Senator Atkinson begins serving as CSG National Officer in 2015!

Congratulations to Senator Kelvin Atkinson for starting his 2015 tenure as a National Officer for the Council of State Governments (CSG)! 

10429331 911863892165637 4756554787631847079 n


Read more

NV Energy pulls plug on three of Reid Gardner plant’s four coal-fired generators

Las Vegas Sun
By Kyle Roerink
Dec. 31, 2014

The Reid Gardner Power Plant has closed three of its four coal-generated units, a symbolic victory for Nevada’s environmental advocates and the Moapa Band of Paiutes.

NV Energy, the plant's operator, says it retired the three 100-megawatt generators on Dec. 20.


Happy New Year!


Hate crimes down, but stat can be deceiving

Las Vegas Sun
By Ana Ley
Dec. 28, 2014

The FBI recently released statistics showing hate crimes are down in Southern Nevada and across the country.

Metro, Henderson and North Las Vegas police departments reported 68 incidents in 2013, down 21 percent from the year before. Agencies nationwide reported 5,928 offenses last year, down 10 percent.

At face value, that sounds like good news, but experts warn the numbers can be deceiving.


Students caught skipping school face driver’s license suspension starting Jan. 1

Las Vegas Sun
By Cy Ryan
Dec. 26, 2014

CARSON CITY –In Clark County, more than 120,000 students were reported truant during the 2013-14 school year. 

Now a statewide law will aim to reduce those numbers. Teens who continually skip school will face delay or suspension of their driver’s license, under a new law that becomes effective Jan. 1.


Teens with too many unexcused absences risk not getting drivers license

8 News Now, KLAS-TV Las Vegas
By Sharie Johnson, Anchor/Reporter
By Mark Mutchler, Photojournalist
Dec. 18, 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Many teen drivers might think it's cool to ditch school, but a law going into effect on Jan. 1 may have them thinking differently.The new law will prevent teens with too many unexcused absences from getting their driver's license.

Senate Bill 269 or SB 269 takes a hard look at the attendance record of students under 18 who want to apply for a driver's license or a permit.  The teens have to submit a DMV 301 form and get it signed by their school showing that the student has had less than 10 unexcused absences.


A State Senator’s Political and Personal Journey to Marriage Equality

Vegas Seven
By Lissa Townsend Rodgers
December 18th, 2014

This year’s landmark decision to repeal Nevada’s ban on gay marriage sent hundreds of same-sex couples marching down the aisle. Nobody was more thrilled to lead the way than Kelvin Atkinson.

Imagine the scales of justice. On one side: religious edict, social norm and legal precedent. On the other side: love. Even the most confirmed cynic knew how this battle was going to end. But the twists in Nevada’s roller-coaster ride to marriage equality were something nobody could have predicted.

The ride finally ended in October, when a legal ruling—many would argue a long-overdue legal ruling—opened the doors to same-sex marriage. Hundreds of couples, supported by loved ones of every sexual orientation, immediately and blissfully burst through those doors, while the Las Vegas tourism industry immediately and blissfully pounced on a new revenue stream. Amid the bouquets, boutonnieres and tears of joy, two things became clear: First, marriage equality, while enormously significant to the LGBT community, was never just a “gay issue.” Second, society at-large has finally accepted a fact that Nevada Senator Kelvin Atkinson has long known: “You don’t control your heart and who you fall in love with.”


‘Money, money, money’ stressed in education reform talks

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Trevon Milliard
December 17th, 2014

A lot of plans and not enough money.

That was the message running throughout Tuesday’s conversation for improving Nevada’s public schools, as stated by some of Nevada’s leading education officials and a reform-minded state lawmaker.

The state won’t waver in its devotion to its new academic standards — Common Core State Standards — as some would like to see happen as it has in other states, said Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, chairwoman of the Legislative Committee on Education. But teachers need to be trained for bringing students up to these more rigorous standards, she said.


Senator Aaron D. Ford Joins DLCC 2015 Board of Directors

Nevada Democratic Senate Leader joins board that will continue efforts to grow number of Democratic chambers and cut into Republican majorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 11, 2014) – At their annual winter meeting today, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) Board of Directors elected seven new Board Members and its national Executive Board officers for 2015.  Drawn from legislative leaders in every region of the country, the DLCC's Board of Directors is the national governing body of the organization. Its leaders are deeply involved in legislative campaigns in their states and drive Democrats' nationwide strategy to win elections in state legislatures.

