We’re more than two-thirds of the way through the 2013 Legislature, and while some big debates have been had, some even bigger ones remain ahead.
Before we embark on the final 36 days, however, let’s pause for a moment to take stock of the things we’ve lost, bills that have fallen by the wayside and, absent a miraculous resurrection by amendment or special powers of leadership, are dead.
A bill to give school police officers category I status — and expand their jurisdiction from school property and the surrounding streets — died. Not that I would ever speed, but if I do so and accidentally pass a school police car on Interstate 15, I will breathe a little easier.
An effort by the governor’s Office of Economic Development to exempt computer and IT workers from overtime requirements to the extent allowed by federal law failed. Apparently, Nevada hasn’t done enough for computer companies such as Apple. Perhaps Director Steve Hill could take executives to a legal brothel at state expense?
A bill to require people to register their mopeds failed. I’d be happy with a law that says if you’re driving any vehicle that can’t drive the speed limit on any road, you’ve got to use the bike lane.
Two different versions of the Screw Barbara Buckley Act — which would have forced ex-lawmakers to dispose of their unspent campaign contributions after leaving office — failed. Perhaps Buckley should use her war chest to mount a return to Carson City. The Republicans are obviously afraid of that.
A couple bills to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit died. Personally, I like the idea of giving people who want to carry concealed firearms some training, especially on the consequences of the use of deadly force. I don’t want to discourage shooting in self-defense; sometimes, it’s the only option. I just want to make sure people understand it’s a last resort.
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, R-Las Vegas, said she was going to try to elect more Republicans after her bill to allow carrying concealed weapons (with a permit) on the campuses of Nevada’s colleges and universities died without getting a vote. Nevada’s political districting makes that tough, but it wasn’t just politics at play. Lawmakers also failed to consider Assembly Majority Leader William Horne’s bill to require background checks for gun sales and to impose a tax on guns and ammo.
A few bills that would have required photo ID to vote died. Secretary of State Ross Miller has a good alternative plan, which would match existing DMV photos with voter poll books. Voters who showed up without a DMV photo on file would be photographed right there, so nobody would be disenfranchised.
Some nanny-state bills — a 5-cent tax on fast food, a ban on texting while crossing the street and a requirement for longboarders to wear helmets — all failed. We’re probably no worse off.
Bills to designate a state dog (the Blue Weimaraner) and a state language (English) both failed.
An effort to remove the cap on the number of barrels that beer brewers can make and sell in their microbreweries in a given year (it’s 15,000 in Clark County and 5,000 in all the other counties) failed. As far as I’m concerned, we need all the good beer we can get, and if people can drink more than 15,000 barrels — that’s about 630,000 gallons — then the market should let them.
Oh, and a bill declaring the National Defense Authorization Act illegal in Nevada — as well as a joint resolution claiming “sovereignty” under the 10th Amendment — both failed. We’re already going to be fighting the feds with a plan to make medical marijuana readily available. Best to keep our efforts focused there.
Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist and author of the blog SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at 387-5276 or SSebelius@reviewjournal.com.