CARSON CITY — Legislators who complained all session that they did not have enough money for anything, suddenly found $20 million late Monday just before adjournment to spend on their “pork barrel” projects.
Senators were given $10 million to divvy up in Senate Bill 579, and Assembly members granted themselves the same amount in Assembly Bill 629.
Because legislative leaders agreed on the deal, approval was certain. Senators backed their bill 19-2, and Assembly members voted 34-3 for their pork bill, with five Assembly members not voting.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said the projects in the bills might be called pork, but “these have value and are worthy projects.”
Assembly Minority Leader Garn Mabey, R-Las Vegas, agreed that the projects should not be called pork.
He helped secure $200,000 to help the Clark County Medical Society in establishing a clinic.
“These are projects for those who need help,” Mabey said.
“My pork will go to a free clinic, where retired physicians will donate their time to give free medical care to people.”
Among the projects funded by the bills are the following:
• $1.2 million to provide monthly $100 subsidies to help low-income people buy health insurance.
• $1 million to local governments for housing programs for the homeless.
• $1 million for Opportunity Village in Las Vegas.
• $500,000 for construction of the Carter G. Woodson Library in West Las Vegas.
• $100,000 to create the Monte Cristo State Park in Esmeralda County.
• $400,000 to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to pay for expenses of the Women’s Research Institute and the National Education for Women’s Leadership Program.
• $160,000 to create a Web site to provide information for consumers on the prices of commonly prescribed drugs.
• $180,000 to create an Office of Ombudsman of Consumer Affairs for Minorities.
• $10,000 to help construct a memorial for passengers who died on Flight 93 in Somerset County, Pa., during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.2007