Category Archives: Nevada news

Amodei: Not So Mr. Moderate?

Amodei 3Now this is some turn-around!  On April 28, in the year of our Lord 2014, Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) was “chiding” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for his position on the Bundy Brigands:

The Republican says he disagrees with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s branding of them as “domestic terrorists” and doesn’t think Heller’s labeling of them as “patriots” helps to resolve the dispute over Bundy’s cattle.  Amodei says the issue is the “culture” of U.S. Bureau of Land Management law-enforcement operations in the West. [KOLO]

But wait! On the same day Representative Amodei was heaping praise on the BLM decision to stand down and refuse to offer the ersatz ‘patriots’ a chance to turn the situation in Bunkerville into their own Ruby Ridge, Waco, whatever other fantasy-land re-enactment they’d imagined for themselves.  Those inclined to accept Representative Amodei’s quick-whip-around talking points as evidence of moderation, should look to his recent voting record.

Exhibit One:  The House GOP budget proposal which leaves Pentagon spending unscathed but slashes funding for the Indian Health Service by 18%.  Also under the GOP meat axe, funding for fire fighting on federal lands, again cut by 18%. [HuffPo]  Not only does Rep. Amodei’s district contain a lengthy list of Reservations, but it’s also been known as the site of several recent, and truly large, wild land fires.  Rep. Amodei is fond of referring to his concern for ranchers in the 2nd District, but is apparently not quite so alarmed at the prospect of range fires destroying their grazing lands.

Nor should we miss the fact that the latest incarnation of the House GOP budget included the “Coupon Care” proposal which would eliminate Medicare as we know it, and substitute a voucher plan in its stead. [CBPP]

In case there are any consumers in the 2nd Congressional District, it should be noted that the Ryan Plan would eliminate the provisions of the Dodd Frank Act which requires that Big Banks have a plan in place to wind down operations, and that the FDIC can require the bankers to establish the plans to PREVENT future bailouts.  The ‘plan’ would also put the future of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau under the guillotine of future Congressional budget cuts. [Hill]

When H.Con. Res. 96 (Ryan Budget) came to a vote on the House floor on April 10, 2014 — Representative Amodei supported it. [Roll Call 177]

Exhibit Two:  Once upon a time there was a mid-level IRS employee in a regional office who was accused of targeting conservative groups by not allowing political organizations to pass themselves off as social welfare institutions.  Truth be told, Lois Lerner acceded to a plan to look for key terms, like “political,” or “party,” on a watch list of sorts to cull the political from the social.  The ultra-right when ballistic.  “Conservatives were Targets of the IRS!”  Not. So. Fast.  Also on the list were terms like “Blue” and “Green Energy” and “occupied territory” organizations. [Wire]

However, this didn’t stop Government Affairs Committee Chr. Issa from claiming that the IRS ultimately “intended” to target more conservative groups, even as it was actually looking for ACORN successor organizations.

Failing to find any solid evidence of IRS targeting, or even of IRS ‘intent’ to increase scrutiny of conservative applicants, the Republican lead House voted anyway to recommend that Lerner be held in ‘contempt of Congress’ for citing her 5th Amendment rights.

This sort of thing happened on Capitol Hill before during the McCarthy Witch Hunt Era.  Lerner joins 10 Hollywood writers, producers, and directors who were voted “in contempt of Congress” for not cooperating with the infamous HUAC.  [Hist]  Rep. Issa may be missing the point that short term theatrical political gains can easily become long term memories of political infamy.

Who joined in the vote to find Lerner in contempt of Congress? None other than Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV2), and Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV3).  [Roll Call 203]

Aligning oneself with the likes of Hamilton Fish III, Martin Dies, Jr., is not the way to convince most people that you are a proponent of moderation.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

This Could Get Interesting? Nevada District 2 Primary

Donkey RunningThe candidates have filed, and we’re off to the Nevada Races.  At the top of the ticket we have our Congressional candidacies, complete with the ever-present visage of Janine Hansen (IAP) of the Hansen Family Party running in the 2nd Congressional District race. Her last foray into the fray was a 2012 race against incumbent Republican state senator Pete Goicoechea for his District 19 seat; she got 19.5% of the vote in the general election.  Hansen espouses an anti-tax, anti-immigrant, and for that matter, anti-government philosophy.

