Press Releases

RELEASE: SENATE REPUBLICANS PLAY POLITICAL GAMES WITH MILITARY CHILD CARE BILL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 14, 2015

 

SENATE REPUBLICANS PLAY POLITICAL GAMES WITH MILITARY CHILD CARE BILL

CARSON CITY - Today, Senate Republicans refused to give Senate Bill 359 an up or down vote on the Senate Floor. The bill creates a preference in child care placement for military families and previously passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously. Republicans voted down a Democratic motion to bring the bill up for a floor vote.

Sen. Pat Spearman, the bill’s sponsor and a 29 year veteran of the United States Army, made the following statement:

 

“As a veteran, I’m extremely offended that my Republican colleagues would play political games with the welfare of military families. Military families pay a high emotional and financial price while their loved ones are on active duty. The strain only gets worse if a family member goes missing or is killed. The least we can do is take basic steps to ease those families’ burden by giving them preferential access to child care.”

Senate Bill 359 requires that child care facilities give a preference for admission to children who have a parent or guardian that is 1. currently serving on active duty, 2. was killed or died as a direct result of injuries received while serving honorably on active duty, or 3. is a prisoner of war or reported missing in action while on active duty.

The Department of Defense reported to the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission that, as of September 2014, more than 11,000 military children were on waiting lists for child care across the country. The lack of access to child care can lead to our troops and their families forgoing opportunities for spouse employment or education. It can also lead to difficulty in meeting demanding military work schedules.

According to the Department of Defense, April is the Month of the Military Child.

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RELEASE: UPDATE FROM SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH UPON HER RETURN TO THE SENATE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 8, 2015

 

UPDATE FROM SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH UPON HER RETURN TO THE SENATE

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Debbie Smith made the following statement upon her return to the Nevada State Senate:

“I’ve been feeling better every day since my surgery, and I’m excited to be back to work today after several weeks of treatment and rest. I want to thank my family, friends, colleagues, and supporters from across Nevada and the country who have been a source of strength throughout this process.”

Senator Smith had surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor in February. She has recently returned to Nevada after completing several weeks of post-surgery treatment at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Her first day back at the Nevada State Senate is today.

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[RELEASE] STATEMENT OF SENATORS SMITH, WOODHOUSE, & SPEARMAN ON FAILURE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AMENDMENTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 2, 2015

 

STATEMENT OF SENATORS SMITH, WOODHOUSE, & SPEARMAN ON FAILURE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AMENDMENTS

CARSON CITY - Today, Senator Debbie Smith, Senator Joyce Woodhouse, and Senator Pat Spearman made the following joint statement on the failure of two amendments to Senate Bill 240 that would have expanded legal protections for survivors of domestic violence.

“Expanding legal protections for domestic abuse survivors is common-sense, and it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We are disappointed that our Republican colleagues failed to support these proposals. Nevada’s women deserve better.”

The amendments had the unanimous support of Democratic senators while Republicans voted unanimously against them. The first amendment would have required anyone subject to an order of protection for domestic violence to surrender firearms in his or her possession while the order is in effect. The second amendment added stalking to the list of convictions after which an individual is banned from possessing a firearm.

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[RELEASE]: NV Democrats Work to Provide Early Childhood Help for Middle Class Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2015

NEVADA DEMOCRATS WORK TO PROVIDE EARLY CHILDHOOD HELP FOR MIDDLE CLASS FAMILIES

CARSON CITY -  Today, the Assembly Taxation Committee will hear Assembly Bill 350, which would provide low income and middle class families a credit to send their children to daycare and early childhood education facilities. AB 350 will be presented by Assemblyman Nelson Araujo.

“Low income and middle class Nevadans deserve a break when it comes to the exorbitant cost of childcare and early childhood education,” said Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “One of the easiest ways to give Nevada families a head start is to help them send their child to a daycare facility that not only is safe for the child, but also provides an educational backbone to get them on the right path to learning from an early age.” 

“The high cost of early childhood education and care in our state forces parents to make a difficult decision: stay at home with their child to save money that would be spent on care, or go to work and be forced to see half of their paycheck go toward that care,” said Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford. “Passing AB 350 will give parents the ability to send their child to a reputable child care facility, while remaining at work so they can build their American dream.”

A reduced burden of childcare is one of the priorities articulated by Assembly and Senate Democrats in the Nevada Blueprint, a legislative agenda designed to grow Nevada’s middle class. The Blueprint was released in early March. 

