Elections Have Consequences—The 2015 Republican Agenda

—by Rich Dunn, RNDC 2nd Vice Chairman

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:

  1. Disenfranchise all voters without photo ID’s.
  2. Repeal the Modified Business Tax, the 1.17% payroll tax that only applies to businesses with more than $62,500 in quarterly wages.
  3. 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.
  4. Allow a one-third minority to veto ballot tax measures, just as they can now in the legislature.
  5. Allow concealed firearms on school and college campuses.
  6. Nullify all local gun control laws.
  7. 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.
  8. Eviscerate construction defect and product defect laws.
  9. Transfer the cost of Medicaid expansion from the government to the beneficiaries.
  10. Require proof of insurance for issuance of driver privilege cards.
  11. 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.
  12. Restrict Millennium Scholarships to citizens and documented aliens (dream on, dreamers).
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Eliminate “prevailing wage” requirements for public works and school construction to depress construction wages and put union contractors at a competitive disadvantage.
  18. Resurrect the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project.
  19. Further weaken collective bargaining rights for public sector employees.
  20. Repeal the state minimum wage.
  21. Put limits on the pay of constitutional officers and their chiefs of staff.
  22. Subject confidential public employee union contract negotiations to the Open Meeting Law.
  23. Repeal Common Core education standards.
  24. Further deregulate home schooling.

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Gun Control. Whoop Dee Doo!

When John Oliver went to Australia to confront the charlatans claiming to have effectively regulated guns, he quickly discovered that maybe some of the arguments from American anti-gun-control groups were flawed. All the arguments, to be more specific. Skip to 3:58 for my favorite logical extension of why gun control is futile.

Watch part two and part three in the gun control series starring the hilarious John Oliver.

GOP: “Just Enforce Existing Laws”

Really?  And just exactly which laws might that be?

  • Gun Show laws that allow people who are listed on the terrorist “No Fly List” to go to a gun show and buy as many guns as they want as an entirely legal transactions?
  • Gun Show laws that allow someone convicted of armed robbery to buy, without a background check, as many guns as they want from a gun show.

Most people think the background check law for gun sales already cover these types of sales and that you already have to undergo a background check when buying a gun at a gun show.  That’s smply NOT the case, and merely enforcing existing laws will do absolutely nothing to close that 40% of gun sales loophole for criminals, the insane and even terrorists who seek to obtain some serious firepower to reek havoc on the peoples of our nation. Check out the clip above to see Colbert respond to extreme gun rights defenders.

Two different polls by two different polling firms found 86% of Nevadans support closing these background check loopholes. That level of support is rare for any policy issue, let alone on something purportedly controversial like guns, but we see it on background checks because both conservatives and progressives know it’s the right thing to do. But to make a difference you have to act now.

Take-Action

No Progress on Gun Control to Report

Gun lobbies have our legislature of cowardly lions in their teeth.

Donald Kaul— by Donald Kaul

Yes, I know I said I wasn’t going to write any more columns on gun control, largely because the exercise is (a) futile, (b) a waste of time, and (c) unproductive.

  • But with Congress taking up the issue again and Washington awash with hypocrisy amid rumors of progress, it is a time that cries out for comment.

Progress? Seriously? The Senate has agreed to debate the issue. That’s the progress?

That’s pathetic!

The gun lobbies have our legislature of cowardly lions in their teeth and are shaking them like ragdolls. God, it must be awful to be a politician, particularly a Republican, these days — afraid of your own shadow, being forced by bullying lobbyists to stand there and smile while they shove beans up your nose.

Our government has reached a stage of dysfunction not seen since the 1850s, when Congress was guiding us toward civil war.

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When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union followed suit, we became the most powerful nation on earth, virtually unchallenged in our supremacy.

And how did we use that power? To become stupid. We gave ourselves over to greed, jingoistic militarism, and anti-intellectualism. Now, far from being the most powerful nation on earth, we’re unable to do anything.

We can’t regulate gun sales, we can’t do anything about unemployment, we can’t even decide whether to pay our bills. And as far as building roads and bridges, investing in our kids, providing people with health care…fuhgeddaboudit.

There was a time, not so long ago, when you could say “People shouldn’t be allowed to own machine guns” and not start a riot over what constitutes a machine gun. You could say “People should be required to obtain licenses in order to own a gun” and get nods of encouragement rather than abusive mail.

No more. We’re paralyzed by the ersatz arguments you’re hearing from the Senate right now.

