See you in court, governor

by Thomas Mitchell

So, the governor is confident that the extension of the modified business tax rate will withstand a legal challenge, according to both the Las Vegas newspaper and the online Nevada Independent.

“We’ve got legal opinion from LCB (Legislative Counsel Bureau) that, you know, a simple majority is what’s needed,” Gov. State Sisolak was quoted as saying Tuesday. “I’ve been in government for 20 some-odd years, and if you don’t trust your attorneys, you’ve got a problem. So I’m confident that the attorneys gave us a good opinion. We’ll move forward from there.”

Be prepared to move back, governor, by nearly $100 million in your budget for the next two years — the budget that promises 5 percent raises for teachers.

Republicans have promised a legal challenge if the business tax was extended without a two-thirds majority of both houses as prescribed by the Constitution. The tax extension passed the Senate on a party line vote of 13-8, one vote shy of two-thirds.

Voters in 1994 and 1996 amended the Nevada Constitution to state “an affirmative vote of not fewer than two-thirds of the members elected to each House is necessary to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates, or increases any public revenue in any form, including but not limited to taxes, fees, assessments and rates, or changes in the computation bases for taxes, fees, assessments and rates.”

The modified business tax passed in 2015 by a two-thirds vote of lawmakers contained specific language saying the rates would be reduced in 2019 if tax revenues exceeded a certain level, which they have.

But the compliant LCB told the majority Democratic lawmakers and the Democratic governor, “It is the opinion of this office that Nevada’s two-thirds majority requirement does not apply to a bill which extends until a later date or revises or eliminates a future decrease in or future expiration of existing state taxes when that future decrease or expiration is not legally operative and binding yet, because such a bill does not change but maintains the existing computation bases currently in effect for the existing state taxes.”

The bill clearly “generates” revenue that two-thirds of the lawmakers in 2015 said would decrease as of July 1, 2019.

The state Constitution is not something to tamper with. Republicans should take it to court and make the Democrats abide by the rules, even if it means a special session would have to called. In fact, the GOP lawmakers should go directly to the state Supreme Court for an opinion that would binding, unlike the LCB opinion “that future decrease or expiration is not legally operative and binding yet …”

Asked nearly the same question in 2011, 2013 and 2015, the LCB said a two-thirds vote was necessary. So, governor, when do you trust your attorneys?

Gov. Steve Sisolak, right, talks to reporters about legislative session. (R-J pix)

Source: See you in court, governor

WESTERN WATER: Judge on landowners’ plight: ‘I won’t say the word “screwed”‘

Ellen M. Gilmer, E&E News reporterPublished: Wednesday, May 8, 2019

There, government lawyers urged the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to toss a lawsuit from Nevada landowners who say a federal restoration project stole their water and flooded their land.

At issue is Patch of Heaven, a Christian camp on private land nestled within the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

The Nevada church Ministerio Roca Solida bought the 40-acre site in 2006 for $500,000. At the time, a stream called the Carson Slough flowed across the property, feeding plants and a small pond and sometimes serving as a site for baptisms.

In 2010, the Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages all of the surrounding land, rerouted the channel in a restoration project to help the Ash Meadows speckled dace, an endangered fish that lives in the area’s warm springs.

Annette and Victor Fuentes, who own Ministerio Roca Solida, say the government owes them compensation for eliminating the stream from their property — except for a trickle of water the site claimed through a state permit — and rerouting it in a way that causes repeated flooding on another part of the parcel.

The couple teamed up with the conservative Mountain States Legal Foundation and attracted the support of Westerners opposed to federal land management, including the Bundy ranching family infamous for its conflicts with government agencies.

Speaking at a boisterous rally at Patch of Heaven last year, Ryan Bundy offered to demolish the FWS project himself (Greenwire, April 23, 2018).

The mood was decidedly tamer during yesterday’s hearing, where just five spectators — including one reporter and one court employee — listened to more than two hours of technical arguments involving property rights, water law and hydrology.

Judge Elaine Kaplan must decide whether to grant the government’s motion for summary judgment rather than allowing the case to proceed to trial.

The church’s claims are twofold: that the government’s elimination of streamflow on the land without payment amounted to an unconstitutional taking of vested water rights, and that the diversion project’s contribution to flooding was also a taking.

