Tag Archives: Nevada legislature

The NRA race to the bottom: Reciprocity

 Guns ab 175 Here’s an important point: “Nevada now has reciprocity with only 16 states that have requirements equal to or greater than those required in Nevada, including live-fire training.” [LVRJ]

Here’s another: “The proposal is contained in SB175 and Senate Bill 171, which was also heard by the Senate panel. It was also the focus of Assembly Bill 139 heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee earlier in the day. […] All three measures would require Nevada to recognize concealed carry permits issued by all states.” [LVRJ]

Now, here’s something to consider from one of those ‘other’ states: “SB 347 (West Virginia) “this permitless carry legislation, introduced by state Senator Dave Sypolt (R-14), would recognize your right to legally carry a concealed firearm without the burdensome requirement of having to obtain a costly and time-restrictive Concealed Handgun License (CHL).” [NRA]

Under the provisions suggested by Republicans in the Nevada Legislature, if West Virginia enacts “permitless carry” legislation then Nevada would be obligated to grant reciprocity?

In Kansas, the GOP controlled State Senate has just approved SB 45, also a “permitless carry” bill. [Kan.Com]  Should this legislation be finalized does Nevada have to grant reciprocity under the terms of the revisions suggested as “reforms?”

There are reasons for those “burdensome requirements.”  One of which is that some time is necessary to determine if a person is a convicted felon before issuing a concealed carry permit.  Under Nevada Statutes a person must not be an undocumented foreigner, a convicted felon, a juvenile without parental supervision, or an adjudged mentally ill individual in order to purchase a firearm.  Wouldn’t it make sense to allow local authorities and responsible gun dealers to have some time to make the necessary checks?

Yes, it’s “inconvenient” to have to follow state and local regulations concerning firearms and how they might be concealed – but does Nevada need to stoop to the lowest common denominator in terms of reciprocity?

Another common sense reason to restrict concealed carry permits is that some states, Arizona for example, do not require live fire training.  Just buy the gun, stash it in your pocket or purse, and off you go.  Somehow, the explanation, “Well, the clerk at the hardware store showed me how to shoot it,” doesn’t leave me feeling all that safe in terms of the capacity of my fellow human beings to know how such a firearm should be handled.  The recent tragic story of the Michigan lady who killed herself while adjusting her bra holster comes to mind. [NYDN]

Nevada doesn’t need to produce any more stories like that one.  We also don’t need to add to the grim statistics which report at least 722 non-self defense gunshot fatalities in the U.S. since 2007.

“More gravely, the study found that the fatalities included 17 law enforcement officers shot by people with legal permits along with 705 slain civilians. […] In studying the 544 shootings, the center found 177 cases where people with gun licenses were ultimately convicted of crimes, including homicides, and 218 cases where the permit holder used the gun to commit suicide. There were 44 total lives taken by licensed individuals who first murdered others, then committed suicide.” [NYT]

If we are speaking of “public safety” then we ought to consider how to better protect our law enforcement officers and prevent suicides. As with any legislation, AB 171 and AB 175 should be heard – but as with suggestions that we’d all be safer if more people – no matter how ill trained – should be wandering about in public places with concealed firearms once heard should be enough.

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Catechism Isn’t The Chess Club: Nevada’s AB 120 and its implications

Prayer in Schools As if the State of Nevada had nothing else with which to concern itself – infrastructure needs, including building maintenance and upgrades, attendance to the backlog of maintenance needs in our parks and other tourist attractions, the need to diversify the economy, the need to address issues surrounding living wages – the Assembled Wisdom will be spending some time on AB 120 – the Put Proselytizing in Public Schools Bill.

Here’s the LCB summary:

“Section 2 of this bill clarifies that pupils at public schools are entitled to: (1) pray to the same extent and under the same circumstances as pupils are allowed to meditate, reflect or speak on nonreligious matters; (2) express a religious viewpoint to the same extent and under the same circumstances as pupils are allowed to express a viewpoint on a nonreligious matter; (3) possess or distribute religious literature to the same extent and under the same circumstances as pupils are allowed to possess or distribute literature on a nonreligious matter; and (4) organize or participate in any prayer group, religious club or religious gathering before, during or after regular school hours to the same extent and under the same circumstances as pupils are allowed to organize and participate in any extracurricular group or activity before, during and after regular school hours.”

