Politics and Policy

Esther Ciammachilli

The Nevada Assembly rejected a bill last night (Tuesday) that would have required students to use school bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex.

The highly controversial AB375 was marginally voted down in a 22-20 vote with five Republicans and all Democrats opposed.

Republican Assemblywoman Vicki Dooling was the bill's main sponsor.

"This bill will bring privacy and safety for all children," Dooling said.

Nevada Lawmakers Want More Freedom To Collect Online Sales Tax

Apr 22, 2015

Lawmakers have passed a bill aimed at helping Nevada collect more tax revenue from online retailers.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill yesterday (Tuesday), and the Assembly passed an identical measure.

The U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause prevents states from requiring a merchant to collect and turn over sales tax unless the business has a substantial base in that state.

Governor Brian Sandoval's tax plan has cleared the Senate. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the proposal now heads to the Assembly where it'll face tough opposition.

Only four senators voted against the proposal, while 17 came out in support. That's more than the required two-thirds majority vote needed, and it's a margin that surprised even Governor Sandoval.

The Nevada Assembly has approved a measure requiring parental notification before a minor can receive an abortion. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that lawmakers passed AB 405 in a 24-17 party-line vote on Friday.

The bill would require physicians to send written notification to the parents or guardians of a minor seeking an abortion. It also requires a 48-hour wait time before the procedure.

David Parks

Therapies that are meant to turn young gay people straight could soon be banned in Nevada. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Democratic Senator David Parks is sponsoring a bill that would outlaw psychotherapists and social workers from providing what's called "sexual conversion therapy" to patients under 18. He says the practice is unethical and unscientific. Ron Lawrence, a marriage and family therapist in Las Vegas, agrees.

A bill under review by Nevada lawmakers would require all businesses in Nevada to offer paid sick leave to employees. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Under Senate Bill 259 all workers would earn at least an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours on the clock. That benefit would kick in after a worker has been on the job for 90 days. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford sponsored the measure and testified at a Senate committee meeting Monday.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is backing New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to succeed him as Democratic leader. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that Reid issued his endorsement Friday morning, shortly after announcing he will retire next year instead of running for re-election.

Reid was first elected to the Senate almost thirty years ago.

Reid said he wants to make sure Democrats regain control of the Senate next year and that it would be "inappropriate" for him to soak up campaign resources when he could be focusing on putting the Democrats back in power.

Editor's Note: This story won an Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA) award for best spot news in 2015. Learn more

With more than 20 Republican lawmakers supporting AB148, which would allow concealed firearms on college campuses, many at the University of Nevada, Reno worry they could see guns at school, soon. That’s why 200 protestors gathered there Wednesday. Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss reports.

In reviewing what happened before and during the Sparks Middle School shooting in 2013, emergency management and education officials have learned a lot. That's what Democratic Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson said during her testimony this week for a bill to update safety procedures in Nevada schools based on lessons learned at Sparks. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

sites.psu.edu

A bill under consideration now would collect more information about obesity in Nevada and the efforts to prevent it. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

A senate committee heard testimony Monday on a bill that would require the state to give an annual report on obesity rates, including a demographic breakdown of the problem.

School campuses have become the latest testing ground for the debate over gun rights in Nevada. A bill that would allow those with concealed weapons permits to bring their guns on campus drew crowds to Carson City this week.

To hear both sides tell it, guns are either the panacea for some of the worst afflictions on campus—sexual assault and school shootings among them—or a toxic solution in search of a problem. 

www.leg.state.nv.us

Two Republican assemblymen are making peace after a physical altercation earlier this week.

John Moore filed a complaint with legislative police against Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson saying he refused to let Moore leave an impromptu meeting in a stairwell of the legislative building. This was during a recess when the two were discussing Moore’s vote on a bill.

Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton spent much of her testimony telling anecdotes like this:

"In 2010 in January, Jerald Young defended himself against three men. It was clear from video surveillance he was trying to get away from them, but Mr. Young  was charged with multiple charges, and it took him years to be acquitted by a jury." 

Anh Gray

Right now, there are close to 2,000 portable classrooms in Washoe and Clark Counties alone because of overcrowding. Couple that with calls from business leaders, parents and both parties to improve education in Nevada, and you'd expect a bill that would create more schools to sail through.

“Except that we’re going to do that by stepping on your parents' backs. It’s the parents versus the kids. That’s what you’re doing with this bill. For someone to have the audacity to put this in front of my face and say it’s about schools...”

Nevada’s rural community colleges are cash-strapped. That will only get worse under the current budget proposal. Leaders from those colleges will be in Carson City on Tuesday in hopes of improving their outlook. 

Higher education in Nevada has faced some rough years. Now, the picture is beginning to change, but for rural community colleges, namely Western Nevada College and Great Basin, major cuts are still imminent.

The 2015 legislative session is only in its first weeks, but already some political observers in Nevada say the prognosis is not good. Republicans continue to deal with discord in their ranks. Governor Brian Sandoval's plan to increase taxes to fund education could face serious opposition from members of his own party. Meanwhile, police are investigating a possible extortion plot.

Nevada Treasurer Lambasted For Alternative Budget

Feb 12, 2015
www.nevadatreasurer.gov

If you’re scratching your head about why the treasurer is designing the state’s budget, you’re not the only 

  one. In an unprecedented move, Nevada State Treasurer Dan Schwartz, a Republican, came forward with a plan that’s about half a billion dollars lower than Governor Brian Sandoval’s. It also eliminates the governor’s proposed taxes on business to fund education.

Speaking in front of the Senate Finance Committee, Schwartz put it this way:

Debate over gun rights heats up in Carson

Feb 6, 2015

Guns could be coming to a campus parking lot near you. Some lawmakers in Carson City say that's a good thing, while others believe schools and universities should remain gun free.

Josh Wilsey, a junior at the University of Nevada, Reno, doesn’t really have a problem with guns on campus.

“I wouldn’t say it would really bother me. I think in Nevada you’re going to have guns everywhere anyway.”

Nevada Firearms Coalition

The Background Check Initiative would expand background checks to private gun sales made online and at gun shows. Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss reports that if lawmakers don’t approve the changes this session, voters will have their say in 2016.

This topic arouses passion from both sides. Don Turner has formed a political action committee to fight the Background Check Initiative.

“I’m president of Nevada Firearms Coalition," Turner says. "I’m also president of Nevadans for State Gun Rights.”

State of Nevada website

In his State of the State address, Republican Governor Brian Sandoval promised bold action for Nevada’s struggling education system and outdated tax structure:

We live in a state that is transforming before our eyes – with 21st Century companies, jobs and technologies that place us at the forefront of innovation and the new economy. Yet we still operate with decades-old funding systems and an education structure that will eventually grind us to an inevitable halt.”

Pages