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ICYMI: Nevada Republicans Propose Legislation Targeting Low-Income & Minority Voters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 30, 2015

 

ICYMI: NEVADA REPUBLICANS PROPOSE LEGISLATION TARGETING LOW-INCOME & MINORITY VOTERS

CARSON CITY - On Friday, the Las Vegas Sun and the Huffington Post detailed legislation introduced by Nevada Senate and Assembly Republicans that would have a disparate impact on middle and lower income voters, particularly African-Americans and Latinos.

 Nevada is currently one of the most accessible voting states in the country. Senate Bills 433, 437, and Assembly Bill 459 target Sunday and early voting hours utilized by minority voters and shift workers, particularly Nevadans working in the tourism and hospitality industries. The bills also open the door to racial profiling against Latinos and other groups by allowing a voter’s registration to be terminated based on arbitrary suspicion regarding that voter’s citizenship.

From the Huffington Post:

A Nevada state Senate committee has introduced legislation that would eliminate early voting on Sundays and restrict counties' abilities to set their own voting hours, in the latest move to reshape how elections are held in the state.

Senate Bill 433 was introduced on Monday by the Nevada Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections. Under the terms of the bill, voting on Sundays during the early voting period ahead of next year's elections would no longer be allowed, and counties would no longer be able to keep their polls open beyond 7 p.m. Previously, polling sites in areas like Clark County, which contains Las Vegas, had kept polls open until 9 p.m.

...

Yvanna Cancela, the political director of the Culinary Union 226, which represents more than 55,000 employees on the Las Vegas strip and at the city's airport, called Senate Bill 433 an intentional effort to suppress the votes of the union's members.

“This is a deliberate attempt to make it harder for people to vote, and specifically in Nevada, in Las Vegas, where there is a 24-hour economy, it is not like in other cities where most people work 9-to-5 jobs," Cancela told HuffPost. "If you look at our people, like the gaming industry workers, this would dramatically affect their ability to vote based on their work schedule."

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Rebuked by election experts and Democrats as discriminatory legislation, a recent wave of GOP-backed voter reform bills will add more fuel to an ongoing debate about voter fraud, turnout and disenfranchisement in the Nevada Legislature.

The legislation follows a Republican trend nationwide to hash stricter voting laws in the name of election integrity and accessibility, fueling a partisan issue that’s landed in federal courts across the country.

The new bills eliminate early voting on Sundays and grant state officials authority to terminate registrations of voters who “may not be citizens” while providing a myriad of safeguards to ensure noncitizens don’t vote.

...

Nevada is currently known as one of the most accessible places to vote in the country, and the bills perpetuate a myth that there’s rampant voter fraud in Nevada, said David Damore, a political science professor at UNLV.

That mindset is a “slap in the face” to Nevada elections and the officials who run them, he said.

 

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[RELEASE] Sen. Debbie Smith to Present "Safe-to-Tell" Bill to Education Committee Today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2015

SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH TO PRESENT “SAFE-TO-TELL” BILL TO EDUCATION COMMITTEE TODAY

CARSON CITY - Today, Senator Debbie Smith will present Senate Bill 338 to the Senate Education Committee. The bill requires the Attorney General’s Office to create a Safe-to-Tell program that would allow for anonymous reporting of dangerous, violent or unlawful activity in public schools. Information reported to the program would be referred to the appropriate public safety agency or school administrators for further action. 

Sen. Smith released the following statement about her bill:

“I’m looking forward to presenting the Safe-to-Tell bill later this afternoon because we can’t do enough to create safe learning environments for kids, particularly when it comes to school violence and suicide prevention. The Safe-to-Tell program will continue to improve school safety by providing a secure, anonymous means for students, teachers, and community members to report dangerous activity at public schools.” 

The Senate Education Committee will convene at 3:30pm on Friday. Sen. Smith will testify via phone. 

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[RELEASE] STATEMENT OF SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER AARON FORD ON SENATOR REID’S RETIREMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2015

STATEMENT OF SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER AARON FORD ON SENATOR REID’S RETIREMENT

CARSON CITY - Today, Nevada Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford released the following statement on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus: 

“Senator Reid has been a tireless fighter for Nevada for decades, from his time in the Nevada Legislature through his 30 years of leadership in the United States Senate. On behalf of the Nevada Senate Democrats, I want to thank him for his advocacy, his mentorship, and his dedication to the people of our state.”