My least favorite among them is the “Cars kill a lot more people than guns. Are you going to ban those too?”

No, we’ll simply continue to license them and make people pass a test before they can use them — as we should be doing with guns.

My second-least favorite argument: The mythical little old lady who would be left defenseless before an intruder climbing in through her bedroom window. Do we want to leave her to her fate?

No, but she’s an unusual little old lady indeed if she shoots the miscreant with an AK-47. Say “assault weapons ban” to a gun nut and he or she immediately switches the debate to handguns.

Not that handguns are all they’re cracked up to be.

Joe Nocera of The New York Times publishes a “gun report” on his blog, each day listing the previous day’s shootings throughout the nation.

A six-year-old boy is shot to death by his four-year-old neighbor in New Jersey, a three-year-old in South Carolina finds a gun in his home and manages to kill himself, a 20-year-old shoots and kills his sister’s boyfriend while showing him a gun, a 44-year-old man is fatally shot by his son while sitting on his front porch in Texas, a 21-year-old shoots his five-month-old son with a rifle in Utah, a 13-year-old is executed gangland style by a bullet in the back of the head in Texas. On and on it goes, children shooting their parents, parents their children, innocent bystanders cut down by crossfire, suicides, murders, accidents…all in the name of the right to bear arms.

Very, very, very few anybodies who shoot intruders coming through their windows are mentioned. And none of those intruders use assault rifles.


OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. OtherWords.org

Related Post:

Joe Nocera’s Daily “Gun Report”

Our Biggest Terrorist Threat

Senate inaction on guns was inexcusable in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.

— by Marc Morial

Marc Morial

Acts of terror like the ones committed at the Boston Marathon are reprehensible and lack moral or logical explanation. They rock us to our core.

They also unite us in common purpose. Victims and their families seem to become our own loved ones. We want to ease their pain. We want to do something to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Our togetherness as a nation is often most evident when something happens that’s meant to break us.

Nearly 12 years after the 9/11 attacks, terrorism in our homeland still seems a nearly impossible reality — one that none of us want to accept. Still, communities across America are terrorized each day. But rarely do these victims and their families receive national media attention, or better yet, our collective attention.

Every year, 100,000 people are shot or killed with a gun in America. Every day, these acts of terror are carried out in homes, on playgrounds, schoolyards, neighborhood streets, even in houses of worship — turning spaces that should represent peace and sanctuary into places that elicit danger and fear.

Just two days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the Senate had an opportunity to curb another kind of terror facing our nation by taking modest steps toward keeping guns out of the wrong hands. Yet, it voted down a sensible gun background check bill. Never mind that 90 percent of Americans and 74 percent of National Rifle Association members support universal background checks. It didn’t even matter that a majority of senators (54-46) actually voted in favor of the bill. Because of the Senate’s 60-vote majority rule, along with the distortions and political threats from NRA leaders, the bill went down in defeat.

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President Barack Obama called it “a shameful day in Washington.” Former lawmaker and gun violence survivor, Gabrielle Giffords, added, “I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep our children safe.”

We share her determination. Whether in Newtown or scores of other communities across the nation, one point is clear: Guns in the wrong hands can be weapons of mass destruction as deadly as a terrorist’s bomb.

Where, we wonder, is the unified purpose in Congress to work toward firearm safety to address the reign of gun-related terror devastating so many of our neighborhoods?

Let’s be clear: This issue is not about gun confiscation, nor is it an attack on anyone’s rights. We know that this step is not a cure-all for the plague of gun violence in America. But, it is at least a first step towards doing all we can to ensure the safety of our citizens.

The city of Boston and its people deserve all the support and attention they have received in the wake of this horrific tragedy. I just hope that we can elevate our sense of unity, urgency and purpose to do what is right for the countless of Americans whose lives have been ended or forever changed by gun violence. Let’s not forget, in addition to killing with homemade bombs, the Boston terrorists also used guns in killing MIT police officer Sean Collier and seriously wounding Massachusetts Bay transit officer Richard H. Donohue.

As we pray for the dead, the wounded survivors, and their loved ones, we urge the nation to unite against terror — including gun violence — everywhere. We must all heed the words of eight-year-old Martin Richard, the boy who perished in the Boston Marathon bombing: “No more hurting people. Peace.”


Marc Morial is the president and CEO of the National Urban League and the former mayor of New Orleans. www.nul.org  Distributed via OtherWords (OtherWords.org)