WINNEMUCCA – Nevada Republican Party officials, seeking to put 2018 state losses behind them and set a glide path for nominating President Donald Trump for a second term in 2020, re-elected their incumbent chairman and other party leaders Saturday and formally took the party out of holding a presidential caucus to choose its candidate in February.
The Silver State’s GOP thus becomes the latest state party to all but formally endorse the sitting president more than a year before the election, though central committee members stopped short of nominating him outright. That vote, per Republican national committee rules, won’t happen until February, state leaders said Saturday.
But by opting against a caucus, a move favored by the Trump campaign in Nevada and elsewhere, state Republicans do avoid a contest that could sow division and would cost the party money, but whose outcome would not be much in doubt.
Republicans in South Carolina and Kansas voted to forgo their states’ primaries earlier Saturday, and Arizona Republicans were expected to follow suit as well.
“We have an incredible incumbent who’s very strong,” Douglas County’s Amy Tarkanian told fellow delegates as party faithful debated the move. “And I think it would be a slap in his face if we did not pass this.”
The measure was approved on a show of raised hands. Those who spoke against it said skipping the presidential caucus would sharply curtail participation and enthusiasm for other caucus contests, which will continue as normal.
“It is not only about money. It’s also about the individual’s right to go to the (caucus) and cast a vote,” said Clark County delegate Mary Beganyi. “You want to elect Republicans? Engage Republicans.”
Meeting Saturday in Winnemucca, the county seat of strongly-Republican Humboldt County in Northern Nevada, far from Democratic strongholds in the south, party officials also backed the full slate of incumbent leaders, all Trump stalwarts who enjoy the similar backing of the president.
Chairman Michael McDonald, who has served since 2012, easily won a three-way race with 57 percent of the vote, or 205 out of 362 votes cast, beating back opponents who sought to blame him for the party’s losses in 2016 and 2018.
Trump lost the state in 2016, and Republicans suffered steep losses in 2018 up and down the ballot, including races for U.S. Senate, three of four U.S. House races, and the governor and attorney general races. Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske remains the only Republican statewide elected official.
McDonald defeated Mesquite Councilwoman Annie Black, who received 102 votes, and former Clark County GOP chairman Dave McKeon who won 54.
The caucus opt-out had the backing of the chairman and leadership.
“Caucuses are expensive,” McDonald said during a break in the meeting. He noted that county party organizations had their eyes on reversing 2018’s losses in state legislative races and wanted to “focus on and put the resources where they’re needed.”
In Nevada, Democrats hold a 73,000 active registered voter advantage over Republicans on the strength of their 165,000-voter lead in Clark County, where 71 percent of Nevada’s voters reside. Republicans have a registration advantage in the state’s other 16 counties. State active-voter registration is 38 percent Democratic, 33 percent Republican, and 22 percent nonpartisan according to August figures from the secretary of state’s office.
The Legislature could pass a controversial gun control measure without ever holding a public hearing.
At issue is a red flag law, which allows courts to order the confiscation of weapons from people who pose a threat to themselves or others.
Narrowly tailored, these laws can be beneficial. For instance, the Parkland, Florida, school shooter had a history of disturbing and dangerous behavior. Police went to his house 39 times in seven years. It could have prevented a mass murder had a court taken away his weapons.
In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, some prominent conservatives, such as David French with National Review, came out in support of red flag laws. But getting the details wrong can turn a good idea into a bad law. It’s a tough balancing act to design a statute that allows government to seize someone’s weapons while respecting an individual’s right to due process.
Finding that balance requires discussion and compromise. That could have happened. Early in the session, state Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, proposed a very broad red flag bill, Senate Bill 120. For instance, included in the definition of high-risk behavior was the act of acquiring a firearm within six months of displaying a firearm.
A judge who determined someone engaged in those behaviors and posed a risk could order that individual to turn over his or her firearms to law enforcement. The bill also required only “clear and convincing” evidence, a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt. Under the proposal, a judge could have ordered an individual’s firearms be confiscated without the subject knowing he’d been accused of threatening behavior.
If the court issued such an order — potentially without the person’s knowledge — the information would have been sent to the Nevada Records of Criminal History. Subjects would thus be prevented from passing a background check if they tried to legally buy a firearm. That makes sense. No point in taking someone’s firearms away if they’re allowed to just buy another one. What doesn’t make sense is that if the information doesn’t get removed automatically from the database if the court removes the protection order. The individual must petition a court to remove it.