Justice Department lawyers yesterday disputed both claims. The government contends the landowners are not entitled to the water rights they claim, and, in any case, that issue should be adjudicated by the state of Nevada, not the Federal Claims court.

The two lawyers from DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division also attempted to poke holes in the Fuenteses’ flooding claims, dismissing the plaintiffs’ expert testimony as unsubstantiated and noting that the broader area is prone to flooding.

“Plaintiffs would like this court to believe … that there was never flooding on that part of the property,” DOJ attorney Davené Walker said, adding that the area is part of a flood zone and has a well-documented history of such events.

Walker explained that to win a takings claim against the government for flooding, the plaintiff must show that FWS caused the flooding and intended or expected it to happen. Ministerio Roca Solida has offered no evidence to support either prong, she said.

Mountain States Legal Foundation lawyer Zhonette Brown, in turn, questioned the evidence presented by the government.

Kaplan, an Obama appointee, agreed with the government that Ministerio Roca Solida’s expert testimony appeared “a little thin,” but she questioned whether it would be appropriate to resolve the case in favor of the United States at this stage, without allowing the church to make its case at trial.

She also empathized with the Fuenteses on their loss of the stream, regardless of whether FWS’s project was lawful.

“I won’t say the word ‘screwed,'” she said of the landowners, eventually landing on the word “injured.”

The judge added that she’s never heard a water rights case or a flooding case before and will need some time to consider the competing evidence.

“Your Honor’s more than welcome to come out to the property,” Brown said, “so you can make your own conclusion.”

Dried-up baptimisal pool. Photo credit: Jennifer Yachnin/E&E News
The former baptismal pool at the Patch of Heaven camp in Amargosa Valley, Nev. A “legal evidence” sign refers to the camp’s owners’ lawsuit with the Fish and Wildlife Service over diverted streams and flooding. Jennifer Yachnin/E&E News

Source

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Nevada officials work to fight sovereign citizens movement

Editors Comment:  Identity Politics?  Because of a group of people being involved or participating in an event does not make the event about that group.
This article misrepresents many constitutionalist and every day, people as members of a Sovereign Movement. The particular type of activities that this bill is trying to make criminal are related to the Common Law movement and involves self-proclaimed Common Law Grand Jurys and Judges.  It also addresses documents created and used from or by these entities.
Most self-identifying Sovereign Citizens, are not about creating, filing or using common law legal documents as if they are real. They are about just being a free person and believing that the Federal Government has abandoned the constitution and its original intent.   
Because many people who also have similar feelings that do not self proclaim this and comply with laws and government regulations are being identified as something they are not.
Identity Politics are the new civil rights issue of this century. It promotes prejudice and discrimination by grouping people as if they are members of Identity-based groups that they are not, based only on the fact that they have participated in political or social events where there were people that are also participating.
This is and will continue to be the number one cause of division and decent in the next decade unless we as a society can stand up unnormalize this attitude and behavior.
It is my personal belief that the issue of the creation and use of documents as if they mean the same thing as one produced and filed via a legally recognized court of law is wrong and should have legal consequences for those trying to use them.
I believe that if we are to restore our constitution to our republic we must do it within the system that is currently in place.  It will be hard but it can be done with appropriate persistence.
 

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

CARSON CITY — The loosely affiliated anti-government extremists known commonly as sovereign citizens are the “largest terroristic threat” facing Nevada, according to Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford.

From the Bundy standoff to a plot to kidnap and execute a police officer, law enforcement in Southern Nevada is no stranger to dealing with those who follow the sovereign citizens’ ideology: They don’t believe in federal or state laws, paying taxes, often espouse hatred of police and elected officials — all factors that have led the FBI to deem those in the movement domestic terrorists.

In Clark County alone, there are roughly 500 people who the Metropolitan Police Department says are affiliated with the movement, Detective Ken Mead said Thursday while presenting a bill under consideration by the Legislature that would give law enforcement more tools to prosecute sovereign citizens.

Aaron Ford speaks to the Review-Journal's reader panel about his platform going into the 2018 midterm elections in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal @carolinebrehman

And interactions between police and those within the movement are becoming increasingly contentious, Mead said.

“I can confidently say that we have seen an increase in this in the last eight years with their level of activity, their level of aggressiveness,” said Mead, who has spent the last eight years working on domestic terrorism matters for the department while assigned to the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center.

Mead has seen those increases from both a professional level and a personal one.