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Nevada Democrats: Lowering Car Registration Fees Puts Money in Nevadans' Pockets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2015

NEVADA DEMOCRATS: LOWERING CAR REGISTRATION FEES PUTS MONEY
IN NEVADANS’ POCKETS

CARSON CITY -  Today, the Assembly Transportation Committee will hear Assembly Bill 326, which would lower annual car registration fees. The bill increases the rate of annual depreciation used to calculate the fee. AB 326 will be presented by Assemblyman Richard Carrillo. 

“Nevada has some of the highest, car registration fees in the country,” said Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “One of the easiest ways to give Nevada families a break is to cut those fees, and do what we can to make sure that more money ends up in the pockets of middle class families.” 

“Lowering these fees has been a bipartisan priority in past sessions, and we see no reason why that can’t be the case again,” said Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford. “Passing AB 326 sends the message that we won’t balance our state’s budget on the backs of middle and lower income Nevadans.” 

Lower car registration fees is one of the priorities articulated by Assembly and Senate Democrats in the Nevada Blueprint, a legislative agenda designed to grow Nevada’s middle class. The Blueprint was released in early March. 

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[RELEASE] Sen. Woodhouse Introduces Bill to Strengthen Background Checks, Training for Child Care Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2015

SENATOR WOODHOUSE INTRODUCES BILL TO STRENGTHEN BACKGROUND CHECKS, TRAINING FOR CHILD CARE WORKERS

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Joyce Woodhouse introduced Senate Bill 257, a bill that changes training requirements and increases the frequency of background checks for child care workers. 

Existing law requires 15 hours of annual training for employees at a facility with 12 or fewer children or 24 hours of training for employees at a facility with more than 12 children. SB 257 requires at least 12 training hours be in state approved programs specific to the age group served by the facility. The bill further requires an additional three hours of annual training in recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect. 

SB 257 also increases the frequency of required background checks for child care workers from every five to every two years. 

“For many families with working parents, child care isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity,” said Sen. Woodhouse. “As a 40 year educator, I believe we should take every step we can to give parents extra peace of mind that their children are in safe hands.” 

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[RELEASE] Legislative Democrats Announce "Nevada Blueprint" for Middle Class Growth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2015

LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATS ANNOUNCE “NEVADA BLUEPRINT” FOR MIDDLE CLASS GROWTH

unnamedCARSON CITY - At a press conference today in front of the Nevada Legislative Building, Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford and Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick announced the Nevada Blueprint, an agenda to expand and protect Nevada’s middle class. They were joined by the members of the Assembly and Senate Democratic Caucuses at the announcement. 

The Blueprint reflects Democratic principles and priorities for the Legislative Session. Recognizing that success and stability at every stage of life is connected, the Blueprint includes proposals to strengthen Nevadans from the early years of pre-K to 12th grade education all the way through a secure retirement.  

“We knew before coming to Carson City that the Legislative Democrats would have to be the ones to make strengthening and growing our middle class the priority. Our Blueprint does just that,” said Sen. Aaron D. Ford. “Growing the middle class means creating opportunities for educational success, attracting new jobs in 21st century industries, and providing for the long-term economic stability of Nevada families.” 

“In order to make this Blueprint a reality, Democrats are introducing dozens of bills ranging from expanding affordable childcare to protecting seniors’ retirement savings,” said Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “Every bill we introduce will be an opportunity for legislators to say that they stand with Nevada’s middle class families, and not special interests.” 

To see the entire document, click here: www.NevadaBluePrint.com

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[RELEASE] Republicans Pass Bill to Slash Middle Class Salaries, Drive Workers Out of State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2015

REPUBLICANS PASS BILL TO SLASH MIDDLE CLASS SALARIES, DRIVE WORKERS OUT OF STATE

CARSON CITY - Today, Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford released the following statement in response to the Assembly passing Senate Bill 119. The bill slashes fair pay requirements for school-construction projects and allows out-of-state contractors to take jobs that would otherwise go to Nevada businesses. 

“Senate and Assembly Republicans have sent a disturbing message by passing Senate Bill 119: If you’re in the middle class, you don’t matter this Session. This bill is an unnecessary assault on our construction industry that will slash pay and drive skilled construction workers and their families out of Nevada. Further, SB 119 will result in a massive giveaway of taxpayer dollars to cut-rate, out-of-state contractors who can’t do the work as well as Nevada-owned businesses.”