This means the government could take your guns without you even knowing you’d been accused. And if you cleared your name, you’d have to return to court to restore your ability to purchase firearms. So much for innocent until proven guilty and due process.
Public and behind-the-scenes input would have improved this bill. But SB120 died in mid-April without a hearing.
If that happens, there won’t be a public hearing and gun owners may not even find out what’s in the bill until after it has passed.
That would be a mistake. A conversation about a red flag law is worth having, but getting the details right won’t happen if Democrats rush it through.
Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 10 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.
WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary David Bernhardt reversed Trump administration efforts to slash a Nevada public lands program Wednesday and released nearly $106 million for recreation and wildfire programs in the state.
Forty-seven new projects will be funded as a result through the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, established by former Sens. Richard Bryan and Harry Reid, both Nevada Democrats, and then-Rep. John Ensign, R-Nev., in 1998.
The funding comes from the sale of public lands in the Las Vegas Valley, with the proceeds earmarked for improvement and conservation programs in the state and in the Lake Tahoe Basin of California.
“This program is a concrete example of the department’s continued commitment to being a good neighbor through increased recreation opportunities and access,” Bernhardt said in a statement.
Program targeted for years
The Trump administration and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tried to slash the program in past years.
Trump’s first two budget blueprints called for cuts to the program. The administration then sought to take the funds, but that move was blocked by Congress.
Bernhardt’s announcement that funds would be released to Nevada entities or U.S. agencies to spend on projects in the state marks a significant turnabout for the administration, said Rep. Dina Titus, the dean of the state’s congressional delegation.
Titus had demanded that Zinke and Bernhardt release the funds collected under the program, which is administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
She called Bernhardt’s announcement “good news.”
“I fought the Trump administration for two years to give us this money that is rightfully ours,” Titus said.
Titus said she would continue to defend the program for Southern Nevada “residents and visitors who chose to hike, swim and play in our parks and open spaces.”
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., hailed the decision. “I’m glad these long-overdue funds are finally being returned to the state and invested in projects that will make Nevada healthier and more sustainable,” she said.
Bernhardt called the announcement an example of the Interior Department “creating a legacy of conservation stewardship.”
The funds from land sales in the Las Vegas Valley will be used for a variety of programs and projects that include trail and habitat restoration, conservation, capital improvements and the purchase of environmentally sensitive lands.
Where the money will go
Entities that will receive money for projects include Clark County, the cities of Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas; Lincoln County, White Pine County, the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.
The Interior Department noted that BLM will use $4.45 million of the funds to buy 419 acres of agriculture conservation easement on the historic Van Sickle Station Ranch near Genoa in Douglas County.
The purchase will protect local wildlife, migratory bird habitat, groundwater recharge and open space. In addition, the owner will donate two multi-use trail easements to provide the public with additional recreation opportunities, according to the Interior Department.
The BLM also will use $1.45 million in program funds to build between 40 and 65 miles of multi-use trails, trail heads, parking and campgrounds and camping areas in the Highland Range area of Lincoln County.
Lincoln County, the city of Caliente, the Nevada Division of State Parks, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, the Back Country Horsemen of America and the Wilderness Society and regional and local proprietors are part of the collaborative project.
Since the Act passed in 1998, the program has generated $3.6 billion for projects in the state that include the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area visitor center, renovation of Lorenzi Park in Las Vegas, public areas at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and landscape restoration in Eastern Nevada.
By law, the state of Nevada General Education Fund gets 5 percent of proceeds and the Southern Nevada Water Authority receives 10 percent, according to BLM.
Breakdown of the funding
The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act has provided $3.6 billion in project funds in the state of Nevada since 1998, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced and additional $106 million in projects.
• Parks, trails, and natural areas, $26.7 million.
• Capital improvements, $27.7 million.
• Conservation initiatives, $13.2 million.
• Environmentally sensitive land acquisitions, $21.6 million.
• Hazardous fuels reduction and wildfire prevention, $5 million.
• Eastern Nevada landscape restoration project, $6. 1 million.
• Special account reserve, $5 million.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Land Management
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 email@example.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.
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.AB15_R1
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.