Incumbent Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) is running unopposed in the GOP Primary (June 10), which should come as no surprise to anyone. That the former president of the Nevada Mining Association (2007-2008) and career politician would be the ‘man in waiting’ for future elections isn’t surprising either.

There will be a hotter primary for the Democratic candidates.   Dr. Vance Alm, MD (Reno) filed on March 5th saying on his web site: “I can no longer sit by and watch America falter and fall from its position as World Leader. I want my children and grandchildren to have opportunities similar to those I enjoyed. Complacency, apathy and cynicism; saying things such as, “It’s not that bad”, “I don’t care” and “It just doesn’t matter” need to be replaced with a desire and goal to once again make America the indisputable greatest nation on earth.”

Brian Dempsey (Gardnerville) offers more specificity in his issues section of his campaign site.  His position on economic development is generalized, but does emphasize small business: “Nevadans have been facing high unemployment rates for too long.  We need to find solutions to bring companies to our communities that will create jobs.  Our country was founded with an entrepreneurial spirit.  We need to focus on helping start-ups and small businesses grow.  With their growth, Nevada can recover economically and begin to grow again.”

Ed Lee (Reno) has also filed but his web site is apparently a work in progress.  “Watch this space.”

Kristen Spees (Incline Village), an estate planning attorney,  filed for the primary, her message in part: “My platform is based on government transparency and simplified politics.  I want residents to be informed about what is going on in the government and I want everyone to be able to make well-founded decisions when voting.  Transparency provides information for citizens about what the government is doing and it promotes accountability.   I want to simplify politics by teaching and informing residents about the pros and cons of important issues…

Superficial Analysis

Representative Amodei’s problem is not “how to get elected,” he’s been able to do that successfully since his race against Ernie Adler, his issue may be how to keep from getting sucked into the far right whirlpool of LoonyBin-ness Tea Party, Gold Standard, Anti-Government rhetoric with which the 2nd District is awash.  His problems will obviously surface in the general election IF his ultimate opponent (and not the IAP) manages to identify him with far right stances on the Affordable Care Act, and banking deregulation.

The Democratic Party candidate’s problem will be equally obvious.  There aren’t that many Democrats in the 2nd Congressional District.  There are 110,795 ‘active’ Democratic registered voters in the district, 17,202 IAP voters, 2,933 Libertarians, and 2,840 categorized as “other.” There are 144,255 registered ‘active’ Republicans.  56,714 are registered as ‘non-partisan.’ [NVsos pdf] Expecting all those independent voters to vote on the Democratic side is utterly unreasonable.

Department of Unsolicited Advice

Representative Amodei’s been successful so far at being all things to all people, his messages are highly generalized and verge on consisting entirely of talking points without drilling down beyond the surface ideological level.

The Democratic candidate who emerges from the primary with one hopes a bit more name recognition than the current “Who?” level, might do well to:

(1) Run on, rather than away from, “Obamacare.” Thus far Representative Amodei has been a good little GOP soldier, voting for every House Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. [BallotP]   Amodei can continue to run as a ‘repealer’ IF no one calls him on the specifics.  For example: Does he really want to allow insurance corporations to be able to raise premiums more than 10% without scrutiny?  Does he really want insurance corporations to be able to deny health insurance based on pre-existing conditions (like being a woman)?  Does he really want to tell parents that their 21 year old son or daughter can no longer remain on the family policy?  Does he really want to make their grandparents pay out of pocket for preventative screenings?  Does he really want to allow insurance corporations to refuse to cover immunizations for children? Does he really want to allow insurance corporations to able to rescind policies when a person become ill or has an injury?

IF Amodei’s answers are ‘yes’ to these specifics then he’s on the defensive.  If his response is “we, the GOP, have another plan.” Then he can be reminded, none too gently, that the repeal and replace slogan has already been used — and suspiciously enough the ‘replace’ part only shows up during election seasons, thence to fade and die in the actual legislative part of the process. If he does try to sell the “GOP Plan” he can be reminded early and often that the GOP plan is more expensive, and covers fewer American families than the current system.

(2) Run on a platform of economic development for the 21st century not the 19th. Amodei’s on record saying: “I pledge to advocate for changes in federal tax and spending policies that will reduce the burden on struggling American Families and the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.”  This core statement is relatively little more than the old “Tax and Spend Democrat” refrain.

