In 1910, the United States Congress passed the Arizona-New Mexico Enabling Act, allowing Arizona to become a state. The Enabling Act granted Arizona millions of acres of land, referred to as "state trust land."The state land trust is intended to produce revenue for various public institutions (schools, colleges, prisons, etc.). The state can lease or sell trust land, and the natural products (timber, minerals, etc.) of the land, only to the "highest and best bidder" at public auction.
In 1936, Congress amended the Enabling Act to give Arizona more flexibility in managing and disposing of trust land by allowing the state to exchange trust land for other public or private lands. Arizona did not amend its state Constitution to incorporate that authority for land exchanges, but the state did enact statutes to provide for these exchanges of land. Acting under its statutory authority, the State Land Department has periodically exchanged state trust land with the federal government and with private landowners. In 1990, the State Supreme Court determined that without amending the Arizona Constitution the state cannot conduct land exchanges. Subsequently, the State Land Department ceased the land exchange program.
Proposition 100 would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow the state to exchange state trust land for other public land. The exchange must be in the best interest of the state land trust and the exchange must either conserve open space on the trust land offered by the state or assist in preserving military airports in Arizona. In order to permit the exchange, there must be public hearings to provide for public comment on the proposed exchange, the appraised value of the land the state receives in the exchange must at least equal the appraised value of the trust land the state exchanges, the state trust income must not be reduced, the financial impact of the exchange on each county, city or town and school district in which the lands are located must be analyzed and the physical, economic and natural resource impacts of the exchange on the surrounding community and local land uses and land use plans must be analyzed.