Legislators fiddle while Nevada burns


Now that the day of peace-on-earth-goodwill-toward-men is behind us, let's waste no time getting back to the really important things in life: like ridiculing our elected representatives.

Nevada state legislators have already submitted hundreds upon hundreds of bill draft requests (BDRs) for the new legislative session which starts in February. Many of these BDRs are not only silly, frivolous wastes of time and money, but others continue the growth and expansion of government despite the fact that Nevadans can't afford the government we already have.

For example, Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, has submitted a critically important BDR creating "a permanent Subcommittee on Juvenile Justice of the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice." I believe the bill also provides for the hiring of a Deputy Chief Assistant to the Associate Director of the Assistant Project Manager for the Chief Enforcement Officer of the Vice President of Administrative Oversight.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, has wasted important LCB time and money requesting a bill designating "E Clampus Vitus Day at the Nevada Legislature," while Assemblyman Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, has a BDR establishing "Cesar Chavez Day." A more productive BDR would be to establish "Caesar Salad Day."

And let's not forget Assemblyman Lynn Stewart's important BDR designating "September 2009 as National Indoor Toxic Mold Awareness Month," or Assemblywoman Kathy McClain's BDR proclaiming March as "Women's History Month." Alas, there's no BDR proclaiming even a "Men's History Week," let alone a "Transgendered History Day."

Then there's the seemingly unquenchable desire by some legislators to regulate to death anything and everything under the sun. For example, BDRs have been submitted to regulate fitness professionals, mobile billboards, sheet metal workers, perfusionists (huh?), certified medication aides, tanning salons, the sale of "novelty lighters," dog breeders and even bus stops.

If only there was a bill to regulate legislators who want to regulate everybody else!

Oh, and let's not overlook Sen. Valerie Weiner's BDR to express "the Legislature's support for improving civic education in this State and recognizing 'Participatory Democracy Day.'" Good grief.

Also over in Sen. Weiner-land there's a bill which urges the Department of Education "to employ a full-time physical education coordinator." Apparently gym teachers in Nevada are having a hard time figuring out when to teach dodge ball and when to teach badminton.

Assemblyman Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, sure has the state's priorities straight, requesting a bill to require that "the landscaping at veterans' cemeteries in Nevada be natural turf." Is nothing sacred?

Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce has requested a bill to "require that all cigarettes sold in Nevada be automatically extinguishing when not being smoked so they are fire-safe." I wonder what Ms. Pierce was smoking when she came up with this hare-brained idea?

Assemblyman Morse Arberry, D-Las Vegas, has requested a truly offensive and racist bill establishing "a commission to provide start-up loans for minority businesses." White men who want to start a business and hire unemployed Nevadans need not apply.

Assemblywoman McClain has requested a bill to establish a "Zero Tolerance for Elder Abuse" pilot program. What we really need is a Zero Tolerance bill for mindless Zero Tolerance bills.

And I can just imagine Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, wearing one of those little kid's propeller beanies when he submitted his BDR to "ensure personal scooter safety." Nothing more important than getting the government involved in "scooter" regulation, right?

Meanwhile, freshman Sen. Alison Copening, D-Las Vegas, has just the fix for what ails public education: a BDR requiring school districts "to transition to using non-toxic cleaning products."

Oy vey.

Even Washoe County got in the act by requesting a bill to add a "fuel surcharge" fee to speeding tickets to offset the cost of gas used by cops to pull you over and give you the ticket. Talk about adding insult to injury.

And to wrap it all up, the most important bill of all might well be Assemblyman John Carpenter's bill asking for money "to fund a public health nurse in Elko County." Considering how sick all of the above is likely to make Nevada's citizens and taxpayers, a taxpayer-funded nurse might be just what the doctor ordered!

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grass-roots advocacy organization. He may be reached at chuck@citizenoutreach.com.

 

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