Legal complaint: lobbyist submitted false testimony to aid in bill’s passage – Nevada Policy Research Institute

Legal complaint: lobbyist submitted false testimony to aid in bill’s passage

The Legislature cannot effectively serve the public if policy is being shaped based on outright falsehoods and misinformation, which is why it is illegal to knowingly submit false testimony before a legislative committee.

Nevada Policy has alerted Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Rick Combs and the attorney general’s office to what appears to be a clear violation of NRS 218E.085(2) — the state law that makes it a crime to knowingly misrepresent any fact when testifying before a legislative committee.

The false statements were made by lobbyist Marlene Lockard during the March 1, 2019 Senate Government Affairs Committee hearing on SB224 — the PERS secrecy bill.

Ms. Lockard appeared on behalf of the Retired Public Employees of Nevada (RPEN), and was featured as part of Senator Julia Ratti’s formal presentation for Senate Bill 224.

As part of this formal presentation, Ms. Lockard relied almost entirely on known falsehoods when explaining why the secrecy proposed by SB224 is ostensibly necessary.

Specifically, Lockard told the committee that passing SB224 was necessary because of a recent court order that allegedly requires PERS to disclose its members’ passports, addresses of ex-spouses, birth certificates and other similarly invasive information. In reality, no such court order exists and none of that information is, nor has it ever been, public under Nevada law.

Given the status bestowed upon her by Senator Ratti, Ms. Lockard’s demonstrably false comments were accorded extra weight. Indeed, the first time a member of the committee had a question about SB224, that question was posed to, and answered by, Ms. Lockard rather than the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ratti.

More information about that hearing can be found here.

Because the knowingly false statements were made specifically to justify the secrecy proposed by SB224, and were made by a paid lobbyist invited by the bill’s sponsor to help present the bill, they represent precisely the type of deception NRS 218E.085(2) was designed to prevent, according to NPRI Policy Director Robert Fellner.

“It is fine to have different policy views and argue those differences vigorously,” Fellner said. “But I think we all would agree that enacting law based on falsehoods and misinformation is wrong, and erodes confidence in our public institutions.”

“It is hard enough for ordinary Nevadans to be engaged with the legislative process thanks to the proliferation of tax-funded government lobbyists and other special-interest groups,” Fellner continued. “Requiring that citizens fact-check all of the claims made by those who help introduce bills is an impossible task, which is precisely why Nevada state law prohibits the making of knowingly false testimony before the Legislature.”

“NPRI has long fought for transparency in government,” Fellner added. “Nowhere is transparency more important than in the legislative process. We hope that legislators remember their duty to serve the public and ensure any bills brought on behalf of lobbyists are done so in an open and honest manner.”

A copy of the complaint can be viewed by clicking here.

Source: Legal complaint: lobbyist submitted false testimony to aid in bill's passage - Nevada Policy Research Institute




“One Nevada lawmaker’s journey from silence to action” does not mean it’s Good Law.

An April Fools day article by Colton Lochhead in the Las Vegas Review-Journal perhaps, by many, could be considered an Aprill Fools Prank if it were not so serious to everyone attending the joint Assembly-Senate hearing in Carson city on AB291, introduced this session by Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui.

The article, chronicles, Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui’s journey from Route 91 as a participant in the most horrific mass shooting in our countries history.  It was a horrific and tragic night for those that died, those that were injured, everyone who was there, their friends, their families and everyone else that learned of/or watched any of the media and images about the incident.

“Vegas Strong” became the mantra of everyone everywhere as victims, friends, families, neighbors, emergency personnel and everyone else that was touched by the incident, whether they were there or not.

Las Vegas Metro is still slowly releasing documentation from the incident over a year later.

I do not know anyone that was Not horribly impacted as a result of that event. However, what we do with those feelings and emotions is important too.

Writing and passing a law, that nowhere within its text, purpose or understanding, does one additional thing that could prevent such a horrific event from happening again in the future, is not productive use for all of our emotions of this incident.

Please don’t let all of these very real legitimate emotions cause us to do things that won’t help our community and in fact actually will complicate our lives.

“BumpStock”,  a legally acquired accessory for sport shooting, was part of what was used by the shooter that night.  Basically, a tool that lets the forces of the firing of the gun continue the firing via the shooter’s finger without the shooter squeezing the trigger over and over again.  Many believed that automatic weapon/s were being fired that night.

