Legislative detritus | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislative detritus

Tom Riggins

The 2019 Nevada legislative session is over. Phew! There was a lot of rubbish that made its way through this session. I had to wait this long to be civil about my report.

Once again, annual legislative sessions were proposed. It never got to a vote, thankfully. Enough damage is done every other year. Beyond that, here is a summary of my thoughts on some, but not all, of the damage done by the Legislature. Make no mistake, it was a full-on attack on the state and federal constitutions.

The so-called “Red Flag” firearms bill, AB291, passed. This allows local law enforcement to take away your firearms based on their view of you being a threat to society, or by virtue of a citizen complaint. Goodbye due process. You have to prove your innocence after your firearms are taken. Even if you do, good luck getting them back. Makes one consider a secret stash, doesn’t it?

Along with that was a universal background check law. This one is as vague and poorly written as the one passed by essentially Las Vegas voters in 2016. Any firearms transfer is subject to a background check, with a few exceptions that I suppose will be clarified after a few court decisions and a few people unlawfully charged with a crime.

Both these bills leave too much discretion on interpretation with unelected local and state officials. I believe our local officials will use their power judiciously, but what about when you are in another county?

A controversial bill places domestic well water use under the purview of the state engineer’s office. The agriculture community supported this but there is widespread concern that water will be taken from domestic wells and placed in other use. While the time for this law may have come, due primarily to abuses in the Pahrump area, there are a host of unanswered questions with it. For example, will domestic wells have a priority in use like agriculture use? Who knows? It is up to yet another unelected official to work out the mechanics.

I am running out of space. Here is a summary of other bills. AB345 allows same-day voter registration, which will result in election results not being available for 10 days. SB94 funds Planned Parenthood. In hand with SB94, SB179 lowers the consent age for abortions and removes many restrictions on consent for an abortion.

If you don’t like an elected official, SB450 makes it much more difficult to recall him or her. SB538 establishes the “Office of New Americans” (an oxymoron in my view) for illegal immigrants, funded of course by tax dollars. On the education front, AB458 limits tax credits for school choice. SB84 adds to the taxpayer burden for prekindergarten, which is proving to be ineffective in giving children a leg up in school.

In another assault on the taxpayer, SB135 provides collective bargaining for state employees. If you think this is harmless, you should see from the inside, as I have, how it works for school districts.

There is a bill which will undoubtedly end up in court, possibly along with AB291, the Red Flag law. That is SB551. This bill increases the Modified Business Tax passed in 2015. The Nevada Constitution requires tax increases to be passed by a two-thirds majority. Since they couldn’t get the two-thirds majority vote, they just removed that provision and passed it anyway. When the state Supreme Court throws out this bill, which I am very confident they will do, Nevada will be faced with a revenue deficit. Where will the money come from then?

There were a few bright spots. Gov. Sisolak vetoed the so-called Popular Vote bill where the state’s Electoral College delegates would be required to vote for whoever won the national popular vote. I guess he didn’t want Nevada to be treated like Las Vegas treats the rest of Nevada.

SJR14 from the 2017 session would have doubled or tripled real property taxes. This one didn’t get a hearing after being proposed again. Bills to make Nevada a sanctuary state, appoint judges, and appoint Board of Regents members also didn’t make it to the floor.

Many of these bills were strictly on a party-line vote. We have had Democrat legislatures and governors before. Those were moderates. This group seems bent on creating California. If it bothers you as much as me then demand the state GOP field candidates for every race. Even if they don’t win, it presents another viewpoint.