Questions and candidates
October 16, 2018
It is election time. I am getting asked about the ballot questions. Of course, you should do your own research. Here is the result of mine.
Question One, also called Marsy's Law, provides for rights to victims of crime. It has passed in five states and is up for a vote in six more. It provides for protections for crime victims and notifications to the victim about the criminal's status. Some say it violates the rights of the accused, but my observation is that the judicial system is tilted in favor of the accused. I am voting yes.
Question Two provides for a sales tax exemption on feminine hygiene products. This is similar to the current exemption on groceries. I really don't see any issue with it as the financial impact is minimal. Yes on this one.
Question Three proposes to deregulate energy services in Nevada. It has been hotly contested. From my research the ads opposing it present factual information. While I am in favor of free markets, unless all 50 states implement the same law the market will not be free. One other point that hasn't been mentioned is that the power lines, transformers, etc. in the electric distribution system don't belong to the state. They are owned by NV Energy. Anyone wanting to use those will probably have to rent the system. No on Three.
Question Four provides for a sales tax exemption on medical equipment. It proposes to amend the state constitution. The state legislature already has provisions for exempting medical equipment. The only reason for amending the constitution is a fear of a Democrat-controlled state raising all taxes. Once in the constitution it is difficult to amend or repeal. I am voting no simply because of the attempt to incorporate it into the state constitution.
Question Five provides for automatic voter registration at the DMV. I am opposed for several reasons. First, this changes voting from an opt-in choice to an opt-out one. Adding registered voters doesn't necessarily mean more votes. Second, it adds another burden to an already problematic DMV. Finally, it opens the door for greater abuse and fraud. California has a similar law and is already walking it back. They recently found over 1,500 people illegally registered to vote, some involuntarily.
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Question Six is a feel-good measure that wants to shove green energy down our throats. I maintain that if and when green energy is economically competitive with conventional sources, it will flourish. This question essentially says that without the law green energy is not viable. NV Energy already pays a premium to green energy sources to meet present requirements. If you think Question Three will raise rates, wait until this one hits. Also, it amends the state constitution. That tells me that when the price tag becomes known it will be unpopular, and proponents want it to be difficult to unwind. Vote no.
As far as the state offices, I intend to vote mostly GOP. If Sisolak is elected as Governor, expect immediate hikes in all taxes. There is a pending proposal called SJR14 that if enacted, will double or triple most real estate taxes. The Washoe County Assessor has vigorously opposed this since its proposal. Sisolak is on record as being in favor. That would be just a taste of things to come with a Democrat-controlled legislature and a Democrat governor.
One other point on the governor's race. Ryan Bundy is running under no political party. While he has some sound beliefs and ideas, I urge you to take a pragmatic approach with your vote. He has no chance of winning and is drawing votes from Laxalt. Put aside your convictions for a common-sense alternative. A vote for Bundy is a vote for Sisolak.
I am running out of space. Locally, after attending candidates' night, I am voting for East for sheriff. The turning point for me was when a question was asked about their response to outside law enforcement situations like the Bundy or Malheur Refuge incidents. East was adamant that no outside agencies would operate without his consent. Hickox waffled on his answer, wanting to consult the District Attorney first. That was enough for me to choose between two qualified candidates.
For Justice of the Peace, both candidates are solid. My view is that sometimes a change is good, as incumbents in any office often become entrenched and status quo becomes the norm. For that reason alone I support Trotter. Make up your own mind.
Tom Riggins' column appears every other Wednesday. He may be reached at email@example.com.