Nevada Democratic statewide officials propose bills on elections, fentanyl and ‘baby bonds’
Three statewide elected officials in Nevada are proposing bills about election workers, criminalizing opioids, and establishing financial bonds for babies. They spoke with reporters on Thursday about their goals for the 2023 Nevada Legislative Session.
Democratic State Treasurer Zach Conine is proposing a program to give every baby born under Medicaid a $3,200 bond. The money would be available once the child turns 18 and could be used for education, starting a business, or buying a home.
“We know as we move people out of generational poverty cycle, it is much more likely that the next generation does not fall back into that cycle,” Conine said. “We think that it will create not just a better outcome for that family, but a better outcome for our community because the dependence on social services over time will go down.”
As for Nevada’s top law enforcement official, Democratic Attorney General Aaron Ford wants to increase penalties for possession of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is something Republican Governor Joe Lombardo called for during his State of the State address. Two milligrams of fentanyl, or the size of a common mosquito, can be deadly.
“We’re going to get to the heart of the matter because fentanyl is simply too deadly, in small doses, to treat the same, in terms of the same weight as other drugs,” Ford said.
Fentanyl has been found in heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or counterfeit pills. People are typically unaware the substances contain fentanyl, and there has been a spike in overdose-related deaths across the country and locally. Naloxone can rapidly reverse opioid overdoses.
“I’m gonna be very clear about this because we talk about criminal justice and we talk about reform. It’s not intended to go after those who are struggling with addiction,” Ford said.
Nevada’s newly-elected Democratic secretary of state, Cisco Aguilar, wants to make it a felony to harass or intimidate election workers.
“Due to ongoing misinformation campaigns, many local election officials have stepped down, or rather are dealing with threats and harassments. The loss of that institutional knowledge is only hurting ourselves as a state. The violent rhetoric surrounding the election has also discouraged poll workers,” Aguilar said.
The Democratic statewide elected officials will need their legislation signed by Nevada’s Republican Governor in order to become law.