Why It’s Important to Vote in Mid-Term Elections!

I don’t know what Sen. Dean Heller has done (or not done) in Washington, but clearly, he’s not just disliked at home in Nevada. On Sunday’s 60 Minutes, Breitbart’s Steve Bannon let the world know that he has put Heller first and foremost on his “Enemies List” pretty much making him the #1 most vulnerable Senator in the 2018 race for re-election.

While a number of Democrats are considering a run for the seat, including Rep. Dina Titus and Rep. Jacky Rosen, Nevada’s perennial candidate, Danny Tarkanian has stepped up to the plate yet again.  If anything, Tarkanian has proven yet again WHY it’s important that every single Democrat makes it to the polls in 2018 to vote for someone who will actually represent Nevadans, not every whim of President Trump.

He appeared on “The Beat with Ari Melber” on MSNBC on Monday, 9/11/2017.  Take a moment to watch his performance.  I don’t know about you, but that’s NOT who I want representing my interests in the U.S. Senate:

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EMILY’s List Endorses Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate in Nevada

emilyslistWASHINGTON, D.C. – April 16, 2015

Today, EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate in Nevada.

“Catherine Cortez Masto is an experienced leader who will be a champion for Nevada women and families in the U.S. Senate,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock. “Catherine is a dedicated public servant with a record of working to make communities safer, prevent violence against women, and increase educational opportunities so that all Nevadans have a fair shot. She is poised to make history as the first Latina ever elected to the U.S. Senate and as the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Nevada. The EMILY’s List community of more than three million members is proud to endorse Catherine Cortez Masto’s campaign to keep Nevada moving forward and excited to help her make history.”

Born in Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto has deep roots in the Silver State. Serving for eight years as her state’s attorney general, she worked to keep Nevada communities safe, strengthening state laws to prevent domestic violence and protecting middle-class families from fraudulent mortgage schemes and predatory lenders. Before she was elected to serve as Nevada’s chief law enforcement officer, Catherine served as the assistant county manager for Clark County and was a federal criminal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington. She’s dedicated her career to fighting for women, middle-class families, and hardworking Nevadans looking for a fair shot.

When Catherine is elected, she’ll be the first woman Nevada has ever elected to the Senate—and the first Latina senator in U.S. history. With a strong belief in the power of women’s leadership, Catherine has said that women “bring a different and much-needed perspective to the table. Nevada could benefit from more women in leadership roles and so could our country.”


EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research women’s issues, and turn out women voters. We’ve trained over 9,000 women to run and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 11 governors, and over 700 to state and local office. Since its founding in 1985, almost one-third of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color – including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic Congresswoman currently serving.

Legislative Bill Tracking 101

— by Marla Turner, NSDP Secretary

With the new Congress sworn in and the Nevada Legislature set to start on February 4th, it’s a good time to refresh ourselves on how bills become law and how we can track their progress. At both the federal and state levels, the process of getting a bill signed into law is a complex one.

To start, you’ll want to set up your online legislative accounts and take some time to review the bill drafts that have been submitted. Then you can decide on which bills you want to track. When finished, you will receive email notifications about what’s happening to the items you’re interested in. This will help you determine which legislators you want to contact and when.

How a Bill Becomes Law
Federal – Every few years, the U,.S. government prints an updated version of “How Our Laws Are Made.” The 2007 version is a bit formal so you may wish to check out U.S. Government Info’s more concise version instead.

NevadaThe 2011 Legislative Manual describes in great detail how a bill works its way through the legislature.

Bill Drafts
The majority of Nevada’s bill draft requests (BDRs) have already been submitted. Each Assembly representative and Senator may submit a few more BDRs through the 8th day of Session and Standing Committees have until the 15th day of Session.
How to Track Bills
Congress
To follow the status of all Congressional bills and their incarnations, visit the Thomas Library. You can also track bills at GovTrack.US.  You can also track and send comments about various bills using POPvox. To be able to send comments regarding a bill being considered by congress, you’ll either need to register for a log-in or use a social media account to log into POPvox.  It does, however, come in handy to view what other people, groups, corporations are saying about any particular bill.

House of Representatives
Visit the Document Repository to see the bills waiting to be considered on the House floor.  You can also check roll call votes, status of  “discharge petitions,”  bill summaries and their status, bill text, and bills that have been passed into law at the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Senate
Track all Senate legislation, nominations, and votes here.

NV Legislature

  • Check out NELIS to get info on all the bills, committees and budget activity.

Tips for Contacting Your Legislator

There will be times when you want to let your elected officials know how you feel about a certain issue. It’s important to be judicious about this because you want to be as effective as possible. Think about which issues are truly important to you: if you contact your legislator about every issue all the time, you will not be taken seriously.

Here’s a list of helping Dos and Don’ts for contacting your legislator. Thank you to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel for reviewing the following list and making some helpful suggestions.

DO…..