During an investigation into a scam targeting the elderly in Nevada, Mead became the target himself of a common tactic used by sovereign citizens. They began filing fake court documents in the case from a nonexistent court, claiming that the police officers who made the arrest were in contempt of the court they created, and ordered them to pay $500.

Those filings got more threatening over time. The $500 demand became $1,000. The group started issuing fake indictments and arrest warrants against the officers and prosecutors in the case. Eventually those documents claimed that Mead and his peers were engaged in treasonous activity and “the penalty for treason was death,” Mead said.

The documents could seem real to the untrained eye, Mead said, with official-looking stamps and raised seals.

Then those documents started showing up at his house, and he soon realized that those same people were watching his home, which caused him to have to take “alternative measures” to protect himself and his family, Mead said.

That’s where the bill up for discussion Thursday, Assembly Bill 15 — proposed by the attorney general’s office — comes in.

[pdf-embedder url="http://birdpuk.com/wp-content/uploads/securepdfs/2019/05/AB15_R1.pdf"]

The seriousness of the threat posed by sovereign citizens came to Ford’s attention last spring while attending a law enforcement summit in Mesquite hosted by then-Attorney General Adam Laxalt. It was there that Ford was told by local and federal law enforcement that “the largest terroristic threat here in our state is sovereign citizens.”

AB15 goes after one of sovereign citizens’ key tactics by making it illegal to create fake judgments, summons, complaints or most other court documents. Under the proposal, doing so would be a class D felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

The Senate committee took no action on the bill Thursday. It was previously approved by the full Assembly on a 36-4 vote, with four rural Republican assemblymen voting against it.

Source: Nevada officials work to fight sovereign citizens movement

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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

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NRA WIN: Federal Court Strikes Down California’s Gun Magazine Ban

Posted on March 29, 2019 ~ by Ammoland

California – -(AmmoLand.com)- Today, a federal district court issued a decision permanently enjoining California from enforcing its restrictions on standard capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.

This monumental victory comes in the NRA and CRPA supported lawsuit titled Duncan v. Becerra, which challenges all of California’s laws banning so-called “large-capacity” magazines.

In issuing its decision, the court notes that “[c]onstitutional rights stand through time holding fast through the ebb and flow of current controversy,” and that governments cannot turn “millions of responsible, law-abiding people trying to protect themselves into criminals” for simply exercising their Second Amendment rights.

California will no doubt appeal the decision to the Ninth Circuit. Given that Duncan is not yet final, California gun owners should still exercise caution when interacting with law enforcement. NRA and CRPA attorneys will soon update members on what exactly this ruling means for California gun owners.

More details and guidance will be provided in future NRA and CRPA information bulletins. To stay up-to-date on the Duncan case and other important Second Amendment issues affecting California gun owners, visit www.nraila.org/campaigns/california/stand-and-fight-california/. And be sure to subscribe to NRA-ILA and CRPA email alerts by visiting www.nraila.org/sign-up and www.crpa.org.

Source: NRA WIN: Federal Court Strikes Down California’s Gun Magazine Ban


Why a Republic and How do we Keep it?

By Doug Knowles ~ February 28th 2019

Why did our forefathers, give us a republic?

It was not easy for them to agree on the best form of government for the newly liberated nation.  They did much research, analysis, and debate to come to the final definition of our Constitutional Republic.

A large portion of the consideration was to the understanding of the failures of other efforts both currently and in history, and how those failures would be prevented.

The types of governments they had to consider at that time, were vulnerable to and ended in rebellion and chaos.  They looked at the failures of the ability of the ruled to rule themselves.  Their ultimate goal became the concept of Governoring by those that are being Governed.

Chaos, being the absolute enemy of any government, how could they keep chaos in check. Balance the powers of the governing and the governed.

From this, the concept of a Constitutional Republic was born.  A form of government for the people and by the people. Throughout history, the attempts at pure democracy also ultimately failed in chaos — the inability to control the leadership by the governed.

The separation of powers with checks and balances allowing for organized intervention when the balance of power or control becomes detrimental to the republic was what would be attempted.

The branches of Government were organized to define not only responsibility but also accountability.

The legislature would be the body by which laws and fine tuning of the government would take place as well as the control of the spending.

To control chaos, they created a House of Representatives and a Senate. Each state would have two senators elected by the people. Each state would have an equal number of representatives to the population divided into equal districts of the population.

