Legislators’ decisions will affect all our lives | NevadaAppeal.com

Legislators’ decisions will affect all our lives

The legislators who converge on Carson City on Monday will change your life and the lives of all Nevadans.

They have the power to raise your taxes (or lower them), improve your children’s education (or fail to do so), and make it easier to afford health care (or ignore a huge problem).

There are some extra reasons to watch this Legislature. For one thing, we’ll get to see how our new governor performs in a divided Legislature as he advocates for his ambitious agenda.

For another, legislators will have to be creative in how they spend our money, since the state is close to the spending cap created in 1979. On some things, there is no choice but to spend the money, namely on more prison cells to house a rapidly expanding inmate population and on improved roads that are carrying far more traffic than they were intended for.

But there are a lot of other programs that deserve to be funded, and there won’t be enough money for them all.

Some of the most interesting outcomes will not be those big-ticket items, but will have a big impact on our lives nevertheless. What will come from our governor’s $17 million anti-meth initiative that he unveiled in his State of the State speech? Will they continue a fee on slot machines that pays for treatment for problem gamblers? Will they make it illegal for minors to possess tobacco products? Will they vote to remove the requirement that motorcyclists wear helmets? Will they allow police to pull over anyone they believe is not wearing a seat belt?

And state workers should watch carefully. They could soon find themselves taking mandatory drug testing, and looking at a restructured retirement health insurance program.

No question about it, these men and women have some important decisions to make, and we urge you to pay close attention.

That’s what we’ll be doing.