Guinn Center lays out facts on Nevada ballot measures

Updated September 14, 2018 - 8:50 pm

An independent research center on Thursday explored both sides of six ballot measures facing Nevada voters in November — four of which would be etched into the state constitution.

Meredith Levine, the Guinn Center’s director of economic policy, laid out the facts about each measure.

Question 1: Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law would enshrine 17 rights of victims into the Nevada Constitution. The rights include a full and timely restitution, victim privacy protections, notification of public hearings and the right to refuse a deposition request.

California was the first state to pass the law, which is named for Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in California in 1983. He was released a week later and saw her family, who had no idea he was out of jail.

The measure’s backers say it would expand the definition of a “victim” and provide stronger, enforceable rights. Opponents say the protections already exist in statute, and Marsy’s Law undermines the defendant’s constitutional rights and financially strains the criminal justice system. They’re also worried about putting those rights into the constitution.

“We can debate quite endlessly what that balance should be for victims versus the defendants,” said Sara Price Mason, an attorney and ACLU board member who attended the meeting. “You don’t have the opportunity to evaluate that in any significant way once you get that stuck in the constitution.”

Question 2: ‘Pink Tax’ Sales Exemption

This measure would exempt tampons and sanitary napkins from state and local sales tax.

Supporters say taxing feminine hygiene products is unfair and discriminatory because only women use those items and there’s no substitute for them. The exemption was approved by state lawmakers last year and requires a vote of the people to become law.

Opponents argue that the exemption would cost the state $4.9 million to $7.1 million in lost revenue each year. They also say most women don’t spend that much on those taxes — about $5 per person per year.

Question 3: Energy Choice Initiative

Question 3, which would restructure Nevada’s energy market to end monopolies like NV Energy and open the market to competitors, has dominated the airwaves this election cycle.

Proponents say competition would lower electricity rates, while opponents contend the measure could increase costs. The Guinn Center’s analysis could not determine the accuracy of either claim.

“We have absolutely no idea,” Levine said. “The problem is that the data is not comparable across states.”

The measure was first approved by voters in 2016, but requires a second vote to become law.

Question 4: Medical Patient Tax Relief Act

Similar to Question 2, this measure would exempt certain medical equipment from sales tax. This measure, also approved by voters in 2016, would be a constitutional amendment if approved again this year.

The exempted equipment includes oxygen tanks and mobility-enhancing devices. Backers say an exemption would reduce the burden on disabled Nevadans, including seniors and low-income residents. Opponents say it’s insufficient because it doesn’t include hearing aids or vision devices and poses a financial burden to the state. The state has no official estimated loss of revenue, but has said that it would be “nominal.”

Question 5: Automatic Voter Registration

Currently when Nevadans go to the DMV to change their address or get a new driver’s license, they must choose to register to vote. This measure would automatically register residents to vote unless they opt out.

If someone doesn’t opt out, they’ll be automatically registered as nonpartisan, although they can change parties later. The measure doesn’t change the political party of registered voters.

Supporters say it would eliminate a barrier to voting and expand voter rolls, resulting in 120,000 potential new voters in Clark County. Opponents say registering voters doesn’t guarantee they’ll vote or be engaged, and it shouldn’t be a state function.

Question 6: Renewable Energy Promotion

The newest measure to qualify for the ballot, Question 6 would require electric providers to acquire 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The current state goal is 25 percent by 2025.

Proponents say it would force renewable energy compliance and bolster the economy. Opponents say it could be burdensome and costly to ratepayers.

Contact Ramona Giwargis at rgiwargis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4538. Follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter.

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Earl Mitchell, the Henderson Constable indicted on four counts of theft and one count of fraudulent appropriation of property, appeared in court Thursday.
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Timothy Blackburn robbed a Bank of America depository in December 1998 for more than $1 million — the largest bank robbery in Nevada’s history. After eluding authorities initially, Blackburn was caught and jailed at the North Las Vegas Detention Center. In August 1999, he escaped, guns blazing, with his wife’s help, and disappeared for weeks only to be found at an apartment near Boulder Highway. Former FBI Agent Henry Schlumpf, the lead on the case, remembers vividly the hostage situation that would end tragically. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer Shoots Suspect in Nye County - Bodycam
A Nye County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man Thursday night. Jason Paul O’Bannon, 46, died after the altercation with police. Reports of a man firing a weapon outside his house brought police to the scene just after 8 p.m. Detective Wesley Fancher fired the shot that killed O’Bannon, police said. O’Bannon had a “lengthy criminal history” in California and Nevada dating to 1988, according to police
Nye County sheriff news conference on officer-involved shooting
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly details the police response as officers came under fire Thursday when a man was shooting a rifle in his yard. When the man pointed a weapon at an officer, police opened fire. The man died.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing - 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
The Mob Museum
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Man shot, killed by Las Vegas police after traffic stop
Las Vegas police give a briefing after a man was shot and killed by an officer following a traffic stop. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video of suspect in Home Depot parking lot shooting
A man who was injured in a Nov. 20 shooting in the southwest Las Vegas Valley died at a hospital Tuesday, the Clark County coroner’s office said.
Nevada Task Force 1 Dog Units Return
Four dogs and their handlers returned to the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday, November 29, 2018, after deploying to the Paradise, California wildfire last week. The dogs, trained in human remains detection, are part of Nevada Task Force 1, a Federal Emergency Management Agency urban search and rescue team. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police thwart brazen kidnapping attempt
Metro officers suspicious of woman claiming to be with Child Protective Services prevent possible kidnapping of three-week-old infant.
Shot Spotter technology used by Metro extended for another year
Gunfire location technology being used by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department gets extended for another year of evaluation.
Nye County pursuit ends in rollover crash caught by dashcam
A truck flipped twice before landing on its wheels as a driver tried to flee Nye County Sheriff's deputies on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.
Nevada Highway Patrol stops wrong-way driver on Thanksgiving
The Nevada Highway Patrol has released dashboard and body camera video showing troopers deploying spike strips to stop a suspected impaired wrong-way driver early Thanksgiving Day. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
DUI sentencing
The parents of 8-year-old Levi Echenique speak after a woman who drove under the influence of marijuana and killed the boy was sent to prison.
3 Pahrump residents arrested on false imprisonment charges
James Thatcher, 28 of Pahrump, Chelsea Demille, 30 of Pahrump, and Sandra Wombles, 19 of Pahrump were all arrested after it was discovered that they were holding an adult female and male prisoners in their bedroom. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
2 kids struck by gunfire in North Las Vegas shooting
On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, people opened fire into a residence in the 3600 block of Hamlin Place in North Las Vegas. Two kids were hit by gunfire and sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to North Las Vegas police. Anyone with information is asked to call the NLVPD at 702-633-9111.
Stephan Bonnar DUI Arrest
Stephan Bonnar arrested for DUI in Nevada.
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