What’s on the Nevada GOP wish list for 2015?
In the days leading up to the November 4 Midterm Election, the main thrust of the Sandoval Administration and the Nevada Republican Party was to retain two Nevada Senate seats vacated by Republicans running for higher office, and to capture one additional seat held by a Democrat, giving the GOP a senate majority.
No one … not a single wild-eyed conservative optimist … harbored any thoughts about the GOP winning control of the Nevada Assembly.
When all the votes were counted, Republicans captured all three senate seats, giving them an 11-10 majority; the two GOP senators who vacated their seats both won their races for statewide office; and voters gave Republicans a 10-seat pick up in the Nevada Assembly resulting in a 25-17 GOP majority.
One of the disadvantages of being in the legislative minority is that you can’t originate any legislation. Committee chairs are all appointed by the majority party, and if a committee chair doesn’t want a bill to go anywhere, it won’t.
Thus, Nevada Republican legislators have spent many years wandering like eunichs in the wilderness only to wake up Wednesday, November 5, drenched with power.
After a week of gathering their wits, some key GOP legislators and party officials formed an ad hoc legislative committee to come up with ideas for a 2015 legislative agenda.
This group includes four members of the assembly, a former assemblyman (who represented Incline/Crystal Bay) a senator and officials of Nevada state and county GOP organizations.
On a scale measuring from moderate to arch-conservative, these folks would rank with King Louis XIV.
Here are the elements of their rather ambitious draft agenda for legislative action during the 2015 session: 1.) require picture identification of all voters; 2.) repeal the modified business tax; 3.) institute real education reforms (vouchers, eliminate tenure, pay high-performing teachers bonuses, liberalize charter school law); 4.) apply 2/3 vote requirement to institute or raise taxes to ballot measures as well as legislation; 5.) amend Nevada Constitution to permit carrying concealed weapons including on campuses; 6.) state preemption of all local gun laws; 7.) demand that federal lands be ceded back to Nevada; 8.) reform construction defect and tort laws 9.) vitiate costs of expansion of Medicaid, perhaps impose copays; 10.) provide that non-citizens who are issued driver privilege cards furnish proof of insurance just as driver licensees must; 11.) restrict prepaid welfare debit cards from use at bars, strip clubs and brothels; 12.) limit entitlements such as Millennium Scholarships to lawful residents; 13.) repeal the 2013 energy bill that provides ratepayers subsidize Warren Buffet’s purchase of Nevada Energy; 14.) repeal or modify “hate crime” laws so that enhanced penalties are not based solely on an alleged victim’s race; 15.) enact governmental efficiencies recommended by the SAGE Commission (chaired by Crystal Bay’s Bruce James); 16.) reform the financially shaky state employee’s retirement system; 17.) amend the “prevailing wage law” for public works and school construction; 18.) revitalize the Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project; 19.) reform collective bargaining laws for governmental employees; 20.) modify or repeal minimum wage law; 21.) reform process of legislative committees setting compensation of constitutional officers and their chiefs of staff; 22.) include public employee union contract negotiations in Nevada’s Open Meeting Law; 23. Repeal common core education system; and 24. Institutionalize parents’ rights to home school their children.
The committee’s list concludes with the words: “more to come.” Whew!
Governor Sandoval’s agenda includes education reform, including the specifics cited above; he also has a plan for comprehensive tax reform which may involve restructuring the modified business tax; finally he has an as yet unannounced plan to improve education spending.
With the legislature and the governor in agreement those matters stand a good chance of becoming law. The rest of the “wish list” will depend on the proponents’ ability to wheel and deal for votes.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Nevada and Washoe County GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at email@example.com.