  • Be respectful and courteous. There are plenty of ways to adequately communicate your feelings on a subject without resorting to personal attacks or profanity.
  • Let them know if you are their constituent. As the session moves along, they will hear from more and more people. Those who are their constituents will get top priority.
  • If you are referring to a specific piece of pending legislation, cite both number and title.
  • Do your homework. Know your subject matter. You do not need to be an expert, just a reasonably informed and concerned citizen.
  • Tell your own personal story about why the issue is important to you. Make it a story they can repeat.
  • Be clear and concise.
  • Keep your comments short. No one wants to read a whole page or more of single spaced diatribe.
  • Offer to get more involved (such as testifying at an appropriate hearing).Let them know you will help them.
  • Leave or send written materials that back up your position if possible.
  • Do the ASK. (1): Request their commitment to your philosophy. (2): Ask for a direct response.
  • Give your contact information so they can get back to you.
  • If meeting with them in person, send a written thank-you note for their time.
  • And remember to THANK THEM if they vote or act how you want them to. .

Remember, it is up to you to educate your legislator about why you support or object to certain legislation. Think of yourself as a kind of consultant: you have insights that will help the legislator better understand the ramifications of a bill or issue, so tell them how it will impact you in real, personal terms.

DON’T…..

  • Use a form letter. That defeats the purpose of all of the above.
  • Contact a legislator at odd hours and times – legislators are human and they need their sleep and family time.
  • Corner them at inappropriate times – church, dinner, at a red light, etc.
  • Address them incorrectly. Know their titles and use them accordingly. A U.S. Senator is not Mrs. Smith, but the Honorable Senator Smith.
  • Discuss multiple issues at the same time.
  • Guess or bluff the answer to a question if you don’t know. You will lose all credibility. Tell them honestly that you don’t know – but that you’ll find out and will get back to them. And then do it. Get back to them.
  • Cite references that you haven’t seen, don’t have tangible documentation, or that you have no first-hand knowledge of.
  • Be confrontational or threaten them in any way.
  • Burn your bridges with a legislator. While they may not support you today, you may need them tomorrow.

Happy legislating!

Harry — Fix the Filibuster on Day One

On November 6th, Democrats achieved a stunning victory, but all of that will be for naught if the Senate filibuster is allowed to remain in place.  Republican obstructionists will continue to use it to “rule by the minority” and obstruct everything for at least the next 2 years, continuing to hope that they can take the Senate and hold the House.

As each session of Congress begins, one of the first items of business is to adopt a set of rules that will be used to conduct business during that session of Congress.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to finally stand up and find the intestinal fortitude to END THE FILIBUSTER.  It takes only 51 votes to adopt the rules, and we’ve given him 53 Democratic Senators and 2 Independent Senators who will caucus with the Democrats.  So, Harry, it’s time, end it!

Oh, and while you’re at it Harry, either END SECRET HOLDS or limit the amount of time a Senator may place such a hold to no more than 3 business days and that no more that 3 successive holds may be exercised on ANY bill.  ( I suggest 3 business days because the GOP seems quite fond of the 3-day rule by which administrators at regulatory agencies must be required to take action. So if it’s good enough to require that for them, hey, it’s good enough for the Senate.)  The original intent of the secret hold was to provide sufficient time for the Senator exercising the hold to read and research the bill in question.  The GOP has abused that rule for partisan ideological gain and it has to stop. And, so we, as the interested public, can verify all are playing by the rules, how about creating a” transparency” web page listing the bills that have been held, the date the bill was “held,” and the date the hold was lifted.

Sen. Reid, YOU and you alone have an opportunity to put a stop to the obstruction in the Senate.  We’re counting on you to take action to stop it on DAY ONE of the 113th Congressional Session.

La Prensa Latina Newpaper Endorses Shelley Berkley

Las Vegas – Today, U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Berkley received the endorsement of La Prensa Latina, a Spanish-language newspaper in Las Vegas, that praised her long record of standing up for the Latino community in Nevada and said Senator Heller’s record on the issues important to Latino families in Nevada ismisguided and anti-middle class.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of La Prensa Latina newspaper,” said U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Berkley.  “I’ll continue to prioritize Latino working families across Nevada by fighting to create good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced, giving Nevada small businesses the tools to hire again, making sure a quality and affordable education is within reach for all families, and continuing to press for passage of the DREAM Act.”

“Due to her long track record of fighting for Latino working families across Nevada, we’re pleased to endorse Shelley Berkley to be the next U.S. Senator from Nevada,” said La Prensa Latina owner Maggie Hosseini.  “Whether it is voting for the DREAM Act, her support for comprehensive immigration reform, protecting funding for Pell grants that help make college more affordable, and working day and night to support our small businesses and create good-paying jobs, Latino families throughout Nevada need Shelley Berkley to keep fighting for us in the years to come in the U.S. Senate.  Shelley’s Republican opponent, Senator Dean Heller, is siding with special interests rather than standing up for hardworking Latino families in Nevada. He voted to gut college student aid and voted against legislation to keep thousands of teachers on the job and against the Small Business Jobs Act, which was praised by Governor Sandoval for helping create jobs in Nevada. Heller also opposed the DREAM Act, to help young Latino students and military service members stay in this country and earn a path to legal status and he said he wants to bring the discriminatory Arizona law to Nevada.  Latino families simply can’t afford Senator Heller’s misguided, anti-middle class priorities.”