GOP senator: Give up driver card reluctance

A bill to allow unauthorized residents to drive legally in Nevada is not a special privilege for people here illegally but a recognition that the federal government has failed miserably at controlling illegal immigration, a Utah state senator said.

Republican Sen. Curt Bramble testified Wednesday in favor of Senate Bill 303, which would allow such immigrants to secure driver authorization cards in Nevada starting in January.

Bramble, who sponsored the Utah law in 2005 on which the Nevada bill is based, said the reality is unauthorized residents are going to drive, whether it is legal or not. With driver authorization cars, they will be required to pass driving tests and to secure liability insurance on their vehicles, he said.

In response to questions, Bramble said he spoke with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was told the agency lacks the resources to deal with the 11 million people who are in the country illegally. He said ICE Director John Morton told him that no more than 4 percent of these immigrants ever will come into contact with ICE. When one is stopped by local police, that person is turned over to ICE and the federal agency releases the person unless he or she has been charged with a felony, Bramble said.

Many Review-Journal readers have called or emailed to complain to the Capital Bureau about the bill and its sponsor, state Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has agreed to sign Senate Bill 303, which passed the Senate, 20-1. Assembly approval is expected this week.

— Ed Vogel


With the daily legislative floor sessions now running late into the evening as adjournment approaches June 3, the normally straight-laced legislators have begun to behave like silly boys.

Take last Monday night in the state Senate. The male members were downright loopy, while the female members listened silently in disbelief.

The saga began when Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, out of the blue began playfully disparaging fellow members who have cultivated beards this session, namely Sens. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, and Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas.

This bizarre discussion occurred when a bill about property casualty insurance was being heard. Soon others joined in on the fun.

Then there was Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, who laughed uncontrollably before talking about a bill that the Senate already had passed. Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, president of the Senate, quipped that he wished he had eaten what Manendo ate for dinner.

But as the jokes continued, Krolicki, normally fast with quips, asked members to begin behaving like adults. He noted that the Senate’s staff of secretaries and clerks would have to work several hours into the night to finish recording the work senators were trying to finish.

Order was restored.

— Ed Vogel


Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, received a special surprise Friday, his 41st birthday, when fellow senators, staff members and even some lobbyists wore bow ties.

Ford has gained fame this session by wearing colorful bow ties every day.

But Ford tricked his fellow senators by showing up wearing a traditional long tie.

It seems he had heard rumors of the bow tie celebration, so he borrowed a tie from Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, and gave one of his bow ties to Atkinson. Atkinson said he doesn’t even own a bow tie. Others had to rush out and by bow ties.

Of the four female senators, two — Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, and Patricia Spearman, D-North Las Vegas — wore bow ties.

Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, did them one better. He wore both a bow tie and a traditional tie.

“I’m undecided,” Manendo said.

— Ed Vogel


Sometimes legislators say it better than the bills they introduce to help the public with their driving problems.

Take Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka. He listened intently a week ago on the Senate floor as Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, discussed Assembly Bill 117.

The bill would allow riders of motorcycles, mo-peds and bicycles to go through red lights when the green left-turn signals aren’t tripped because of the small size and weight of these vehicles.

Hardy said they can go through red lights if they wait through two straight cycles of the signal, yield to pedestrians and be careful.

“My question is, if it went through two cycles, why is he still there?” Goicoechea asked.

The bill was approved 21-0.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.