If Nevada families are struggling — and they are — then is that tax burden all that much of  a burden to the average Nevadan earning about $50,000 per year?  The chink in the Amodei/GOP armor is that the tax burden of late has been shifted toward the middle class, those self-same small business owners and their employees, he purports to defend.   Republicans in general, and Amodei specifically, need to answer why they support subsidies for millionaires and billionaires and multi-national corporations when the burden has been shifting to the middle class.

It would be refreshing to hear a Democratic candidate for Congress dump the Austerity/Trickle Down Economics Hoax, and start talking about creating demand for American products and services.  Here’s where the advocacy of increasing the minimum wage comes into play.  If we increase the minimum wage closer to a living wage this (a) helps American families and (b) creates demand for local businesses who offer goods and services in the state.

(3) Run toward reasonable gun safety regulation, and respond to the NRA attacks with calm arguments — no one, except people who were never going to vote for you anyway — believes that felons, fugitives, juveniles, and the severely mentally ill should have easy access to firearms, and these categories of individuals are prevented from gun ownership under current Nevada statutes.  Advocate background checks to insure that these individuals aren’t obtaining guns, and thereby improve the enforcement of what is already in the statute books.

(4) Refute the Welfare Queen Mythology.  There are some quick references which will inform all but the most obtuse that if we are really looking for “waste, fraud, and abuse” in federal spending — it isn’t to be found in the Food Stamp (SNAP) or ‘welfare’ programs.  Speak to revising federal procurement policies which could minimize those single source no bid contracts.  Does, for example, Representative Amodei support the latest incarnation of the  “Ryan budget?”  If ‘yes,’ then does that mean he has espoused the philosophy behind that presentation — before Rep. Ryan started back-pedaling for all he was worth? [TP]  Interesting, isn’t it, how when a Republican is caught out being a boor, he or she responds, “I was inarticulate….?”

(5) Get real about the national debt.  The trend is actually declining. Yes, the number looks astronomical, however — if I am $8,000,000 in debt that’s a big deal, but if one of the Koch Brothers were $8,000,000 in debt that’s pocket change.  The National Debt is hauled out during campaigns as a banner to wave before people to whom candidates feel no necessity to  explain that (a) we owe most of the debt to ourselves, (b) we are still considered the safest place to invest on the planet and people want to invest in our Treasury bills and notes, and (c) we have the largest economy on Planet Earth and we can handle a great deal more debt than Greece, Portugal or any other location the doom and gloom contingent can hold up as an exemplar.

And, remember, even a charismatic, sharp, and well organized Democratic candidate will be running an uphill battle in the 2nd Congressional District.  Go ahead, ‘run as a Democrat,’ at worst it might secure some votes otherwise lost in the shuffle, and at best it will force the Amodei campaign to offer more than sloganeering to the constituents.

Comments Off

Filed under Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

Roundup

Cattle RoundupRecommended Reading:  The Nevada blogs have some posts well worth the click and read time — See Nevada Progressive’s “Freedom,” on the efforts to get rid of the Nevada gay marriage ban.  Meanwhile in Virginia, a federal judge has overturned their ban saying, “Wright Allen showed no hesi­ta­tion in overturning the state constitutional amendment, saying none of the reasons proponents offer for denying same-sex marriages make legitimate governmental interests.” [WaPo] Just a helpful reminder:  The U.S. Senate confirmed Wright Allen’s nomination to the bench on a 96-0 vote in 2011. [rc 069]

** Don’t miss the Sebelius piece on the Pathology We Just Keep Enabling, or how we must learn to live with our reality challenged neighbors like Sharron Angle.  However bemusing the antics of Mrs. Angle, her message advocating the suppression of voting rights is serious, and other advocates have adopted or are considering the adoption of strategies to suppress the turn out of voters.  Cincinnati, OH has found a way to make voting as inconvenient as possible. [HuffPo] The Tea Party controlled North Carolina legislature has enacted some of the most repressive voting laws in the country, and people are beginning to act. [TruthOut]  Republicans in Florida want to block the use of the UF Student Union as a polling place [BayNews9] and Manatee County, FL eliminated polling stations in minority heavy areas of its jurisdiction. [TP] The commissioner made this alarming statement about voting rights: “I wouldn’t have any problem making it harder. I would want them to vote as badly as I want to vote. I want the people of the state of Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who’s willing to walk 200 miles…This should not be easy.”  Reminder, we use the voting process to determine the will of the people, not the fortitude of the individuals in the lines.