There are some problems herein.  The first of which is constitutional. Not the Federal Constitution, but the State one.  The issue is raised in Article XI:

“Sec: 9.  Sectarian instruction prohibited in common schools and university.  No sectarian instruction shall be imparted or tolerated in any school or University that may be established under this Constitution.  Section Ten.  No public money to be used for sectarian purposes.  No public funds of any kind or character whatever, State, County or Municipal, shall be used for sectarian purpose. [Added in 1880. Proposed and passed by the 1877 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1879 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1880 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1877, p. 221; Statutes of Nevada 1879, p. 149.]”

If a statement, tract, pamphlet, book, audio recording, video recording, etc. is to be distributed among students where does one draw a line between what is an “expression of a viewpoint” and an element of “sectarian instruction?” 

Secondly, the Nevada Constitution is abundantly clear that no public funds of any kind may be used for sectarian purposes.  If a proposed “religious club or religious gathering” is sponsored by the school is a faculty adviser to be assigned? If so, and most districts do require a faculty adviser for the supervision of extracurricular activities, then if the advisor is paid for supervision activities does this create a Constitutional question? Similarly, if the sectarian organization or gathering uses the public school facilities who pays for the heating, cooling, or the light bill?  Since AB 120 says that the access to sectarian activities must be “before, during, and after school” then a reasonable person would have to assume that the schools would be subsidizing the facilities during those times.

There are more tangential issues which need to be explored. For example, what is the origin of the “religious literature,” are these published by a sectarian organization for distribution or are they cranked out on the school copier?  If the latter, is the lease for the copier or attendant fiscal considerations, part of what should be considered the expenditure of public funds?

In some ethereal abstract way giving equal access to everyone sounds nice and tidy, fair and equitable – but the proscription on sectarian instruction creates all manner of issues for which litigation seems the only natural recourse for their resolution.  Natural, but expensive.

There are some other practical considerations which deserve some attention.  For example, does the language in AB 120 imply that religious organizations which have institutional programs for elementary and secondary school students are free to utilize the facilities of the public schools? Does this mean that LDS Seminary programs or Roman Catholic Catechism sessions are included? Does this mean there should be a Melamed tinokos’ (children’s teacher) available for Talmud Torah instruction as in a Cheder?

Bible Study groups present a plethora of issues.  If there is provision for an informal Bible Study group, then must the school make time and space equally available for the Koran? The Talmud? The Buddhist Suttas?  And, while we’re on the subject – which Bible? The King James? The New American Standard? The Revised Standard version? The RSV Catholic Edition?  If there is a “study group” using the King James version, then if parents object must the school offer time and space for the RSV-CE group?

Another practical consideration is predicated on the notion that children, especially adolescents, tend to be pack animals and parents tend to be attuned to individual preferences.  If, for example, instruction or Bible study tends toward a congregationalist  or individualistic interpretation of Scripture then what might be the reaction of parents who tend toward the more  episcopal interpretation?

Assuming the school population mirrors that of an average community, the majority will be some version of Christian – but what version? Further, if the majority is some version of Christian, and the majority of the school population does participate in a morning prayer session, what of the minority students who don’t?   What provisions or accommodations are made for students who come from homes in which it is considered improper to ask God for anything – homes in which only thanks and praise are appropriately  addressed to the deity?  Again — assuming that peer pressure is a profound thing among adolescents – how does the school deal with the individual preferences of the parents? How does it deal with children from the homes of non-Christians, or non-believers?  How does it cope with the feelings of those who feel “left out?”  Or, under pressure to “conform?”

Then there is the matter of what is appropriate in public schools.  There are extremists in nearly all forms of organized religion.  Would materials from the Westboro Baptist Church be appropriate in the Small Town Central Elementary School?  Would the teachings of an Imam associated with the Wahhabist version of Islam be appropriate? Would publications from the Radical Traditional Catholics be appropriate given their hard-core anti-Semitism?  How is a public school to differentiate between the radical and the mundane if ALL “religious viewpoints” are to be given “equal time?”

AB 120 is shot through with both constitutional and practical problems.  The best solution in a public setting might very well be to leave the religious instruction of children in the hands of their parents, and to have the school concentrate its energies and resources on reading, writing, math, science, and the other basic elements of its curricula.