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[RELEASE] Senate Democratic Statement on Passage of Clean School Construction Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2015

SENATE DEMOCRATIC STATEMENT ON PASSAGE OF CLEAN SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BILL

CARSON CITY - Today, the Nevada Assembly passed Senate Bill 207, a bill to fund school construction in Nevada. The Senate previously passed the bill. 

Democratic Senate Leader Aaron D. Ford made the following statement:

“We’re happy that the Legislature has finally passed a clean school construction measure. As we’ve stated multiple times, we can put schools first without putting middle class families last. SB 207 is a good bill that doesn’t unnecessarily pit students against their parents by cutting the salaries of Nevada’s construction workers. After five weeks of Republican dysfunction, we’re pleased to see their leadership finally move a piece of education legislation that benefits our kids.” 

Senator Debbie Smith, Assistant Democratic Leader, made the following statement:

“I introduced and fought for a school construction bill in the first place because our students deserve to learn in safe buildings, not outdated portable trailers. I am happy to see a clean school construction bill passed out of the Legislature today. I am hopeful that Republican leadership will now turn their full attention to our schools and not on attacking the middle class.”

Democrats in the Senate and the Assembly unanimously supported SB 207. Eighteen Republicans voted against the measure. 

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[RELEASE] Update from Senator Debbie Smith on Return to the Legislature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 4, 2015

UPDATE FROM SENATOR DEBBIE SMITH ON RETURN TO THE LEGISLATURE

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Debbie Smith announced that she would return to the Senate during the first full week of April following the Easter holiday. 

“Every day I’m feeling better, and I’m excited to return to Carson City in April,” said Sen. Smith. “We have so much important work left to do to truly make this the ‘Education Session,’ and I can’t wait to get back to work next month to help create new educational and economic opportunities for all Nevadans.” 

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[RELEASE] Statement from Democratic Leaders on School Construction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2015

STATEMENT FROM DEMOCRATIC LEADERS ON SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

CARSON CITY - In light of yesterday's Senate Republican Caucus statement on a school construction emergency measure and the result of today's Assembly Government Affairs work session, Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford and Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick made the following statement:

"The Nevada Senate Democrats and Assembly Democratic Caucus support any clean measure that will build new schools without cutting middle class paychecks in half. We urge our colleagues to join us in supporting a measure this week so we can start new school construction as soon as possible."

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[RELEASE] Sen. Debbie Smith: Domestic Violence Survivors Deserve a Real Hearing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2015

SEN. DEBBIE SMITH: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS DESERVE A REAL HEARING

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Debbie Smith released the following statement demanding a hearing on Senate Bill 187, a stand-alone bill to protect domestic violence survivors from gun violence: 

“Throughout last week’s hearing on Senate Bill 175, we heard emotional, highly persuasive testimony that made the dangers of expanding Nevada’s “Stand Your Ground” laws clear. What was completely lost was any real discussion about domestic violence, which sponsors had claimed was the actual purpose of the bill. 

“Enough is enough. Let’s put an end to this embarrassing pattern of tying up critically important legislation with sweeteners for special interests and instead show Nevada that we’re serious about domestic violence. I call on my colleagues in Republican leadership to immediately schedule a hearing for Senate Bill 187. Survivors of domestic violence show courage every day by rising above fear to rebuild their lives. The least we can do in the Senate is have enough courage to give those survivors a fair hearing on a law to protect them from more violence.”

BACKGROUND:

A recent report by the Center for American Progress found that women in Nevada are murdered with guns at a significantly higher rate than the nation as a whole. Specifically, the report found:

  • While Nevada law does bar convicted felons from possessing firearms, the law is relatively weak and does not prevent domestic abusers from possessing a gun. 

  • Between 2003 and 2012, Nevada ranked 8th amongst the states for highest rates of murders of women committed with a firearm. The rate of gun murders of Nevada women is nearly 40% higher than the national average. 

  • Between 2003 and 2012, 40% of murders of women in Nevada were committed by an intimate partner, which is higher than the national average. 
  • Between 2003 and 2012, 185 Nevada women were killed by an intimate partner. 50% of intimate-partner-related murders of women in Nevada were committed with a gun.

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