Read more

Nevada expects to be $162 million short of budget by July

Las Vegas Sun
By Michelle Rindels, Associated Press
Dec. 8, 2014

Gov. Brian Sandoval is again calling for changes to Nevada's tax system after receiving more bad news about the state budget.

Members of the Interim Finance Committee heard Monday that the state expects to be $162 million short of expectations by the end of the fiscal year in June. Gambling and mining tax revenues are lagging, and thousands more students are enrolled in public schools than projected.


State budget woes mounting

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Sean Whaley
Dec. 8, 2014

CARSON CITY - State lawmakers heard some bad budget news Monday that will add to the difficulties facing Gov. Brian Sandoval in submitting a balanced spending plan to the Legislature for the coming two years.

Officials with Sandoval’s administration told lawmakers that lower revenues and higher school enrollment than anticipated could dramatically affect the current fiscal year 2015 budget as well, and could even make it difficult to pay the state’s bills if corrective actions aren’t taken.


Nevada Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford Announces Leadership Team

Las Vegas, NV—Today, Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford announced his decision to re-appoint Senator Debbie Smith as Assistant Leader of the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus. Senator Aaron Ford also announced today that Senator Kelvin Atkinson and Senator Ruben Kihuen will be appointed as Co-Democratic Whips. In announcing this team, Senator Ford noted that "our Nevada constituency is diverse in several respects, and our Leadership Team reflects this diversity."

“I am proud to re-appoint Senator Debbie Smith as the Assistant Democratic Leader of the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus for a second term," said Senator Aaron Ford. "Senator Smith has consistently proven her commitment to working in a collaborative manner with members of the Caucus and other public officials. I look forward to working alongside her, as well as all members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, to continue fighting for Nevada's working families and improving education for Nevada's future generation.”

Read more

Nevada Senate Democrats elect Aaron D. Ford as Minority Leader post-2014 General Election

Las Vegas, NV—Today, Senator Moises Denis announced his decision not to seek re-election as the leader of the Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus. In light of his decision, the Caucus members elected Senator Aaron D. Ford to lead their 10-member minority. While the shift in majority and leadership may have changed, our priorities as Democrats have not. We will continue to focus on fighting for Nevada’s working families and improving our education system so all of Nevada’s kids have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Read more

Nevada State Senator Tapped to Lead NCSL

smithMinneapolis– State Senator Debbie Smith became the 42nd President of the National Conference of State Legislatures at the group's annual legislative summit.

Senator Smith, a Democrat, succeeds Republican Bruce Starr of the Oregon State Senate. NCSL, a bipartisan organization that serves the nation's 7,383 state lawmakers and more than 20,000 legislative staff throughout the country, alternates its leadership between the two parties annually.

"This organization has built such an impressive reputation over forty years and I am honored to serve as president," Smith says, "Having been involved with NCSL for many years, I know firsthand the important role NCSL plays in providing legislators, just like myself, with support, ideas and connections to help us lead in our own states. I appreciate the trust my peers from around the country have placed in me to lead this organization.

Read more


Feb. 26, 2014


The Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus is made up of one of the most diverse group of legislators in the nation. It was because of our majority in the State Senate that SJR13, the marriage equality bill, passed last session – paving the way for all Nevadans to be treated fairly and equally under the law. It was our Caucus member, Senator Pat Spearman, who introduced Senate Bill 139, which extends hate crime protections to include crimes motivated by a victim’s gender identity or expression. Our entire Caucus joined Senator Spearman in pushing for this landmark legislation and voted in full support of this bill.  

The vote in favor of Senate Bill 192 by some of our Caucus members was not intended to put into law the same discriminatory measures as outlined in the Arizona legislation. In fact, SB192 contained specific language not included in the AZ legislation making clear that it did not trump federal or state civil rights. SB192 was the consequence of trying to find a balance between protecting religious rights in our State, while also making sure we expand equal rights under the law for all Nevadans.

Looking at the landscape since Senate Bill 192 was passed in the Senate last year and some of the consequences seen in other states with similar laws, we want to make clear that our members who voted in favor did not do so with the intention to discriminate against any group of people. If similar legislation were to be introduced in future legislative sessions, the Nevada Senate Democrats would stand together to unanimously oppose it. 

Read more

Here are a few ways you can help make a difference.