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Home Defects, Budget Shortfalls, and Picking Losers

Jig Saw Puzzle

Interesting items, each worthy of a post, but in the interest of keeping up to date – here are some newsworthy items deserving of a click and read.

Nevada Legislature: Take a moment to read Eli Segall’s piece in the Las Vegas Sun about the interest taken in the Assembled Wisdom about homeowner complaints in regard to construction defects.  Here’s a taste:

“Supporters say the proposal will boost construction jobs, but outside analysts say it will hammer trial lawyers, a political and business foe of builders, and, despite the bill’s name, will make it harder for homeowners to sue for shoddy workmanship.”  Why?

“As proposed, AB 125 would, among other things, strip homeowners’ ability to recover reasonable attorney fees in defect cases; require homeowners to state each problem in “specific detail” rather than in “reasonable” detail as current law allows and to give the defects’ “exact” locations in the house; and change the definition of a constructional defect, eliminating the provision that such flaws are made in violation of law and local codes and ordinances.”

Republicans in Disarray?  There is an effort to recall Assemblyman Hambrick (R-NVAD2).  Hambrick, GOP opponents say, has Strayed From the No New Taxes Pledge. [LVRJ]

School Daze: There’s this from Let’s Talk Nevada:

“8:00 AM: H/T Ralston for this. Pedro Martinez, the man Governor Brian Sandoval (R) hand-picked to run the new “Achievement School District” where he wants to transfer 10% of Nevada public schools into, is so dedicated to improving public education in Nevada… That he’s now running for School Superintendent in Boston. And yes, that’s Boston, Massachusetts.”

Meanwhile in Wisconsin under the Austerity/Trickle Down Hoax regime of Scott Walker – the governor’s solution to the $283 million budget shortfall created by his tax cuts is to skip $108 million in debt paymentsAnd in Kansas, the legislature backed down and decided to allow governor Brownback to sweep $475 million over the next two years from KDOT into the budget hole created by his tax cuts. [Kansas.comGet ready Ohio, governor Kasich is gearing up his 23% cut in the state income taxes over the next two years.

And in Congress, the Republican leadership is operating on the same theme:

“House leaders plan to schedule votes this week on seven bills recently approved by the Ways and Means Committee to make permanent an array of “tax extenders,” a set of primarily corporate tax provisions that policymakers routinely extend for a year or two at a time.  The seven measures, which will likely be packaged into a smaller number of bills for floor consideration, are the first installment in a series of bills that House leaders are expected to move to make many of the largest tax extenders permanent, while offsetting none of the cost.”

I think we’ve seen this before, and labeling it “Credit Card Capitalism,” wherein the Bush Administration turned the Clinton Administration surplus into a massive deficit – and then blamed the Democrats for “tax and spend” policies.  We might get the drift – the Republicans get into control, lower the taxes and revenues, thereby piling up a massive debt. The Democrats take back the control, enact taxes to fill the holes in the state budgets – and the GOP screams about “Tax and Spend?”

About those “economic development” and “job creating” ideas – a report (pdf) from North Carolina documents that 60% of the recipients of their incentive awards were cancelled because the firms failed to live up to their promises. H/T Angry Bear.  The story is about the same in Wisconsin:

“The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a public-private body set up by Walker shortly after he took office in January 2011, was supposed to help the state climb out of recession by shedding bureaucratic rules and drawing on private-sector expertise.

But the WEDC has fallen short of its own goals by tens of thousands of jobs and failed to keep track of millions of dollars it has handed out. One reason for the agency’s disappointing performance: Walker’s overhaul of the state bureaucracy drove away seasoned development workers, economic development experts who work closely with the agency told Reuters.” [CapBlue]

There are other ways to create jobs and improve our economy; take a look at the CAP proposal for the Appalachian region.

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Guns and Nutters: Nevada Legislature Recoils

Guns Nevada Legis Infrastructure

The state of Nevada has 158 “high hazard” dams.  ‘High hazard’ means there could be loss of life or significant property damage if a dam failure were to occur. [ASCE]  However, the state legislature appears to have other priorities. Guns, case in point:   SB 175.  As of February 4, 2015 there were 10 bills in the Assembled Wisdom regarding guns. [RGJ]  SB 175 is particularly subservient to the National Rifle (Manufacturers) Association:

“Senate Bill 175, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, also would loosen Nevada’s reciprocity laws with other states regarding concealed weapon permits and repeal a handgun registration requirement in Clark County, a local ordinance that has been in existence for more than six decades.

