Death of meth bill a sad statement on GOP priorities |

Death of meth bill a sad statement on GOP priorities

Republican legislators made a profound mistake in not approving the meth legislation before them on Tuesday.

These legislators are governing the state with the most severe meth problem in the nation and what we needed from them was a strong and courageous message that they are willing to do what it takes to solve the problem.

On Tuesday, they told us they were not up to the task.

AB150 had the support of law enforcement agencies and was viewed by the local meth task force as a critical weapon in the ongoing battle with the drug and those who make and deal it.

But Republicans didn’t see it that way. The GOP was able to stop the bill even though they’re outnumbered in the Assembly 27-15 because any legislation imposing or raising a tax or fee must be passed by a two-thirds majority. That left the Democrats one vote short of getting the meth bill through.

The bill would have required stores to track medicine that contains pseudoephedrine, which gives meth its potency. That tracking is a key aspect of controlling meth. Without it, law enforcement has no way of knowing where meth manufacturers are obtaining the key ingredient. One unscrupulous convenience store owner could sell enough of the ingredient out the back door to keep several meth labs operating.

Republicans judged that retailers were more important constituents than the thousands of residents caught up in the cycle of meth and those working to stop its devastating effects on their communities. Stopping a bill that would force retailers who sell pseudoephedrine to pay a $200 fee was to them a greater priority than stopping the manufacture of meth.

Republicans were wrong to vote against this bill. And Gov. Gibbons, who has declared meth a priority, was wrong not to intervene and get them to vote correctly.

And the result was that all the bold words we heard earlier this year about defeating this plague have given way to politics as usual.