** When your party has to send out a memo saying your endorsement process doesn’t cancel out your primary, there are some serious organization issues in play.  See Ralston Reports on the latest in the continuing soap opera which is the Nevada Republican Party.

** The Reno Gazette Journal has spoken to its motives in wanting access to Public Employee’s Retirement System data, but the intentions of a certain newspaper in the southland aren’t quite so clear.  Take note of this post from February 2nd on Nevada Public Employee Focus.   There is now, and has been, a coordinated attack on defined benefit retirement systems.  Opponents first publicize the “trouble” the pension systems have, or their alleged lack of solvency.  The second tactic is to issue derogatory statements about the “luxury” of public employee retirement benefits, hoping to split public employees and private sector employees politically.   What we ought to be doing is fighting for defined benefit pension plans in the private sector, not disestablishing them in the public sector.

** I wouldn’t have believed this, but it’s documented: “South Carolina policy requiring a fee and permit to feed homeless begins.” [ATTP]  There’s more information here:

“The most recent report, Out of Sight – Out of Mind?, which surveyed advocates and service providers in 50 of the largest U.S. cities, found that 86 percent of the cities surveyed had laws that prohibited or restricted begging, while 73 percent prohibited or restricted sleeping and/or camping. Over one-third of the cities surveyed have initiated crackdowns on homeless people, according to the survey respondents, and almost half of the cities have engaged in police “sweeps” in the past two years.”

A crack down policy might literally sweep the homeless off the streets, but this is simply mean spirited if not done in conjunction with efforts to find housing or shelter for those who need it.

Comments Off

Filed under Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics, Vote Suppression, Voting

Defending the Indefensible

Nothing like the little troopers of Leonidas I intrepidly defending their self described Thermopylae against the encroachment of the 21st Century, and marriage equality! Nevada Secretary of State candidate Adam Laxalt announcing to anyone listening, “Today, Nevada’s Constitution still stands strong,” he said. “The preference of our voters is the law of the state and nothing the attorney general did changes that.” [LVSun]

No, nothing changes the unfortunate choice made by Nevada voters on Question 2, a citizen initiated referendum to alter the state Constitution in 2000, and affirming that vote in 2002.  However, the buyer’s remorse is evident in the polling done since the adoption of the amendment.  In 2009 a Las Vegas Sun poll found 38% favoring same-sex unions, and by October 2013 those favoring 57% now approve of removing the amendment to the Nevada Constitution. [ranNV pdf]

But, no, nothing is to prevent the Governor and the Nevada Attorney General from continuing the case in question.  Before they do so it would be nice to have some assurance that all the effort, overtime, and taxpayer expense has the possibility of success.   The appeal in Sevcik v. Sandoval (pdf) maintains (1) the inequality in marriage creates ‘harms’ the domestic partnership law doesn’t mend, (2) the marriage ban creates fundamental violations of the rights of the partners, and (3) the marriage ban violates the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment.   Sandoval/Masto responded that the decision in Baker v. Nelson is still controlling and the legal action is outside the jurisdiction of the court.  [Sandoval/Masto pdf]

The problem here is that the Baker v. Nelson decision was rendered in October 1972.  Times have indeed changed, and the judiciary along with it. Conservatives have been hanging their hats on Baker v. Nelson, but the nails have come out of the wall for this hat-rack.

When the Obama Administration dropped its advocacy of DOMA, the Republicans in the House of Representatives stepped in, with the Baker v. Nelson Defense.   The Circuit Court of Appeals gave the argument short shrift. [SCOTUS]  The decision in U.S. v. Windsor took the cases into new territory:

“By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect. By this dynamic DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage.” [SCOTUS Kennedy]

And then the winds swept over the plains in Oklahoma:

“In ruling against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, the judge declared that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of legal equality.  He ruled that the Supreme Court’s ruling last Term in United States v. Windsor actually provided some support both for the challenging couple and for state officials defending the state ban.