The device is scary to many people both as an observer and many as actual shooters also.  AB291 starts as a state law making “BumpStock” accessories illegal without clearly defining what they are and how they do it.

In spite of the fact that the Federal Government has already made these devices illegal through regulation that became effective just two weeks ago, there is no amendment to take this language out of the bill. This language is unnecessary and redundant in intention as the current federal law.  The vague and dangerous method of defining what was used has great potential to impact good honest citizens unintentionally.  This part of the bill has absolutely no additional benefit to the people of Nevada and their safety.

The next issue with the bill is not clear to anyone without a bit of knowledge about Nevada state gun law history.  Current Nevada laws referred to as preemptive are on the books that have removed the power of local government, cities, and counties, to make gun-related law or ordinances that are not codified in state law.

The reasons and intentions of the Nevada Legislature were very practical and important then as they are today. They made it so that the very mobile population and tourists could move about through the whole state and know that they are not accidentally violating gun laws when they move from city to city or county to county or between a city and unincorporated county.

The language above and beyond the unnecessary “BumpStock” related restrictions discussed above are intent on one purpose and one purpose only, to add more confusion and bureaucracy to the daily lives and gun laws of our state by removing the current preemptions.

I urge our state legislators to amend, removing such language before any consideration of the bill ab291.

Last but not least. a third aspect of the new law being put forth here is changing the Blood Alcohol Level restriction to be the same as they are in motor vehicle DUI laws, 0.08. The only aspect of this bill ab291 that has any practical credibility or value to the population of Nevada.

Selling this legislation to the people of Nevada as an effective hinderance above and beyond any of the currently enacted Federal Regulations on “BumpStocks”, is not only unjust, deceiving and purely unethical, but dishonors everyone that was killed, injured or impacted by the events of 1 October.


Autopsy Results – Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, died of heart attack

Brothel owner Dennis Hof, who won a Nevada Assembly seat after his October death, died of a heart attack, according to his autopsy.

Hof, 72, suffered a heart attack due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, the Clark County coroner’s office report said. Other significant conditions in his death included diabetes and obesity.

Hof also had marijuana chemical compound THC and sildenafil, which can treat erectile dysfunction, in his system at the time of his death, the report said.

The autopsy was released by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon, several months after his Oct. 16 death.

In November, Hof won a seat representing District 36 in the Nevada Assembly.

Source: Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, died of heart attack


Editorial: Same-day voter registration invites fraud

 

Progressives are always clamoring to make it easier to vote. To that end Democratic state Sen. James Ohrenschall of Las Vegas has introduced Senate Bill 123 that, among other things, would allow people to register to vote on Election Day.

“The purpose of SB123 is to make it more feasible for people to be part of the government of ourselves, by making it easier to register to vote, and offer a few more options to vote during the early voting period,” Ohrenschall said during a recent hearing on his bill, according to The Nevada Independent.

Election officials testified that the bill will cost millions of dollars to implement and take years to adequately change the system to comply.

Additionally, Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria warned, “If same-day registration process is handled with a paper form, other than signing an affidavit affirming that the voter has not already voted in the election, there can be no guarantee that the voter has not registered to vote at another location on Election Day. Not until after the election will clerks have the ability to identify that the voter has not voted at another site, which is problematic.”

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, calls same-day voter registration a prescription for fraud and says it does almost nothing to increase voter participation.

“Allowing a voter to both register and vote on Election Day makes it nearly impossible to prevent duplicate votes in different areas or to verify the accuracy of any information provided by a voter,” von Spakovsky writes. “Election officials are unable to check the authenticity of a registration or the eligibility and qualifications of a registrant by comparing the registration information to other state and federal databases that provide information not just on identity, but also on citizenship status and whether the individual in question is a felon whose voting rights have been suspended. Since Election Day registrants cast a regular ballot, even if election officials determine that the registration was invalid after the election, they have no means of discounting the ballot.”

He notes that Wisconsin allows same-day registration and after a comprehensive investigation of voter fraud in the 2004 election, the Milwaukee Police Department concluded that the “one thing that could eliminate a large percentage of fraud or the appearance of fraudulent voting in any given Election is the elimination of the On-Site or Same-Day voter registration system.”

