According to press reports, a week after the election key GOP legislators and party officials set up an ad hoc committee to begin drafting an agenda for Nevada’s 2015 legislative session. Below are a couple of dozen ideas they’ve come up with so far. If you’re one of the Democrats who voted to stay home instead of casting a ballot in the general election, here’s what you voted for:
Disenfranchise all voters without photo ID’s.
Repeal the Modified Business Tax, the 1.17% payroll tax that only applies to businesses with more than $62,500 in quarterly wages.
Institute a school voucher program to transfer public school funding to private schools, eliminate teacher seniority rights, play teachers off against each other for bonuses, and deregulate charter schools.
Allow a one-third minority to veto ballot tax measures, just as they can now in the legislature.
Allow concealed firearms on school and college campuses.
Nullify all local gun control laws.
Demand that federal lands be “ceded back” to the state. It should be noted that Nevada never owned any of the federal lands within Nevada’s borders, and acceptance of federal jurisdiction was put into the state constitution as a condition of admission. Besides, the State of Nevada doesn’t have the money needed to manage these lands, so any cession of federal lands to the state could only mean selling them off to private interests. That wouldn’t go down very well with ranchers, who currently graze their cattle on BLM- and Forest Service-managed ranges for almost nothing.
Eviscerate construction defect and product defect laws.
Transfer the cost of Medicaid expansion from the government to the beneficiaries.
Require proof of insurance for issuance of driver privilege cards.
Restrict EBT card use “at bars, strip clubs and brothels.” This item reveals the GOP’s ignorance of existing law. The DWSS website says that EBT cards cannot be used for “any non-food item, such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, household supplies, grooming items, toothpaste and cosmetics; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; vitamins and medicines; any food that will be eaten in the store; hot foods that are ready to eat; or any food marketed to be heated in the store.” It’s safe to say that these cards are not being used at bars, strip clubs or brothels, but low-information voters who listen to Republican bloviations will no doubt believe they are.
Restrict Millennium Scholarships to citizens and documented aliens (dream on, dreamers).
Repeal the 2013 session’s energy bill (SB123), which closed the Moapa coal-fired power plant and provided ratepayer subsidies to NV Energy for investment in renewables and natural gas.
Repeal the state’s “hate crime” law (NRS 193.1675) that provides enhanced penalties for crimes targeting victims because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, color, national origin, gender identity or physical or mental disability.
Enact recommendations of Gov. Gibbons’ SAGE Commission, which among other things called for reducing health and retirement benefits for state employees, closing rural prisons, privatizing urban prisons, and outsourcing highway maintenance.
Convert the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, a change that will limit employees’ ability to cash out when they exit government service.
Eliminate “prevailing wage” requirements for public works and school construction to depress construction wages and put union contractors at a competitive disadvantage.
Resurrect the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project.
Further weaken collective bargaining rights for public sector employees.
Repeal the state minimum wage.
Put limits on the pay of constitutional officers and their chiefs of staff.
Subject confidential public employee union contract negotiations to the Open Meeting Law.
Progressive Policies For Veterans This Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a time for relaxation, but also for reflection and remembrance. The day is first and foremost about honoring American service members who are no longer with us. But there are also steps we can take to help improve the lives of the 10 million current vets and the many military families. So before you take off for the long weekend, take a few minutes to read our list of some progressive policies to help veterans:
Support Vets Looking For Work. Veterans have suffered from Congressional Republicans’ refusal to extend emergency unemployment benefits. There are roughly 163,000 unemployed post-9/11 vets and more than 600,000 unemployed veterans overall. Those who volunteered to protect our nation oversees but can’t find a job back at home deserve more support from our elected officials.
Give 1 Million Veterans A Raise. Of the roughly 10 million veterans in the United States today, one in ten — that’s 1 million vets — would get a boost in wages if we raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. Almost two-thirds of these veterans are over the age of 40. Nobody should be paid wages so low that working full-time can still leave them in poverty, and that includes many former members of our Armed Forces.
Expand Health Care To Low-Income Residents. There are over a quarter million uninsured veterans in states that are currently refusing to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. That’s just wrong. (While many people assume that all veterans have health benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, as of 2013 only two-thirds were eligible and just one-third were enrolled).
Implement The Common Core. The average military family moves to six different states, and each state offers a separate set of academic standards for military children to follow. When relocating to one state, a child may be way ahead of her grade level; in another, she might be far behind. Having a high-quality, unified set of standards like the Common Core State Standards provide will help military families with transitions and ensure our nation’s economy and military remain strong.
Expand Background Checks For Gun Buyers. Veterans are some of our nation’s foremost experts on guns, what they can do in the hands of trained, responsible people, and how they can be used in the hands of those who want to do us harm. The massive loopholes in our gun background check system allow criminals, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people to easily access guns. Expanding background checks to all gun sales goes hand in hand with strengthening our second amendment by helping keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Pass The Employment Non-Discrimination Act. There are over one million LGBT veterans and almost 50,000 more currently serving. Since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, members of the military can serve with honesty and integrity and without the fear of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the same fair treatment does not exist in the civilian sector. ENDA would go a long way to solve that problem and could also also significantly curtail high rates of veteran unemployment.
BOTTOM LINE: As a nation, we should pride ourselves on doing everything we can to make sure that citizens who sacrifice to protect our security and freedom are able to live healthy and secure lives back home. These are just a few of the many steps that we should take to get to that point for veterans, and create a more prosperous country for everyone.
PS: The allegations of long wait times and secret waiting lists at the Phoenix VA hospital is a serious concern and must be addressed immediately. But we must also not lose sight of the VA system’s successes, as well as its steady improvement in recent years. Here are key facts to know.