Keep Nevada’s citizen legislature
April 20, 2003
The Marijuana Lady is at it again. It wasn’t enough for Assemblywoman Chris Giunghigliani to be a prime sponsor of last year’s statewide pro marijuana initiative; now she thinks it unfair that one can test positive and possibly get a DUI rap some days after smoking pot because marijuana stays in one’s system for a long time.
So she wants to change the law. I don’t suppose it has occurred to her that if she doesn’t smoke the stuff, she has nothing to worry about. It’s kinda like sexual abstinence. It works every time it’s tried.
But that’s not the worst of her overzealous hyperactivity. She now wants annual legislative sessions. Of course this pops up every two years like clockwork, always sponsored by a Democrat because Democrats seem to have nothing better to do than waste their time and our money enacting hundreds of questionable laws.
And they would dearly love to be paid for it every year instead of every two years. The fact that our founding fathers intended that serving government in a legislative capacity for a short time every couple of years was to be a sacrificial, non-professional inconvenience means nothing to exploitation specialists like Giunchigliani.
Annual legislative sessions would be the beginning of the end of our citizen legislature. Why do you suppose that we have so few lawyers in our Legislature as compared to states that have either annual or continuous sessions? It’s because today even the lowliest , fresh-out-of-school lawyer can’t make a living as a legislator in Nevada. Thank God!
And it wasn’t all that long ago that even California’s legislature met for only three months every two years. It, too, used to have a citizen legislature and in those days it wasn’t dominated by tax-taking special interests.
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Running true to form, Assemblywoman Guinchigliani is again camouflaging the truth. This is standard procedure with public education representatives at all levels. And Giunchigliani is not only a highly paid teacher, that is when she finds time to teach; she is also a big-time teacher’s union activist.
And we all know where the teachers’ union stands on taxes. It has never seen a tax it didn’t love. Annual sessions would double the union’s lobbying activities favoring tax increases for higher teacher salaries and more benefits. As things now stand the teachers’ union, which is the most relentless of all Nevada lobbying groups, must be content with only one crack at our Legislature every two years. Again, thank God!
Looking at Giunchigliani’s distorted claims that we Nevada citizens want annual sessions, and that we’d vote in favor of same if it were on the next ballot, I say bull dung! During the 2001 session, the university system also claimed that its polls showed the majority of Nevadans being in favor of annual sessions, but the poll questions were obviously worded to elicit the university’s desired response.
As I said, of all special interest groups the education lobby is the champion fabricator. Only tax-taking special interests will benefit from annual legislative sessions.
Now, one law that could and should be enacted either by the Legislature (if it has the guts), or by ballot initiative, is the prohibition of any public employee, past or present, from serving as a legislator. Nevada state employees are already prohibited by law from serving as legislators. So why are teachers and other public tax-takers, present and retired, allowed to make tax laws and set budget priorities which directly and indirectly affect their own incomes?
That is a flat-out conflict of interest, and I don’t give a damn what the Ethics Commission says! If it’s a conflict for state employees, it’s a conflict for teachers and all other public employees. The Ethics Commission interpretation is hopelessly outdated. We taxpayers are being royally screwed! In one of my forthcoming columns, I will list the names of our present legislators whose incomes are, or have been, derived from tax dollars. You will be surprised at the number.
As an aside, my sources tell me that Richard Perkins, Assembly speaker, has been anointed by gaming’s special interests to be our next governor. He is alleged to have already collected 1 million bucks as seed money for his 2004 campaign. Like Gov. Guinn, he must have agreed to shut up where gaming is concerned and stay out of the way.
Actually, Perkins is a rather personable young fellow, but I don’t see him as being qualified to be governor. But on second thought, Govs. Guinn and Zero, er, Miller, have shown that pedigrees don’t always account for much either. If my sources are right, as they usually are, the Dragon Lady will have a fit.
Bob Thomas is a local businessman, past member of the Carson City School Board, the Nevada State Assembly and occasional Nevada Appeal columnist.