This was done to balance the legislative branch of government, between the two types of representation — equality of the states and the separate equality of the population as a whole. Last but not least, the decisions approved by both bodies have the President as a check and balance to veto.

The executive branch was created to operate the functions of governing based on the rules put in place by the legislature. It includes a President and Vice President elected by the states through a process called the electoral college. The today electoral college consists of 538 electors each having a vote. An absolute majority of 270 electoral votes is required to determine the President and Vice President, team.

Electors are chosen by a method provided in each state’s constitution, and a number of electors equal to the representatives and senators combined representing the state in the legislature.

A national election for the President and Vice President team is held in each state. However, the members representing the state may be chosen by other methods.  It is presumed, that the votes of the electoral college members will represent the results of the state’s election but is not required; it is based upon each state’s constitution.

A third, branch of the government, the Judicial, was created to be an arbiter between not only the Executive and Legislative branches, but between the government and the people as well as between the people.

Power and Control

In our Constitutional Republic, anything not covered in the constitution is left to the states. However, the states must yield to the constitution of the republic in the constitution of the state.

As the States, Counties and Cities were formed; they were encouraged to follow a similar approach for the same reasons that a republic was chosen.

The Model from the republic was separately elected branches and something similar to a legislature or commission or council.  Most states have an Executive Branch; A Governor and a successor, a Judicial Branch; an Attorney General and a Legislature; Assembly and Senate.

At the county levels things change, the legislature is replaced by a council or commission, but in most cases, the judicial, and law enforcement are still elected by the people making them a separate branch elected by the people.

The county, being the closest government to the people, has the ultimate jurisdiction and constitutional protection for the people.

The sheriff has the authority to stand between the people and any of the governments any issue of natural rights protected or not by the constitution of the republic.

Why and How are we the people losing the Power and Control

The only way we as individuals lose Power and Control is either delegating it or allowing to be taken. The constitution protects your ability to vote in or out the folks that you are delegating the power and control to.

Simple process until we allow it to be changed.

So far we have described what is referred to as the Layer Cake Republic. Each layer of government has controls that define them, and each layer has power and controls that are defined by the layers above or below.

Then comes what we call the Marble Cake Republic. This concept describes what we are seeing happen in the structure of government today.

Examples that turn the Layer Cake Republics to Marble Cake Republics

Starting in the legislatures, we find that they are delegating the power and controls we have given them to executive branch bureaucracies. When this happens, we as voters lose our power and control as our elected officials have delegated those powers to non-elected bureaucrats.

Anytime one of our Powers and Controls gets delegated to a non-elected official we lose our power and control of our vote.

Now comes the regional Boards and Commissions.  An example would be a regional water board. The member cities agree to create a board/commission for the purpose of making decisions and rules about water issues. This transfers the power and control of an agency. They appoint representatives to the board from each member city/county.

There go the powers and control of electing those that represent your interests on those matters.

Bad court decisions applied globally are another culprit.

A court decision, Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), forced western states like here in Nevada to change how senators are elected and allocated to the counties.  The legislature in Nevada was originally set up like the federal government, with a senator allocated for each county and the assembly members elected by district based on population. Now the senators are determined by districts created based on population.

This change had the effect of giving a majority of senators and assemblymen to the largest populated county in the state.  My county here in NYE shares both an assemblyman and senator with five other counties districts.  The Rural counties are no longer represented fairly.

Federal Lawsuit Aims to Ban Brothels in Nevada

Monday, February 25th 2019, 3:23 PM PST

A lawsuit filed in federal court aims to end the legal brothel industry in the Silver State.

The lawsuit filed by Rebekah Charleston names Nevada and Governor Steve Sisolak as defendants.

It alleges legal brothels violates her constitutional rights and it seeks a federal injunction against brothels in Elko, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Storey and White Pine counties.

Last November Lyon County defeated a measure that would have banned brothels there by a wide margin.

In a statement Monday the Mustang Ranch called the lawsuit “a desperate act” and said in part “the female entrepreneurs in the industry pay their taxes, support their family, buy their first homes, and pay their way through college or other educational courses. In over 4,000 work card applications filed over the last 20 years by working professionals and employees at the Mustang, not one has turned up to be a victim of trafficking.”

Source: Federal Lawsuit Aims to Ban Brothels in Nevada