“The Windsor decision, the judge said, supports a plea for marriage equality because much of the reasoning of the Court majority about the purpose behind DOMA could also be applied to state bans on same-sex marriage.  It supports the state, the judge added, because of the lengthy commentary in the opinion about states’ primary power to define marriage.” [SCOTUS]

Therefore, in essence what candidate Laxalt is saying is that he would continue pressing a case in which that formerly  controlling precedent has had the props knocked from under it, and would continue to appeal a decision already on tenuous grounds in Utah and Oklahoma.  Some exercises in futility may have some intrinsic merit, but this certainly doesn’t seem like one of them.  There’s another aphorism which might be more appropriate: Quit while you’re still ahead.

Comments Off

Filed under Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

The Will of Some People: The Lyon County GOP and Their Bubble

Jim WheelerThere’s really nothing all that new or interesting about reports of GOP/TeaParty legislators at various levels making comments which are questionable, irresponsible, incomprehensible, or just downright outrageous — and the story of Nevada Assemblyman Wheeler’s latest adventures would be merely one among many if not for the window into GOP/TeaParty thinking opened by the Lyon County Republicans.

Jon Ralston posted the resolution supporting the embattled Assemblyman from the Lyon County GOP and it contains a succinct statement of how that body perceives the press.  The resolution opens with:

Wheeler 1

Now, who are those “forces?”  Let’s assume this introductory point was crafted with some care, and the Lyon Republicans meant precisely what they said.  What does this tell us?  There are other ways to describe the reaction to Assemblyman Wheeler’s off-putting remarks about “voting for slavery if that’s what his constituents want,” the term criticized might have been employed, or condemnation, or denigration, or censure.  However, the Lyon County GOP chose the word “attack.”

In the world of GOP/TeaParty liberals are attacking the righteous.   Their religion is under attack [RNS], their liberty is under attack [TheHill], their schools are under attack [CapTimes], and their families are under attack. [CNN] They imagine a War on Christmas, on Easter, on their values, their homes and their sacred honor.

Avi Tuschman offered this assessment of the mentality:

If, as conservatives tend to believe, human nature is fundamentally competitive and self-interest prevails, then people live in a dangerous world. The “dangerous world” metaphor has long been associated with right-wing ideological views. In the last couple of centuries, though, this metaphor has taken the form of folk-Darwinism. University of Michigan philosopher Peter Railton has dubbed this worldview “your great-grandfather’s Social Darwinism,” in which “all creatures great and small [are] pitted against one another in a life-or-death struggle to survive and reproduce.” [Salon]

Wheeler 2

The language of assault continues: if there is an unwarranted attack upon the righteous, then the villains must be unethical and manipulative, seeking to criticize the Assemblyman with the explicit intent of taking more power in the Legislature.  Calls for Assemblyman Wheeler’s resignation aren’t perceived as indignation from a few individuals who find Wheeler’s comments unconscionable, they MUST be part of a great assault on conservative voices in the public forum.

The Lyon County Republicans then offer Wheeler their unqualified support:

Wheeler 3

First, if we call for the total elimination of intentional misrepresentation of statements, then there will be precious little content on the Sunday morning chatter shows.   Secondly, no one is questioning the right of Nevadans to vote for the representative of their choice — what is at issue is whether or not a person who displays a singular lack of judgment should continue to serve in a legislative body.

However, the real battle cry is incorporated in the predictable reproof to the press — corporate, media and other (unspecified) interests — which has the temerity to publicize views which contrast with the will of the conservative minority.  The double standard is immediate and obvious.

The elasticity of conservative standards is quickly demonstrated by the “Obama lied” motif current in vogue, referring to  the President saying if you like your health insurance plan you can stay on it.  This is true for 85% of the U.S. population. The remaining 15% who purchase individual health insurance plans comprise about 5% of our total population.   Of the 15% of policy holders (5% of the total population)  who purchase individual plans some may have no problem at all because their insurance policies are ACA compliant, i.e. they are REAL insurance plans.  Others, approximately 3%,  who purchased what Consumer Reports was quick to call junk, will need to find plans on the exchange which actually cover medical treatment, and don’t rip off consumers.

Now, if someone has been castigating the President and the Department of Health and Human Services for “lying” about how those who purchased these junk policies will have to purchase more expensive (real) insurance, does this constitute “intentional misrepresentation?”

