Updates

Woodhouse pitches bill urging feds to OK Internet sales tax

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Sean Whaley
Feb. 11, 2015

CARSON CITY — Sen. Joyce Woodhouse is again pushing a resolution this session that would urge Congress to pass legislation allowing states to tax all Internet sales to level the playing field with Nevada-based “brick and mortar” businesses.

Senate Joint Resolution 4 was heard in the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee on Wednesday. A similar resolution passed the Nevada Legislature in 2013, but Congress adjourned in 2014 without passing the Marketplace Fairness Act.

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Build schools without gutting fair wages

Las Vegas Sun: Guest Column
By Sens. David Parks & Kelvin Atkinson
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015

It’s no secret that we desperately need new schools in districts across the state. The Clark County School District, for example, has added 10,000 students without building a single new school. CCSD students could fill 24 new elementary schools if they were opened tomorrow. In Washoe County, more than 200 portable trailers are used for classroom space and a third of school buildings are more than 30 years old.

That’s why Senate Democrats pushed hard for a school construction bill to be one of the first issues we considered this session. But we shouldn’t be forced to make an unnecessary choice between forcing parents to take a pay cut just so we can build new schools for their kids. It was shocking in the opening week of the Legislature to see Senate Republicans hijack an important school construction bill in an attempt to give middle-class construction workers and their families a pay cut.

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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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Sen. Smith 'worried' as she awaits brain surgery Friday

Reno Gazette-Journal
By Ray Hagar
Feb. 4, 2015

State Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, said she is not feeling pain as she awaits surgery for a brain tumor at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

She hopes to return to the Nevada Legislature this session but first must get through Friday's surgery.

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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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How the Legislature could affect your wallet

Reno Gazette-Journal
By Ray Hagar
Jan. 30, 2015

Among the most contentious issues state lawmakers will face this year will include matters that could affect your wallet — including the taxes you pay.

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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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Workers to begin resurfacing U.S. 95 near Indian Springs

Las Vegas Sun
By Katie Visconti
Jan. 28, 2015

A $22 million resurfacing project on U.S. 95 from Indian Springs to Mercury will begin next week.

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Titus presses anew to move VA claim center to Vegas

Las Vegas Sun
By Steve Tetreault
Stephens Washington Bureau
Jan. 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — Rep. Dina Titus on Wednesday pressed anew for the Department of Veterans Affairs to relocate its regional benefits office from Reno to Las Vegas, saying the move would help the agency fill jobs and improve services.

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6 legislative committees to watch in 2015

Las Vegas Review-Journa
By Steve Sebelius
Jan. 28, 2015

As all observers of the legislative process know, the real work of the Legislature gets done in the various committees, where lawmakers break into smaller groups to tear apart legislation, debate it, amend it, and either pass or kill it.

The 120-day legislative calendar, in fact, is built around committee deadlines, and the rules force legislation through the committee process: Either the bills keep flowing, or they die.

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How the Legislature could affect the way you vote

Reno Gazette-Journal
By Anjeanette Damon
Jan. 27, 2015

After this session, you may have to remember to bring your driver's license when you go to vote.

One of the sleeper battles shaping up in the legislative session that begins Feb. 2 will be over whether to require voters to present photo identification at the polls.

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School district chief wants money for more classrooms

KSNV My News 3 Las Vegas
Reported by: Jeff Gillan
Jan. 26, 2015

LAS VEGAS (KSNV My News 3) – The head of Clark County schools said challenges lie ahead, but the district is moving in the right direction.

Pat Skorkowsky, superintendent of the Clark County School District, delivered the annual snapshot Monday of how the nation’s fifth largest school system is performing.

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