Von Spakovsky also points out that Oregon dumped its same-day registration law after a cult tried to take over a county by planning to bring in large numbers of nonresidents, many of them homeless, to flood the polls with ineligible voters.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said at a Heritage Foundation meeting in 2013 that voters can make up names and addresses and go from poll to poll to vote, and there is no automated system that can stop such nefarious deeds.

While Election Day registration invites fraud, it does little to actually increase turnout.

In 2008, according to von Spakovsky, four of the eight states with same-day registration reported lower turnout than in 2004. The state with the largest decrease in turnout in 2008 was Maine, which also has Election Day registration.

“It has always been abundantly clear that, after four decades of making it easier to vote and having turnout decline (among most groups) except for elections driven by fear and anger,” wrote Curtis Gans of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate in 2008, “the central issue governing turnout is not procedure but motivation. These new procedures, except for Election Day registration for some states, don’t help turnout and pose some discrete dangers for American democracy.”

In Nevada one can already register online or at the DMV or any county elections office.

The risks of fraud due to Election Day registration far outweigh any convenience for those too lazy or disinterested to register to vote by the deadline before each election.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: Same-day voter registration invites fraud


Editorial: No need for murky water law changes

 

Two bills proposing to alter water use policy are pending in the Nevada Legislature. They are at best problematic.

Assembly Bill 30 appears to give the state engineer greater leeway in the use of monitoring, management and mitigations — known in the jargon as 3M — to resolve conflicts in water rights. The language is rather vague and subject to interpretation.

Assembly Bill 51 appears to give the state engineer more flexibility in what is called conjunctive management of water. While current law treats surface water and groundwater as interchangeable in a basin in the scheme of allocations, AB51 tells the state engineer to adopt regulations that mitigate conflicts between the two water sources.

Nevada water law is based on the concept of prior authorization, in other words the first one to use a water resource has priority or senior water rights. Those who come later, if there is enough water available, have junior rights that must yield to the senior rights if supply becomes inadequate for any reason.

The Great Basin Water Network, an organization that has been fighting attempts for years by the Las Vegas Valley water provider to tap groundwater in eastern Nevada basins, suspects these two bills are intended to give the state engineer the flexibility needed to allow the project to reach fruition.

GBWN says the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s $15 billion groundwater importation plan would pump 58 billion gallons of groundwater annually in a 300-mile pipeline to Las Vegas. They say the Bureau of Land Management has estimated the project would irreparably harm 305 springs, 112 miles of streams, 8,000 acres of wetlands, and 191,000 acres of shrub land habitat.

A federal judge has so far blocked the water grab from Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys, saying the state engineer failed to establish any objective criteria for when mitigation — such as halting pumping — would have to be initiated. The engineer plans to appeal that ruling, but a change in state law could moot that.

GBWN questions the effectiveness of the two bills’ calls for monetary compensation and water replacement to make whole senior water rights owners.

Abby Johnson, GBWN’s president, says in an op-ed she has penned for area newspapers, “From ranchers to environmentalists, there is a consensus that we don’t need to fix what isn’t broken. Nevada water law has served Nevadans well for more than 100 years and continues to serve the public interest. That success, however, has stymied a select few.”

The select few, Johnson says, include real estate developers and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which has “not had much luck in recent years getting what they want under the current legal and regulatory framework. Why? Because what they want is to facilitate unsustainable over-pumping of the state’s fragile, limited groundwater resources.”

She adds, “ The problem –– for all of us –– is that they want water that either doesn’t exist or already belongs to someone else.”

Johnson further charges that the change in law would grant the state engineer “czar-like powers to unilaterally choose winners and losers without regard to senior water rights holders’ existing property rights … which would mire Nevada water rights owners and the state government in complex and unpredictable litigation for years.”

Assemblyman John Ellison of Elko released a statement saying the bills would constitute an unconstitutional “taking” of water rights and said a recent hearing saw a consensus of opposition from industry, ranchers and farmers and not one person testifying in support of either bill.

“We cannot allow an unelected bureaucrat to wield this much power over one of our state’s most precious resources. I’m reminded of the famous Mark Twain quote, ‘Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.’” Ellison said. “I will never stop fighting for the rights of senior property rights owners in my district and throughout Nevada.”

Though Twain probably never said that, it sounds like something he would say and is apropos to the current situation. AB 30 and AB51 need to be sent down the drain.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: No need for murky water law changes