Press Releases

SEN. DEBBIE SMITH: Statement on Senate Bill 175

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2015

SEN. DEBBIE SMITH: Statement on Senate Bill 175

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Debbie Smith made the following statement opposing Senate Bill 175. S.B. 175 changes numerous gun provisions in existing Nevada law, including expanding Stand Your Ground provisions to cover defense of a vehicle. 

“While I appreciate that this bill attempts to address some domestic violence issues, I cannot support it in its current form. Expanding ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws will make this state a more dangerous place for all Nevadans, particularly women who are so often the victims of violent crimes.  I urge the Judiciary Committee to instead hear Senate Bill 187, which will give domestic violence survivors the protection they deserve.” 

Sen. Smith introduced Senate Bill 187, which bars people convicted of domestic abuse or stalking, or people under extended order of protection for domestic violence from owning or possessing a firearm. 

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[Release] FLORES: IGUALDAD SALARIAL crea familias estables y fuertes

PARA DIFUSIÓN INMEDIATA

23 de febrero de 2015

 

FLORES: IGUALDAD SALARIAL crea familias estables y fuertes  

CARSON CITY - Hoy en día, la ex Asambleísta Lucy Flores facilitó la siguiente declaración respaldando el proyecto de ley de la Senadora Pat Spearman para requerir que las mujeres Nevadenses ganen igual salario por trabajo igual. Flores se unió a la Senadora Spearman, Líder Demócrata de la Asamblea Marilyn Kirkpatrick, los legisladores Demócratas y activistas de todo Nevada en el edificio legislativo para el anuncio del proyecto de ley.

"La igualdad salarial es algo más que tratar a las mujeres de Nevada justamente en el lugar de trabajo. Se trata de crear familias fuertes y estables que puedan ahorrar lo suficiente como para mandar a sus hijos a la universidad, comprar una casa, y ahorrar para la jubilación", dijo Flores. "Estoy orgullosa de estar junta a la Senadora Spearman hoy para ayudar a que la igualdad de remuneración se realice para las familias trabajadores de Nevada."

En Nevada, las mujeres ganan aproximadamente $ 0,85 por cada dólar que recibe un hombre. Las mujeres minorías se enfrentan a una mayor disparidad salarial. Según las estadísticas, las latinas en Nevada hacen sólo $ 0,52 por cada dólar que recibe un hombre y las mujeres afrodescendientes ganan $ 0,64 por cada dólar que recibe un hombre.

 

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[RELEASE] Legislative Democrats to Introduce Equal Pay Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2015

LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATS TO INTRODUCE EQUAL PAY BILL

CARSON CITY - At a press conference today, Sen. Pat Spearman announced that she will introduce a bill to require equal pay for equal work in Nevada. She was joined at the announcement by Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick, other Legislative Democrats, and hundreds of Nevadans participating in Grassroots Lobby Day at the Legislature.

Sen. Spearman’s bill will incorporate the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act into Nevada law. The bill will prevent employer retaliation against employees who share information about their pay with coworkers. It will allow victims of pay discrimination to recover a range of damages including up to two years of back pay and benefits. The bill also creates a tiered civil penalty structure that will result in increasing fines for repeat offenders. 

“Equal pay for equal work will help level the playing field for Nevada women and their families. Passing a strong equal pay bill will send a message that we’re committed to fairness for all Nevadans,” said Sen. Pat Spearman. “I have invited every one of my colleagues, Republican and Democrat, to sign on as a co-sponsor to this bill.”

“I thank Senator Spearman for introducing this bill and allowing me to sign on as a sponsor. As a mother and grandmother, I’m proud to be a sponsor of this bill,” said Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “If this bill passes, it means middle class families will have more money to put aside for their kids’ college or to buy their first house. Passing this equal pay bill will put Nevada’s middle class families one step closer to the American Dream.”

Equal pay is particularly important to the economic security of middle and working class families. In Nevada, women make approximately $.85 per dollar that a man makes. Women of color face an even greater pay disparity. According to statistics, African-American women in Nevada make $.64 per dollar a man makes, and Latinas make only $.52 per dollar a man makes. 

So far, the bill has eight co-sponsors in the Senate and seventeen in the Assembly, including all women in the Democratic caucuses. Sen. Spearman has announced that she welcomes any member of the Legislature, regardless of party, to sign on as a co-sponsor.