Another point in this regard, an insurance company off-loading non-compliant policies may indeed send a letter saying the “policy has been canceled,” this doesn’t mean that the insurance has been cancelled — the individual may well be offered a new, ACA compliant policy to replace the one that wasn’t compliant.  A wise consumer will compare the new policy (and its prices) with what is available on the exchange and decide accordingly during the enrollment period.  Is this notification and elaboration “intentional misrepresentation?”

These examples are illustrative of another issue — Who is to speak? And, to whom do we listen?  The  right wing media has told its readers and listeners since time out of mind that IT was the sole source of Truth, a “fair and balanced” alternative to the Main Stream (Lame Stream) media, and have paid for it in the process, witness the 2012 election results:

“Conservatives were at an information disadvantage because so many right-leaning outlets wasted time on stories the rest of America dismissed as nonsense. WorldNetDaily brought you birtherism. Forbes brought you Kenyan anti-colonialism. National Review obsessed about an imaginary rejection of American exceptionalism, misrepresenting an Obama quote in the process, and Andy McCarthy was interviewed widely about his theory that Obama, aka the Drone Warrior in Chief, allied himself with our Islamist enemies in a “Grand Jihad” against America. Seriously?”  [Atlantic]

What the Lyon County Republicans are demanding is that all voices other than the reassuring intonations of those who confirm their biases be scrutinized — preferably out of print and off the air waves.  They will be watching, they warn, all those who print or broadcast alternative opinions and analyses and these will be assigned to the great pool of “corporate, media and other interests” which assail them.

In the interim  they may very well remain tucked securely into their informational cocoon, in which women are renditions of caricatures in 1950’s sit-coms, in which ethnic minorities are safely assigned to segregated schools and housing, in which members of the LGBT community stay closeted, and those laid off in corporate mergers and acquisitions have only to “pull themselves together” and saunter down to the employment office to find hundreds of jobs for which they are qualified.

There isn’t much air wafting through that window on the world, and no, the controversy created by Assemblyman Wheeler’s comments and subsequent apology, isn’t part of a Great Liberal Conspiracy to bedevil those who know the Truth and represent Real America.

If the intention of that Great Liberal Conspiracy is to marginalize the GOP/TeaParty into a clique of misogynists, bigots, and low information voters — the GOP/TeaParty appears to be doing the job without need of outside assistance.   However, they’d be better advised to open their window a bit.

Comments Off

Filed under Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics, Republicans

Little Noticed? AB 4 and verification of public information

NewspapersNevada’s Assembled Wisdom will be looking at charitable donations, background checks for those who work with children and the elderly, and a proposal to fund school maintenance projects in Washoe County. [RGJ]  There are some other bills of interest getting some attention this week, including AB 4.

AB 4:  AN ACT relating to governmental administration; authorizing the State or a local government, under certain circumstances, to publish a legal notice or legal advertisement on an Internet website maintained by the State or local government in lieu of publishing the legal notice or legal advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation; requiring the State or a local government to publish certain information in a newspaper of general circulation if the State or local government publishes a legal notice or legal advertisement on an Internet website; authorizing a public body to charge and collect a fee for providing, upon request, a copy of certain public records under certain circumstances; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

AB 4 will be discussed in the Assembly Government Affairs Committee, on Thursday at 8:00 A.M.  I think we can assume that the Nevada Press Association will object to the measure, contending — as they do on their website — that:

“A fundamental reason for public notices is government accountability to its constituents. The notices are published through an independent party — the newspaper — to create a verifiable record of the date they were published and show that the content met legal requirements. Without such verification, government would be accountable only to itself.”

Delving a step further, public notices must be published in newspapers having a general circulation, as defined and refined:

“To meet the test of general circulation, a newspaper must publish some news of general interest and circulate to the general public. Under NRS 238.030, which provides for publication of legal notices in a newspaper “of general circulation,” a daily newspaper which contained only information taken from public records did not qualify because primary purpose of printing legal notices is to give widest publicity practicable, and a newspaper, in order to meet test of general circulation, must publish some news of general interest and circulate to some extent among general public. Nevada State Press Association v. Fax. Inc., 79 Nev. 82, 378 P.2d 674 (1963).”  [CCNLN]

Thus,  a newspaper which publishes daily, weekly, or semi-weekly, which has a “general” circulation, and contains some “general” news becomes the “independent verifier” of public notice and the requirements pertaining thereto.  This becomes controversial when we reach the part wherein counties must publish their property tax rolls.

