Senator Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania
SEVEN OPPOSED to S. 975:
Senator Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma
Senator Bob Smith, New Hampshire
Senator John Warner, Virginia
Senator Kit Bond, Missouri
Senator George Voinovich, Ohio
Senator Mike Crapo, Idaho
Senator Pete Domenici, New Mexico
HEROES AND ZEROES:
FORTUNATELY, there are some HEROES who tried to stop
this sham and defend local government and private property rights.
NUMBER ONE HERO: Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
Inhofe objected to
the last minute switch from open to the public to a secret session,
but was overruled. He was also the only Senator who filed a
written statement objecting to S. 975.
ACTION ITEM: Please THANK Senator James Inhofe!!!
See his excellent
statement below. Here is his contact information:
Senator James Inhofe
453 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Here are the three Senators who conspired to jam S. 975 through the
Environment and Public Works Committee in secret and attempted to avoid having
a roll call vote in order to hide their actions. Their top level staff
people who are responsible for this sham are listed here.
ACTION ITEM: Tell these three Senators and their top staff
what you think about the federal government mandating local zoning codes, and
what you think about them canceling the public meeting at the last minute and
holding the votes in secret!!!
Senator Jim Jeffords (Independent of Vermont).
Phone 202-224-5141, fax 202-224-1273
Senator Harry Reid (Democrat of Nevada). Reid is THE WORST
of them. Reid led the charge to sneak the "Son of CARA" Land
Grab bill out of the EPW committee in secret last December, and he is
primarily responsible for arranging this secret meeting as well.
Phone 202-224-3542, fax 202-224-7327
Senator Lincoln Chaffee (Republican of Rhode Island).
Phone 202-224-2921, fax 202-228-2853
You may call any Senator at the Capitol Switchboard -- (202) 224-3121 or
the temporary FREE NUMBER (800) 648-3516.
Statement of Senator James Inhofe on S. 975, Federal Zoning Act:
INHOFE: I would like to express my strong opposition to S. 975. I
believe this bill raises potential constitutional questions under the Tenth
Amendment, where powers not expressly granted to the federal government in the
Constitution, like zoning and land-use decisions, are reserved to the local
and state governments. This legislation threatens to usurp
local jurisdictions ability to make their own decision on economic
development, housing and transportation - all of these being unique to
By voting this legislation out of committee we are saying it is
"OK" for the federal government to get involved in state,
local and tribal land use planning and further more local land use
planning is not important. This sets a dangerous precedent.
I have grave concerns with the notion of the Secretary of Commerce
evaluating a state's need for federal funds and then prescribing the criteria
for the content of the state plan, an area where the Secretary of Commerce can
claim no particular expertise or authority.
In the "findings" section of this bill it states that
"comprehensive land use planning and community development should be
supported by the Federal, State, and tribal governments." There is no
mention of support by local governments. For those of us who were local
elected officials we must recognize that successful community development and
comprehensive planning needs to be supported and driven by the local
government. As a former Mayor this type of statement concerns me deeply.
The federal government should respect the authority and expertise
of these localities to make land-use decisions without dangling a
"carrot" so that they adopt planning legislation
acceptable to the federal government.
THANK YOU SENATOR INHOFE!!!
S. 975 is now ready to go to the Senate floor, to be voted on by the
entire Senate. It is unclear when that may happen. It will be at
least a few weeks, and may be put off for several months, depending on how
strong support and opposition becomes.