Further, it would establish “state control over the regulation of policies concerning firearms,” and allow anyone “adversely affected” by local ordinances or regulations that violate the measure to sue for damages.

The measure would make it illegal for anyone convicted of domestic violence, even a misdemeanor offense, from owning a gun. A violation would constitute a felony. It also would prohibit anyone under an extended protection order from acquiring a gun while the order is in effect.” [LVRJ]

Part One – the reciprocity would lower Nevada standards to the least common denominator among the states. Part Two – repeals the permitting requirements in Clark County. Part Three – allows anyone with a grouse to sue local governments on the grounds of “2nd Amendment Free-dumb.” Part Four – says a person under a domestic violence restraining order cannot buy a gun – and says nothing about removing guns from an abuser who already has possession of them prior to conviction.  Meanwhile, …

The state’s budget for dealing with high hazard dams is half the national average, and there are only 3 full time employees responsible for overseeing an average of  225 state regulated dams.   [ASCE]  Nevada ranks 23rd in the nation in renewable energy in a state well known for sun and wind.  [ASCE]

However, those dams and that renewable energy aren’t major topics among the Assembled Wisdom because the efforts thus far highlight how a gun hobbyist in Nevada can get a concealed carry permit as easily as he or she could in Florida – wherein the standard appears to be the capacity to slightly fog a mirror. [TP]  Witness: AB 127 which would do away with local Clark County firearms regulation and put all the authority in the hands of the State.  [LVRJ]  I must be getting very forgetful in my dotage, but I do recall a time when Republicans were all about “local control.”

The state could use more funds for its educational system, both k-12 and higher education; more funding for its public health programs; more resources for our mental health and child welfare services – and more resources allocated to improving our infrastructure.  But, the prime topic in this rendition of the Assembled Wisdom seems to be the care and nurturing of our ‘beleaguered ammosexuals.’   Because, you know… Freedumb.

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Nevada AB 121: Promote Your Gun in School

NVLeg Gun Promotion

Nevada Assembly members Wheeler, Ellison, Jones, Dickman, Moore, O’Neill, and Oscarson would like to help those kiddies who are disciplined for simulating a firearm during art or play activities, or who are wearing Pro-Gun Apparel in Assembly Bill 121.

There are a couple of levels at which this is ill advised. First, it seems to be one of those solutions in search of a problem. Someone’s kid gets disciplined in some school somewhere for simulating a lethal weapon, gets sent home, and the incident seems to instantly hit the Internet – to be endlessly forwarded and all too often enhanced by the Great E-Mail Telegraph. 

Secondly, this isn’t all about ‘free-dumb.’ It’s about marketing. It’s about the National Rifle (Manufacturers) Association promoting its products to a younger generation – since the older ones don’t seem all that interested in arming themselves to the gunwales.   There are reactive increases in gun sales, but generally speaking there are fewer US households purchasing more guns while the majority eschew such shopping.

It’s about the continuing efforts of the National Rifle (Manufacturers) Association to re-interpret the 2nd Amendment to disallow any common sense restraints and limitations, as are applied to every other portion of the Splendid Document.  

It’s also a way to launch a thousand ships of controversy. Does Johnny’s t-shirt with the scantily clad voluptuous young woman waving a 2nd Amendment banner constitute a “disruption,” or because it’s advertising the NRA agenda is it OK? After all, under the provisions of AB 121 a child can’t be disciplined for  “Wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or dangerous weapon or express an opinion regarding a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. “

We might ask – are some of the people who are advocating in favor of this bill possibly be  the same folks who decried the wearing of “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” shirts worn by some professional, amateur, and school team members? Have they agreed with the Oklahoma legislator who wanted to ban hoodies?  Would an NRA hoodie, as seen above, be acceptable?