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[RELEASE] Update from Senator Debbie Smith on Legislative Priorities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2015

UPDATE FROM SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH ON LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Debbie Smith made the following statement on the priorities of the 2015 Legislative Session:

“I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support over the past few weeks. I’ve been lucky to hear from so many friends, both in Nevada and across the country. Those kind words have meant so much to my family and me, and they’ve helped keep my spirits up.

“Although I’m not in Carson City, those who know me well will know I’ve been closely watching legislative business. Frankly, I’m extremely concerned. As I’ve said, I had two major priorities for the 2015 Session: a bond rollover bill to fund school construction and a bill that helps keep guns away from domestic abusers and stalkers. I want to make something very clear: although I am unable to physically be in the Legislative Building right now, these bills remain my top priorities for this session, and I will not stop fighting for them. That’s why I’m proud that today my colleagues will introduce a bill on my behalf to keep guns away from domestic abusers.

“Protecting survivors of domestic violence is too important to be watered down and wrapped up in irresponsible and extremist legislation. Unfortunately, there is a risk of that happening in Carson City right now. Some good ideas to keep guns out of the hands of survivors have been loaded up with extremely bad ideas that will ultimately turn abuse survivors into political tools. I firmly stand against any attempt to put partisan politics before survivors of abuse. 

“Thankfully, I know that my caucus will continue to fight to pass a domestic violence gun bill that will actually protect survivors. I will be a part of that fight, and I want my constituents and all Nevadans to know that despite my current circumstances, I will continue fighting for you every day.”

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[RELEASE] FORD INTRODUCES RESOLUTION SUPPORTING VOTING RIGHTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2015

FORD INTRODUCES RESOLUTION SUPPORTING VOTING RIGHTS

CARSON CITY - Today, Democratic Leader Sen. Aaron D. Ford, introduced Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 9. The resolution calls for continued enforcement of the Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Department of Justice. SJR 9 has a bipartisan group of cosponsors, including Assembly Speaker John Hambrick and Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick. 

“Defending our constitutional right to vote has historically been a bipartisan priority. When the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was originally passed, it was a coalition of Democrats and Republicans who came together to support it,” said Sen. Aaron D. Ford. “This resolution is an opportunity for Nevadans, Democrat and Republican, to speak with one voice and tell Washington, D.C. that our right to vote deserves the strongest possible protections.”

SJR 9 encourages the United States Department of Justice to continue to use the tools available under the Voting Rights Act to take action against state or local practices that may have a discriminatory effect on Americans’ right to vote, particularly members of minority communities. 

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SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH DISCHARGED FROM MD ANDERSON IN HOUSTON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2015

SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH DISCHARGED FROM MD ANDERSON IN HOUSTON

CARSON CITY - Sen. Debbie Smith provided the following update on her medical condition. She is happy to announce that she will be discharged from MD Anderson Cancer Center today. She will remain in Houston for follow up treatment for the time being, but she is feeling good and is paying close attention to Senate business. Her family reports that they cannot keep her cell phone out of her hands. 

Sen. Smith and her family would like to again thank the many people who have reached out and showered them with support over the past few weeks. 

They continue to ask that members of the media respect their privacy at this time. 

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[RELEASE] SENATE DEMOCRATS: WE SHOULD BUILD SCHOOLS WITHOUT SLASHING NEVADA FAMILIES’ PAYCHECKS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2015

 

SENATE DEMOCRATS: WE SHOULD BUILD SCHOOLS WITHOUT SLASHING NEVADA FAMILIES’ PAYCHECKS

CARSON CITY - Today, Senate Democrats voted unanimously against Senate Bill 119, a bill that would remove fair wage laws that protect construction workers on publicly funded school construction projects. Senate Democrats previously offered a bipartisan alternative, SB 106, that would allow for school construction without changing fair wage laws. Democrats also offered an amendment on the floor that would keep protections for construction workers in place. Senate Republicans unanimously voted against that amendment.

Senator Aaron D. Ford, Democratic Leader, made the following statement after the passage of the bill:

“This bill hijacks a bipartisan idea and forces a politically inspired pay cut for the middle class families that are the backbone of Nevada’s construction industry. It will drive skilled workers out of state and put Nevada contractors and small businesses out of business. We can put schools first without putting Nevada’s construction workers and their families last.”

