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Politics Roundup: Deadline Day, Town Halls & More

Casey Morell

The Nevada Legislature has seven weeks left to finish its work.

And our representatives in Washington are on break back in Nevada talking to, or being yelled at, by voters.

On Friday, lawmakers had to get their bills in or see them disappear forever.

What's to come from the remaining parts of the session, and how is the congressional delegation being received back at home?

Discussion Highlights:Somebody who seems – at least from the outside observer's eyes – to have lost during the session is Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson. Bills he backed, ranging from reforming the Public Employees Retirement System, or PERS, to requiring drug tests to get public assistance, were spiked. He was majority leader two years ago. So, is any of this surprising?

“He’s getting treated pretty much the same way that he treated the democratic minority in 2015. However, Roberson is up to something else, I think. Roberson is running so far to the right that he’s leaving people like [State Senator] Don Gustavson R-Dist. 14 behind. He is done everything he can to show that he is real conservative after losing in a primary by Danny Tarkanian running to the right of him for Congress in District 3 last time.”

“These bills that you just mentioned were never going to go anywhere in a Democratic legislature but they will appear in Michael Roberson mailers for whatever he decides to run for next.”

Didn’t the Democrats do the same thing with some bills?

“But to their credit the Democrats, as the Republicans did in 2015, but it’s more of an imperative for the Democrats they killed a bunch of those bills that had no chance of getting Sandoval’s signature at the committee deadline on Friday.”

“Sure, they’re posturing for 2018, but they also want to make sure that the governor doesn’t willy-nilly veto a bunch of bills. So, they’ll try to deal with him, at least I think they will on some of their more important issues things they really want to get passed”

What are some of the bills the Democrats really want to be passed?

“I think both the assembly and senate Democratic leaders, Senator [Aaron] Ford and Speaker [Jason] Frierson both are very interested in Justice System reform and I think the governor is to and I think there might be a meeting of the minds there whether it’s on restoration of felon rights or some other issues”

 “I think there will be some bills, whether it’s a half a dozen or 10 or some, that they know that the governor will veto but that they feel that they have to stand up for - that it’s who they are - that they will send to him.”

There's another story making some news – Nevada's Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske says she has some evidence of voter fraud in the state. Specifically, she says noncitizens may have voted in 2016. But Gov. Brian Sandoval says if that evidence exists, he sure hasn't seen it. Same with Joe Gloria, the registrar of voters in Clark County. What's going on with this case?

“Were there two people who voted illegally? Were there 200? Were there 2,000? We have no idea. Why the would do this under such a cloak of secrecy. Make an announcement like this but not say whether this was pervasive, whether it was just one or two people who slipped through – we don’t know. But now you have people jumping on it from both sides. Some Republican legislators, including State Senator Ben Kieckhefer R-Dist. 16 put out an ‘Aha! We were right,’ kind of Facebook post. You have the left saying ‘oh, she is obviously – meaning the Secretary of State – a captive of the Trump administration.’”

“Maybe they need to protect the integrity of the investigation, but if they do they shouldn’t have said anything in the first place”

The legislative session is a little over halfway done who has emerged as the leaders in your eyes?

“I think the three freshman women in the Senate have really impressed me as much as any trio in a long time. That’s Julia Ratti D -Dist. 13 from Northern Nevada, who is a complete policy wonk and is able to dissect lobbyist arguments when they come before her committee. And she has proposed a potential fix to a property tax problem that both sides are going to embrace.

Nicole Cannizzaro D-Dist.6, who defeated Victoria Seaman, has been taking a much lower profile but some of her questions in the judiciary committee have been very, very pointed. She is a very thoughtful person and she also has the prosecutor bona fides, which helps her appeal to the tough-on-crime set on the other side.

And someone I think you’ve had on before, Yvanna Cancela D-Dist. 10, who is the Culinary Union’s former political director – it is hard to call her a rookie because she’s been around politics – but she has been fearless in taking on the immigration issue and now the pharmaceutical lobbyist. She has impressed a lot of people with her work ethic and her dedication to very, very difficult and politically sensitive issues”



Jon Ralston, editor and founder, The Nevada Independent

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Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)