The price tag for publishing the property tax information required of Clark County is a hefty $580,000.  [LVSun]  Advocates for the newspapers hold that the price is the cost of a transparent government, opponents argue that if the information is readily available on-line (and can be verified) there is no reason to pay for what is essentially a duplication of notice.

Another question which could be raised in this context, i.e. who’s being notified.  The Las Vegas Review Journal has a circulation of approximately 220,619 copies; the Las Vegas Weekly has a circulation of 75,000; the Reno Gazette Journal is reported to have a circulation of 43,095.  [link]  We could speculate that the major newspaper publishers in Nevada are facing some of the same numbers as their national counterparts — that is, they are looking at decreased circulation of approximately 5% annually. [LAT] The trends reported in the Los Angeles Times were predicated on (1) readership moving to on-line sources, (2) the reduction of distribution to outlying areas and bulk distributions, (3) increasing prices for print copies of newspaper publications.  Trends similar to the 2010 results were noted by the New York Times in 2009.

The Pew Research report of its study on newspaper readership issued in 2012 wasn’t very optimistic:

“In the new survey, only 29% say they read a newspaper yesterday, with just 23% reading a print newspaper. Over the past decade, the percentage reading a print newspaper has fallen by 18 points (from 41% to 23%). Somewhat more (38%) say they regularly read a daily newspaper, although this percentage also has declined, from 54% in 2004. Figures for newspaper readership may not include some people who read newspaper content on sites that aggregate news content, such as Google News or Yahoo News.”

Two graphics illustrate the issue concisely.

Sources of NewsIn terms of newspaper readership, the numbers aren’t reassuring:

Newpaper readershipWhen there’s an 18% drop in newspaper readership since 2002, the question should be raised: Who is being notified, to whom is information being verified, when the state or local governments are publishing information to a progressively smaller number of people?

The newspaper publishers have a valid point in saying that some independent agency should verify the context of the public notices required by law.  On the other hand, it’s hard to contend that the publication of notices and information doesn’t constitute a form of public subsidization of a private news enterprise.  Another issue concerns the type of information required.

Do we need to publish hard copies of the property tax rolls?  Yes, some readers do use the information to compare property values; but, yes, others are simply nosy parkers who delight in seeing which of the neighbors might be delinquent in their property tax payments.  Is there a substantive difference between publishing property tax rolls and information like requests for bids on government capital improvement projects costing more than $250,000?  Here’s hoping the Government Affairs Committee will take a careful, and thoughtful, look at the implications of public notice requirements.

——————-

A bit more blatant blog flogging:  The Fix is seeking nominations for state based political blogs to add to its annual list.  Your nomination for Desert Beacon would definitely be appreciated. Link Here.

Comments Off

Filed under media, Nevada legislature, Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

Quick Preview of 2013 Bills in the NV Legislature

Nevada Legislature BuildingAs the Assembled Wisdom gathers in Carson City for the next legislative session there are some bills to watch:  (pdf alert!)

AB84 – sections of this bill increase the reporting requirements for non-profit groups which seek to influence the outcome of state elections.

SB28 – provides expanded authority regarding the investigation into acts of fraud, etc. by securities brokers and dealers.

AB1 – includes provisions regarding eligibility for Medicaid and Medicaid provided services.

AB35 – from the Secretary of State’s office concerning campaign finance reporting, provisions for ending and suspending campaigns.

AB65 – makes changes to exempt some committee and subcommittee meetings from the requirements of the Open Meeting Law.

SB11 – Prohibits the possession in Nevada of wildlife that was acquired, hunted, taken or transported in violation of a law or regulation of another state or country.

SB34 - Pertaining to the risk pools established by the Public Employees Retirement System.

Those not familiar with the Nevada Legislature may want to bookmark some of the following links:

(1) The Nevada Legislature official website.

(2) Information about the 77th (2013) session.

(3) Bill and bill information link.  Alert! Bills are posted in pdf.

(4) Pre-filed bills in the Nevada Legislature.

(5) Nevada Assembly Democratic Caucus.

(6) The Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus website is a work in progress, but the link is here.

(7) Nevada Democratic Party website.

2 Comments

Filed under Nevada, Nevada legislature, Nevada news, Nevada politics