When SB 119 was heard in the Senate Government Affairs Committee, there was overwhelming testimony against it. Contractors, construction workers, and small business owners testified that SB 119 would drive workers out of state, allow out-of-state contractors to underbid Nevada businesses, and lead to lower quality schools.

Studies have shown that suspending prevailing wage laws does not lead to any cost savings for taxpayers, and may risk actually raising costs due to lower worker productivity and later repairs for lower quality workmanship.

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SENATE DEMOCRATS: CONSUMER PROTECTIONS FOR PAYDAY LENDING MUST REMAIN INTACT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2015

SENATE DEMOCRATS: CONSUMER PROTECTIONS FOR PAYDAY LENDING MUST REMAIN INTACT

CARSON CITY - Today, Democratic Senators on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor, & Energy responded to SB 123, a bill that would weaken consumer protections in the payday lending industry. Specifically, the bill would remove a prohibition on lawsuits by lenders of certain types of payday loans against borrowers. At today’s hearing, a variety of groups, including representatives of some payday lenders, spoke out against the proposed changes. 

“One in five Nevada veterans have used a payday loan, and many continue to struggle to pay them back,” said Senator Pat Spearman, a U.S. Army veteran. “We owe our constituents the best protection the law can provide, not weaker laws that will hurt veterans and all Nevadans.” 

“Today’s testimony showed that SB 123 is fundamentally flawed,” said Senator Mark Manendo. “We’re still recovering the Great Recession, and this is the wrong time to put working families at risk when they’re just getting back on their feet.” 

“This bill raises serious consumer protection concerns,” said Senator Kelvin Atkinson. “If Nevada is going to offer a fair shot for everyone, then we can’t be a state where the laws favor payday lenders over everyday Nevadans.” 

In Nevada, a typical payday loan carries an interest rate of more than 400%. According to a study conducted by UNLV, 1 in 5 (20%) Nevada veterans have used a payday loan, far exceeding the national rate. The Department of Defense considers payday loans to be predatory and a threat to military readiness. According to studies, 75% of payday lending fees are generated by borrowers taking out over 10 loans a year – proving they are not a one-time fix.

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UPDATE ON SENATOR SMITH’S SURGERY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2015

UPDATE ON SENATOR SMITH’S SURGERY

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Debbie Smith’s family made the following announcement regarding Sen. Smith’s operation to remove a tumor on her brain. 

Sen. Smith’s doctors report the surgery was successful. She is awake, talking, and will continue to rest today. 

The Smith family would like to thank Dr. Weinberg, Dr. Zavarella, and the staff at MD Anderson in Houston as well as Dr. Walsh at the Ruvo Center in Las Vegas. They would also like to thank friends and supporters for their overwhelming support throughout this process. 

We ask that press continue to respect Sen. Smith’s privacy at this time. Further details will be released as they become available. 

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GOP PUTS HYPER-PARTISANSHIP ABOVE COOPERATION ON SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2015

GOP PUTS HYPER-PARTISANSHIP ABOVE COOPERATION ON SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION 

CARSON CITY - Today, Senate Democrats condemned Republicans for hijacking bipartisan school construction bond rollover legislation to push measures that will hurt middle class families. A Republican version of the construction bill, SB 119, removes prevailing wage requirements from school construction projects. SB 119 was heard before the Senate Government Affairs Committee today. 

Sen. Debbie Smith has introduced SB 106, which allows school districts to rollover bonds without gutting existing fair wage requirements. The bill has bipartisan support and was named a Southern Nevada Priority at the Southern Nevada Forum in January. 

“We should be able to put schools first without putting some middle-class families last,” said Democratic Leader Sen. Aaron D. Ford. “Unfortunately, for Republicans this has never been about building safe, quality schools for our kids. Instead it’s about pushing their narrow, partisan agenda at the expense of Nevada’s middle class families. All Nevadans deserve a fair shot at success.” 

Numerous studies reviewing prevailing wage laws across the country have found no evidence that the requirements increase construction costs. In fact, prevailing wage laws generally help ensure that highly-skilled, local laborers work on construction projects. In some cases, overall costs are actually lowered due to increased worker productivity. Removing the requirements leads to a less experienced and less skilled workforce, lower workplace productivity, and lower quality end results. 

“Schools should be built by experienced, highly skilled construction workers, and those workers deserve a fair wage that can support their families,” said Sen. Kelvin Atkinson. “Gutting these laws will leave the safety and quality of our kids’ schools in the hands of the lowest bidder. That’s wrong.”

