Maybe state legislators should send a bill of $25,000 to the Clark County Commission? If you remember, Gov. Brian Sandoval ordered state legislators into special session last June when they were unable to approve on time the bill that would allow the Clark County Commission to vote for a small tax increase to hire more cops.
Legislators dutifully complied. Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, worked all session on a bill requiring accountability from police departments that got any tax money. Lawmakers stayed up all night and then passed the More Cops bill in a 45-minute, early morning special session. The catch was the commission had to pass the tax by Oct. 1.
Commissioners rejected the tax proposal Tuesday.
Critics complained that legislators and Sandoval should have passed the tax themselves, but preferred to pass the buck to the county.
Legislative administrators estimated the $25,000 cost for the tired legislators to work into that morning.
SANDOVAL PICK DEFEATED
Gov. Brian Sandoval took a ho-hum attitude last Monday about his candidate, Robert Uithoven, being decisively beaten by Michael McDonald in the contest for state Republican Party chairman.
“It is what it is,” said Sandoval, saying later that he had not called McDonald to congratulate him on winning re-election. “I am not going to say anything bad about the Republican Party.”
Sandoval remained positive about his party’s chances in next year’s election, despite Democrats holding a 97,000 registered voter advantage. Democrats have added about 37,000 voters to their advantage since the general election in 2010, but Sandoval pointed out Republicans outgained Democrats — 1,438 to 305 — in registrations in August.
Despite the registration shortfall, Sandoval still easily beat Rory Reid and so far there are no announced Democrats ready to face him in his re-election bid in November 2014.
Uithoven had emphasized the need for Republicans to conduct voter registration drives to cut into the Democratic registration lead.
Like the national party, state Republicans are divided into two factions, one with very conservative tea party members and the other with moderate, more pragmatic people. Sandoval who in the 2011 and 2013 legislative sessions advocated extending $620 million in temporary tax increases, falls into the latter group. Most legislative Republicans sided with him in 2013, but a group of 10 Republican legislators voted against the governor on tax matters.
Sandoval had supported Uithoven, a legislative lobbyist associated with gaming magnate Sheldon Adelson who spent much of his career working for former Gov. and U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons. Gibbons lost to Sandoval in the 2010 Republican primary for governor.
Jim, Dawn Gibbons on opposite sides
Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno, may have incurred the wrath of conservative GOP activist Chuck Muth for his votes on taxes, but he still has a few friends, as a recent fundraising missive shows.
An invitation for a Nov. 5 event sponsored by “Women for Kirner” includes an impressive list of Nevadans backing the two-term lawmaker’s campaign for another term.
The hosts include former first lady Dawn Gibbons, former first lady Dema Guinn, former Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt-Bono, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore and Dale Raggio, the wife of the late state Sen. Bill Raggio, among about 80 other notable Nevada women.
Kirner has a primary opponent, Lisa Krasner, who describes herself as a community activist, former Reno city parks commissioner and instructor at both the University of Phoenix and Truckee Meadows College.
Krasner has the backing of former Gov. Jim Gibbons, who authored the constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. He was also involved in a messy and public divorce with his former wife, Dawn.
Kirner is one of several Republican state lawmakers expected to face anti-tax primary opponents because of their votes in the 2013 session.
Muth, who is a strong anti-tax advocate, has criticized Kirner for his support of a bill in the 2013 Legislature that gave the Washoe County Commission the authority to raise the sales tax to help rehabilitate older Washoe County schools. The bill passed without a two-thirds vote requirement since it punted the decision on whether to enact the tax hike to the county commission.
The Legislature also passed two similar measures, one to increase the sales tax for police and another to raise the gas tax for road improvements, to the Clark County Commission. Commissioners voted for the road measure but defeated the More Cops tax proposal in a vote last week.
EXERCISE IN FRUSTRATION
It’s not often that Gov. Brian Sandoval talks about his past life as a federal judge or tries to be funny at public meetings.
He did both Thursday. Sandoval listened with frustration as members of the state Board of Finance talked over one another while discussing a bond issue sought by the Employment Security Division. Neither Sandoval or anyone else in the room could understand what was being said.
“It reminds me of when I was a judge,” quipped Sandoval in trying to restore some order.
Anyone who goes to court cases knows how much opposing lawyers try to show how smart they are by trying to outtalk each other. It doesn’t work there, or in Board of Finance meetings. Sandoval chairs the board.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 775-687-3901. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.