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Well now, that was embarrassing: NV Treasurer Diss’es Governor

Schwartz bus  The following masterpiece of understatement captures what happened yesterday at the Assembled Wisdom in Carson City:

“Things did not go well for newly elected Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz Thursday at the Nevada Legislature.” [RGJ]

It really doesn’t do to garner headlines like: “Nevada lawmakers tell treasurer his budget proposal is embarrassing.” [LVRJ] Or, “Nevada treasurer blasted by own party for submitting alternative budget.” [LVSun]  Then the Elko Daily Free Press chimed in, “Nevada treasurer’s budget called ‘absurdity’.”  And, to ice the cupcake, there’s the part wherein some conservative members of the Assembled Wisdom may have tossed Mr. Schwartz under the venerable clichéd bus:

“Schwartz told The Associated Press last week that he met with a group of Assembly and Senate Republicans interested in drafting a bill reflecting the alternative budget. Several conservative Republican lawmakers say they’re trying to block Sandoval’s plan, which will need the votes of two-thirds of the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass.” [EDFP]

Needless to say, Mr. Schwartz back-tracked after the Debacle, saying the whole thing was his idea.  Treasurer meet the underside of the bus tires? Newly elected State Controller Ron Knecht seems to have had the good sense to remain quietly in the background after initially approving of Mr. Schwartz’s proposition. [LVRJ]

When the Dynamic Duo launched their Alternative Budget on or about February 3rd, it did have some numbers in it…they just weren’t the Governor’s numbers.  Nor did the Duo think through the implementation of their specifics, all three pages of them.  For example, precisely how would the state collect their Quarter a Plate restaurant tax? Then, there was the infamous, and illegal, airport tax notion. [LVRJ] It’s not like he wasn’t warned the ill-fated proposal wouldn’t have a glorious reception.

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If It Ain’t Broke, Whack It Anyway: “Pension reform” in Nevada

NV Retirement ALEC Back on July 21, 2014 Nevada Assemblyman Randy Kirner (R-26) ask for the drafting of a bill to create an interim task force to examine alternatives to the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System. (BDR 184)  A more useless bit of legislation isn’t quite imaginable.  Unless, of course, one has in mind the ultimate goal of changing the system from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. 

If this is the case, then it is right out of the ALEC playbook, which offers model legislation for this purpose.  The corporate interest group also offers model legislation in case the state decides to retain its defined benefit plan.  The defined contribution plan is a notion the Koch supported NPRI has been promoting since at least 2011.  The ‘solution’ was proposed again in 2013 in NPRI’s handbook for legislators. (pdf)  ALEC, the corporate bill mill, waded into these waters again in 2014 with its recommendations from the Public Pension Reform Working Group. (pdf) It might be of some interest to note that the private chair of the task force was held by Amanda Klump, of Altria Client Services, (that would be promoting the interests of the tobacco giant, which used to call itself Philip Morris.

A quick look at a 2014 publication of pertinent facts about state and municipal pension funds (pdf) and information on Nevada’s system from NASRA, should put one’s mind to rest, unless the unsettled portion is still churning through the misinformation and misleading conclusions drawn from publications of ALEC, the Altria Group, NPRI, and the Koch Brothers organizations.

One bill draft request, #185, from Assemblyman Kirner has made it to the light of day in the form of AB 3. Assemblyman Kirner’s effort would increase the size of the PERS Board to nine members, and three of whom would be individuals who: “have specified experience relating to the design or management of retirement plans; (2) are not employees of the State or its political subdivisions; (3) are not elected officers of the State or its political subdivisions; and (4) have never been active members of the System.”  Thus, there would NOT be a member of the board who is an employee of the state of Nevada or one of its political subdivisions,  is serving in a management position,  has 10 years of service, is not an elected official, and is not an active member.  In short – Assemblyman Kirner would remove the individual board member who has a direct interest in the positive outcomes of any policy decisions and replace the individual with three board members who are ‘technocrats,’ serving from the financial sector perspective. How convenient?

Assemblyman Kirner is evidently not pleased with a PERS board consisting of a former CFO of the City of Las Vegas, two members from the Police and Firefighters Retirement Fund Advisory Committee, a chief accountant with the department of Transportation, a former Clark County Budget Manager, a former Director of Payroll and Benefits from the Clark County School District, and a representative from SEIU.  Perhaps there are too many members who might have questions about turning the defined benefits system into a defined contribution scheme?

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