Updates

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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Senator presents alternative tax plan to hike school funding

LasVegasSun.com
by Riley Snyder and Michelle Rindels, Associated Press
March 24, 2015

CARSON CITY — Democratic Sen. Pat Spearman presented a tax plan Tuesday that she said gives one more route toward the goal of raising Nevada education funding by several hundred million dollars each year.

Spearman's bill, SB378, joins Gov. Brian Sandoval's proposal and a plan from Assembly Republican leaders, all of which aim to help raise about $7.3 billion in state revenue during the next two years. All three groups with a tax bill have shied away from publicly criticizing the other proposals, saying they simply want to promote a robust discussion.

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Nevada bill pushes animal adoptions from labs

RGJ.com
by Associated Press
March 24, 2015

CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would require laboratories to put animals up for adoption after they’re done using them for research.

Democratic Sen. Mark Manendo and others are sponsoring SB261, which is up for a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

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Rally against 'campus carry' bill set at UNR

RGJ.com
by Marcella Corona
March 24, 2015

Protesters fighting the 'campus carry' bill are set to rally at the University of Nevada, Reno with many arguing allowing students to carry guns would make school unsafe.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee voted to approve AB 148 and other gun-related bills earlier this month with unanimous Republican support.

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3 Nevada tax plans are on the table. How do they compare?

LasVegasSun.com
by Riley Snyder and Michelle Rindels, Associated Press
March 23, 2015

CARSON CITY — Assembly Republican leaders unveiled a tax plan of their own Monday, less than a week after Gov. Brian Sandoval presented the details of his bill to restructure the state's business license fee and Democratic Sen. Pat Spearman released her own tax proposal. Spearman and the Republican leadership insist they aren't trying to undermine the governor, but want to spark discussion and offer different options for arriving at the same goal: More money for education.

How the three proposals would affect Nevada's major streams of revenue:

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Nevada Legislature: Bill would update school safety standards, add therapists

NevadaAppeal.com
By Nevada Appeal Associated Press
March 23, 2015

Nevada Democrats are proposing updated school safety standards based on lessons learned from the Sparks Middle School shooting.

Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson is sponsoring AB218 and testified for the bill on Monday in the Assembly Education Committee.

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Bill would require annual reports on Nevada's obesity problem

LasVegasSun.com
By Las Vegas Sun Associated Press
March 23, 2015

CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would require state officials to prepare an annual report about obesity in the state and what's being done to fight it.

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Legislature to take up alternative revenue plan, sunset taxes

ReviewJournal.com
By Sean Whaley
March 23, 2015

CARSON CITY — Major developments emerged on Monday in the debate over taxes to fund Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $7.3 billion two-year budget, with Assembly Republicans introducing an alternative revenue plan in a late evening floor session.

At the same time, the Senate introduced Senate Bill 483 to extend a package of taxes that are set to expire on June 30, commonly referred to as the sunset taxes that have been used as a bandage to balance the budget since 2009. A continuation of these taxes is part of Sandoval’s spending plan and would bring in about $580 million to the state general fund over two years.

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2015 Session: Week 7 Update

We’ve now finished Week 7 of the 2015 Session! Here’s an update on what’s been happening and what to expect in the week to come in the Legislative Building:

Funding Nevada’s Future: Last Wednesday, the Senate and Assembly met together to hear a presentation and ask questions about the Governor’s proposed tax plan (Senate Bill 252). Both Houses will continue to discuss this plan and several over tax plans as we look to find the best long-term solution for education funding in the state. 

Promoting Financial Literacy in Our Schools: This week, Sen. Joyce Woodhouse presented SB 220, a bill that would expand financial literacy education in public middle schools. If passed, schools would begin exposing students to basic information about how to manage finances at a younger age. Improving education, particularly students’ long-term ability to succeed financially, is a priority in the Nevada Blueprint that Democrats announced last week. 

What to Expect in Week 8?

This week, Senate Democrats will be presenting a bill to help victims of military sexual assault, as well as continuing to consider revenue plans to raise the money needed for education and other essential services. 

Democrats will also be releasing an update on our Nevada Blueprint. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, the Blueprint is a broad-based legislative agenda to protect and expand Nevada’s middle class. 

Have you seen our Senator Spotlight? Week Seven’s Senator Spotlight was on David Parks. Stay tuned for next week’s spotlight on Pat Spearman!

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Bill to change Nevada's speed limit to 80 mph clears committee

ReviewJournal.com
by Sandra Chereb
March 17, 2015

CARSON CITY — The sponsor of a bill seeking to raise Nevada’s speed limit on some highways tapped the brakes Tuesday with an amendment lowering the permissible speed by 5 mph to 80 mph.

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Five things we learned at the voter ID hearing

ReviewJournal.com
by Steve Sebelius
March 17, 2015

CARSON CITY — You can learn a lot by watching lawmakers debate bills in Carson City. Mostly, what you learn is that watching lawmakers debate bills in Carson City is not a good way to spend your time.

But wait, there’s more. A hearing before the Assembly’s Legislative Operations and Elections Committee this afternoon turned into a festival of crazy, with plenty of lessons to be learned. The debate was over Assembly Bill 253 and Assembly Bill 266, two very similar laws that call for requiring a state-issued or state-approved ID card before casting a vote.

What did we learn today? Here’s a quick list:

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Tax Day in Carson City about to change the debate

ReviewJournal.com
By Steve Sebelius
March 18, 2015

It’s Tax Day at the Nevada Legislature.

This afternoon, Gov. Brian Sandoval will present his much-debated business license fee proposal to the Senate Revenue and Economic Development Committee. All other Senate and Assembly hearings have been canceled, to allow lawmakers from both houses to attend.

Sandoval will personally pitch his idea to turn the state’s $200 business license fee into a progressive tax based upon gross revenue, ranging from $400 up to more than $2 million. It’s his preferred alternative to pay for nearly a billion dollars worth of increased spending on education.

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