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Day-to-day impact of Carson City trumped DC drama

Updated June 13, 2017 - 5:55 pm

If you’re looking for politics that matter, forget Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Look at what just happened in Carson City.

Before the legislative session started, I told you Nevada’s legislative leaders would have a much bigger impact on your life than President Donald Trump. Here are four things that happened in the 2017 session that directly affect you.

Property tax increase. Tax reform and/or tax-cutting efforts have stalled in Washington, but taxes were a hot topic in Carson City. Democrats want to raise your taxes. Thanks to the firm opposition of Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, and Senate Republicans, Democrats’ efforts to immediately increase your property taxes failed. But every Democrat plus Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, voted for SJR14, a constitutional amendment that would increase property taxes by resetting the value of a home upon sale. Currently, the taxable value of a home depreciates every year after your home is built for 50 years.

Legislators must approve SJR14 in the exact same form in 2019 to send it to voters in 2020. If you’re a political junkie, don’t watch congressional hearings on TV. Get involved by asking every legislative candidate you meet whether they support raising property taxes and whether they’ll vote for SJR14 when it comes before lawmakers again in 2019.

Law enforcement. The internal workings of the FBI have made cable news headlines for weeks, but you’re more likely to interact with Nevada law enforcement officers. Per SB176, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, all Nevada law enforcement officers who routinely interact with the public will now wear body cameras.

Speech ban. The Beltway media love to hyperventilate that the election of Donald Trump as president is a threat to freedom of the press, but it’s here in Nevada where Democrats and some Republicans, including Gov. Brian Sandoval and Roberson, joined together to ban free speech. Under the guise of stopping child abuse, politicians enacted SB201, a ban on conversion therapy, any practice or speech by a counselor aimed at changing a minor’s gender identity or sexual orientation. That means therapists can run afoul of the law just by talking to a minor about gender identity or sexual orientation.

It is now illegal for a counselor, when talking to a child with gender dysphoria, to quote from ScienceMag.org: “[M]ales possess one X and one Y chromosome and females have two Xs. The presence or absence of the Y chromosome is what determines sex.”

Pink tax. Cheap political stunts aren’t limited to Washington. In November, Nevada voters will decide whether we should exempt feminine hygiene products from the sales tax. While the actual savings to women will be minimal, politicians will use this proposal to claim they’re pro-woman — and attack candidates who oppose it as anti-woman.

Federal politicians have a lot of power — way too much — but don’t forget that state and local lawmakers are more likely to change your day-to-day life.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Nevada section each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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