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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A store clerk is being questioned after a man was fatally shot during a robbery at a gas station Friday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Las Vegas police give details on fatal shooting
Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer gives a briefing on a fatal shooting near downtown Las Vegas that occurred on March 27, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas community pays tribute to boy killed by car
The community joined friends and family at Wilbur & Theresa Faiss Park, Wednesday evening, to remember the boy who was struck and killed by a car crossing South Fort Apache Road from Faiss Park, near West Maule Avenue, on Monday. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Person of Interest Found For Downtown Las Vegas Bar - Video
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is seeking help to find a person of interest in a potential homicide case at a bar in downtown Las Vegas.
Metro briefs media on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Police address media about officer-involved shooting that started on Maryland and Vegas Valley, and concluded downtown, near the Golden Nugget.
Update on OIS at Vegas Valley and Maryland
The incident began at the Steinberg Diagnostic Medical parking lot and ended downtown.
Amy And Spencer Powell Recount Hit And Run
Amy Powell and her son Spencer recount the day Spencer was hit by a truck while riding his bike. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah arrested in Amarillo, TX
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah was arrested in Amarillo, TX on a Nye County warrant for open murder, burglary, obtaining money under false pretense, use of credit card w/o owner consent, and destruction of evidence. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Metro Presser For OIS 6 (Full)
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Metro Presser For OIS 6
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Domestic disturbance call ends in suicide
A man died by suicide after police tried negotiating with him outside of his ex-girlfriend’s home on March 13. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by Las Vegas police
A 20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by a Las Vegas officer on Saturday night is also accused of burglarizing a Boys & Girls Club minutes before the shooting.
Metro briefing on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Kelly McMahill briefs the media on a officer-involved shooting near Ninth Street and Bonanza Road on March 19, 2019. Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man robs restaurant with large kitchen knife
On March 16, 2019, at approximately 6:00 PM, an armed robbery occurred at a local restaurant located near East Charleston and Eastern. The suspect entered the business with a large knife, demanding money from the registers. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Metro Addresses Ois At Bellagio (Full Press Conference)
Las Vegas Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 15, 2019, at the Bellagio.
Metro Addresses OIS At Bellagio
Las Vegas police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 15, 2019, at the Bellagio. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Parents facing murder charges held without bail
Lakeia Walker and Ricky Beasley, the parents of missing 3-year-old Zaela Walker, appeared briefly in North Las Vegas Court on camera from the Clark County Detention Center as they made their first appearance in court.
Metro briefing on OIS at Bellagio
Metro Capt. Nichole Splinter briefs the media on an officer-involved shooting in front of the Bellagio on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DUI Blitz
Metropolitan Police Department Traffic Sergeant David Stoddard discusses a law enforcement “DUI blitz” on Thursday, March 14, 2019, in the Las Vegas Valley. About 100 Metro and Nevada Highway Patrol officers searched the valley for impaired drivers between 5 p.m. Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Commercial Robbery On 3000 Block Of North Las Vegas Blvd - VIDEO
On February 19th, 2019, at approximately 10:23 am, a robbery occurred to a business located on the 3000 block of North Las Vegas Boulevard. The pictured suspect entered the business, approached the counter and pointed a firearm at the victim demanding money. The victim complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.
Alexis Plunkett denied bail
Alexis Plunkett, the jailed Las Vegas defense lawyer enmeshed in a pair of felony cases, will remain behind bars while awaiting trial, a judge decided Thursday. (Mat Luschek /Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Bounty Hunter Chases Down Porch Pirate
A would-be thief tried to steal a package from the home of Alex Mazzola. Mazzola, a former bounty hunter, chased after the suspect.
DEA Launches New Program To Combat Opioid Epidemic
The Drug Enforcement Administration is launching a new effort in Nevada to combat the opioid epidemic.
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