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UPDATE ON SEN. DEBBIE SMITH’S MEDICAL CONDITION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2015

UPDATE ON SEN. DEBBIE SMITH’S MEDICAL CONDITION

CARSON CITY - Today, Senator Debbie Smith announced that she has been diagnosed with an operable brain tumor. She is currently being treated at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas where she is scheduled to have surgery this Friday. 

Senator Smith would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support she and her family have received in the past few days. As soon as her doctors give her permission, she will be back at work in the Nevada State Senate. 

We ask that you continue to respect the privacy of Senator Smith and her family at this time.

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SENATE DEMOCRATS VOTE AGAINST LOCKING PUBLIC OUT OF REDISTRICTING PROCESS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2015

SENATE DEMOCRATS VOTE AGAINST LOCKING PUBLIC OUT OF REDISTRICTING PROCESS 

CARSON CITY – Today, Senate Democrats voted unanimously against the Joint Standing Rules of the Senate and Assembly. Democratic senators voted against rules changes that would have made it more difficult for members of the public to exercise their right to participate in any redistricting process. Senate Democrats were not given proposed rules to review until a few minutes before the Senate was gaveled to order.

“It’s unfortunate that our Republican colleagues felt the need to exclude the public from participating in the redistricting process,” said Democratic Leader Sen. Aaron D. Ford. “Any redistricting effort in Nevada should be an open, public process, and not a product of backroom deals by Carson City insiders.”

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How the Legislature could affect your kids

Reno Gazette-Journal
By Trevon Milliard
Jan. 29, 2015

Lawmakers have their eyes on changing public schools this year.

The attention began with Governor Brian Sandoval's State of the State address. He advocated for sweeping changes: Take away voters' right to choose local school boards, create a state-run district of the lowest-performing public schools and put millions of dollars into improving what's commonly rated as one of the nation's worst school systems.

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SEN. DEBBIE SMITH: Legislature Must Protect Women from Gun-Related Domestic Violence, Murders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 29, 2015

SEN. DEBBIE SMITH: LEGISLATURE MUST PROTECT WOMEN FROM GUN-RELATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, MURDERS

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Debbie Smith (D-Sparks) announced that she will introduce legislation this session to help prevent gun-related intimate partner violence. Recent studies have found that women in Nevada are murdered with guns at a significantly higher rate than the national average.

The legislation would prohibit persons convicted of domestic violence and stalking crimes or subject to an extended protection order for domestic violence from possessing a firearm. Persons prohibited from owning or possessing guns would be required to turn them over to law enforcement or a licensed gun dealer. Under the proposed legislation, failure to comply would constitute a category B felony. 

“The sad fact is that we have not done nearly enough to protect Nevada women from intimate partner violence,” Sen. Smith said. “By toughening penalties and taking guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, we can protect women, particularly those who have faced abuse. I hope my colleagues will join me in acting to prevent more tragic deaths.”

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SENATE DEMOCRATS RENEW PUSH FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION, CALL FOR BIPARTISAN LEGISLATIVE ACTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2015

SENATE DEMOCRATS RENEW PUSH FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION, CALL FOR BIPARTISAN LEGISLATIVE ACTION

LAS VEGAS– At the Las Vegas NewsFeed today, Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford called on legislative leaders to commit to making funding for school construction the first priority for the upcoming session.  Specifically, Senate Democrats are pushing for a bipartisan bill expanding rollover bond authority for local school districts to be the first piece of legislation sent to the governor’s desk.  

“On the heels of last week’s Southern Nevada Forum and this morning’s Las Vegas NewsFeed breakfast, it is clear that there is bipartisan support for Senator Debbie Smith’s proposed school construction legislation,” said Senate Democratic Leader Aaron Ford. “We invite our Republican colleagues and Governor Sandoval to join us in pledging to make school construction the first thing we accomplish this session.”

In the special legislative session last year, Senate Democrats proposed adding the rollover of bonding authority to the proclamation. Had this been passed, it was projected that school construction would have begun within 6 months. 

Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, a member of the Senate Education Committee and 40 year educator, made the following statement:

“When we invest in safe, modern school facilities, we’re investing in the long-term success of Nevada students. Nevada’s children can’t reach their full potential in overcrowded schools that lack basic amenities, like air conditioning and heat. Leaders of both parties must come together and commit to immediately passing this school construction bill.”

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