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PARTY LINES: Be honest when you make a promise, pols!

Updated May 20, 2022 - 8:28 pm

Most political ads on the air right now — and there are plenty of those — are lies.

Not factual inaccuracies, although there are plenty of those. Not false attacks against opponents that take facts or events out of context, although that goes on a lot as well.

No, the most common lie is the false promise.

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, for example, says in a new TV ad he will “shut down” Planned Parenthood in the state, which he cannot do. Former U.S Sen. Dean Heller says he will end the commerce tax using an executive order if necessary, which he cannot do. (Heller even said he would welcome a lawsuit over the issue.) Reno lawyer Joey Gilbert has pledged to take over Nevada schools and personally vet teachers and administrators, which of course he cannot do.

But give Republican Jesse Haw, a candidate for secretary of state, credit for a tiny bit of honesty. In his ad, he touts voter ID, but instead of promising he will institute the requirement to show a photo ID to vote, he says it the right way.

“The first bill he’ll send to the Legislature” will be for voter ID, a Haw ad promises.

And that’s the correct way to make a campaign promise. Because outside of certain limited circumstances, no governor, no secretary of state, no attorney general has the authority to act unilaterally. Almost everything has to be done by the Legislature, which is the way it should be. Laws should come about through regular order in the people’s branch of government, forged by compromise and based on evidence and testimony.

And before you object that Gov. Steve Sisolak exercised unilateral emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic, remember this: Those powers were granted to the governor by the Legislature and can be taken away or modified by lawmakers if they so choose.

So give Haw credit, at least, for recognizing even in the heated atmosphere of a campaign that elected officials must act according to the constitution and the laws. That’s something that’s far too often forgotten in campaign season.

No more emergency?!

Speaking of Sisolak’s emergency powers, on Friday, the governor formally ended the state of emergency he declared on March 12, 2020, to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to diligent planning and collaboration across all levels of government in Nevada, the need for the declaration of emergency has ended and the state is prepared to prevent, treat and manage COVID-19 cases,” the news release accompanying the proclamation says.

Good thing, as COVID cases are actually rising in Nevada. The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Jonah Dylan reported this week the test positivity rate is above 18 percent and Clark County is in the “high rate of transmission” category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And that’s to say nothing of a confirmed monkeypox case identified in the U.S., or the mysterious “superbug” that has started to show up locally!

In the wake of Sisolak’s declaration — which followed a similar emergency declaration from then-President Donald Trump — many have questioned the scope of his emergency powers and the long duration of the emergency.

During the 2021 session, Republicans introduced several bills that would have limited the duration of an emergency declaration or required legislative oversight or authorization of such declarations. Given that Democrats controlled the Legislature, those bills went nowhere. But depending on what happens in the November elections, it’s a good bet we may see more of that type of legislation again in 2023.

Faith on the Hill

With all the talk of cocaine use and orgies (we’ll miss you, Madison Cawthorn!), you might think of Washington, D.C., as a cesspool of immorality and evil. But according to the Pew Research Center, most members of the current Congress identify as Christian. And by most, we mean “nearly all.”

According to the tally, 88.1 percent of members of Congress say they are Christian, although there are many denominations within that group. Protestants of various stripes make up 55 percent of the Christian supermajority, while Catholics account for nearly 30 percent.

Another 6.2 percent of Congress identifies as Jewish, and a tiny percentage – 0.6 – is Muslim (three people, all in the House of Representatives).

But in the most interesting result, just 0.2 percent of Congress is listed as “unaffiliated” with religion entirely, a stark contrast to the 26 percent of Americans at large who don’t claim any religion. (That 0.2 percent — one person! — is named U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., by the way.)


The National Rifle Association has endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, giving him an A+ rating. The group also endorsed Laxalt in 2018 when he was running for governor of Nevada. Laxalt also has been endorsed by the Nevada Right to Life, a pro-life group.

“Adam Laxalt recognizes that our nation’s greatest resource is her people and that their lives — from conception to natural death — must be protected,” said Melissa Clement, executive director of Nevada Right to Life.

In the wake of a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court potentially overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, abortion will play a larger role in the November elections than it might have otherwise.

Top of the bad lists

Prognosticators are predicting a good year for Republicans, and that includes here in Nevada. The Capitol Hill publication Roll Call recently listed Nevada senior U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto at the top of its list of most vulnerable incumbents, six months from Election Day. It lists the race as a “toss-up.”

That tracks with other publications — including insider site Punchbowl News, the venerable Cook Political Report and CNN — that say the race could go either way. That’s definitely not the news that Cortez Masto wants to read.

Then again, when she was in charge of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee last cycle, she wasn’t expected to win back the Senate. But thanks to two runoff elections in Georgia, she did just that, delivering a razor-thin 50-50 tie and making New York Democrat Chuck Schumer the majority leader. So while the general election race will undoubtedly be close, nobody should count Cortez Masto out just yet.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.

Proclamation by Steve Sebelius on Scribd

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