Nevada’s legislative Democrats have disdainfully dismissed Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo’s wide-ranging policy agenda with June 5 adjournment looming.
Under state law, Lombardo is limited to requesting just five bills each legislative session “to propose the governor’s legislative agenda.”
With these five bills, the governor is seeking to enact changes to state government organization, elections, criminal justice policies and the K-12 education system.
But all five of the governor’s policy bills have been stymied by Democrats in legislative committees. Of those bills, three have received hearings, with the two remaining denied a hearing or dismissed as “dead on arrival” by Democrats.
Lombardo’s five policy bills are not a far-right political “wish list.” Rather, they represent common sense reforms that should have broad appeal to Republicans, a majority of decline-to-state voters and many Democrats.
Lombardo’s AB 330 would repeal portions of “the public school restorative justice law” enacted by Democrats in 2019. The law has led to dangerous and disruptive behavior in classrooms.
The measure would give teachers the ability to remove a violent student from the classroom and increases penalties for students who commit battery, sell drugs at school, or bring a firearm to school, by requiring suspension for a first offense and expulsion for a second.
AB 330 passed the Nevada Assembly in April on a bipartisan 38-4 vote. It was supported by diverse groups, including: all 17 Nevada school superintendents, the Clark County Education Association and the Nevada Association of School Boards.
AB 330 stalled in Senate committee with Democrats promoting a version allowing a student to commit battery on a teacher with the only punishment being a meeting with parents.
At the 11th hour, AB 330 passed the Senate and was signed by Lombardo.
On education, Lombardo takes a balanced approach. His budget boosts public school spending by a record $2,000 per pupil (a 22% increase).
He also proposes to create the Office of School Choice and increase Opportunity Scholarship funding to $50 million under his AB 400. In addition, AB 400 reinstates the Read by 3 requirement for literacy proficiency.
Democrats blocked any increase in Opportunity Scholarships – or action on AB 400.
Notably absent from Lombardo’s school choice bill are educational savings accounts. ESAs allow parents to access public funds and apply them to private schooling, tutoring or other qualified alternatives.
With Democrats dominant in the Legislature and teacher union opposition, political reality precluded Lombardo proposing ESAs
As a former sheriff, Lombardo’s SB 412 (“Crime Reduction Act”) would increase penalties for fentanyl possession – making it a category B felony. SB 412 also revises a 2019 law that lowered the threshold at which theft becomes a felony from $1,200 to $750. That resulted in rising retail theft.
Lombardo also proposes SB 431 ( a sweeping “Governmental Modernization and Efficiency Act”) that would make changes to governor’s office staffing, state financial operations and more.
Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager described Lombardo’s proposed SB 405 to tighten up security in Nevada’s elections as “dead on arrival.” Not worthy of hearings or votes.
SB 405 would continue to make it easy to vote – mail, two weeks of early voting and Election Day – but harder to cheat.
That includes photo ID provided to anyone who can’t afford one, mailing ballots only to those requesting them, and that mail-in ballots be returned in time to be counted on Election Day.
While Nevada voters proved to be evenly divided last November, the Democrats’ shameless hyper-partisan legislative gerrymander done in November 2021 assures one-party rule in Carson City.
Democrats make up 32% of the voting population but they railroaded through redistricting maps that guarantee them over 70% of congressional and state legislative seats.
They’ve insulated themselves by drawing districts with certain Senate and Assembly supermajorities.
Democrat legislative leaders demonstrate the “Arrogance of Officialdom.” They can dis Lombardo’s agenda without political consequence.
E-mail Jim Hartman at email@example.com.