- Associated Press - Monday, March 30, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - A newly filed lawsuit challenges a planned referendum asking Arizona voters to authorize paying for the Land Department’s administration of state trust land by diverting money from public schools and other beneficiaries of the trust.

Lawmakers in early March approved a resolution to put the proposal on the 2016 general election after it was included in a budget agreement between Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican legislative leaders.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest’s lawsuit filed Friday contends the proposal violates Arizona’s statehood law by not requiring that the change get congressional approval.

Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Arizona received millions of acres at statehood under the condition that it be held in trust for schools and other designated beneficiaries.

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