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Reid opposes gay bias in workplace

Sen. Harry Reid has disclosed he has a niece who is gay, calling it a personal reason he supports prohibiting workplace discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation.

“My niece is a lesbian,” Reid said Wednesday in an interview with liberal bloggers. “She’s a schoolteacher. Her employment shouldn’t be affected with that. We should have a law that says that, not just the good graces of wherever you work.”

Reid, who grew up with three brothers, did not identify his niece or provide other details, and neither did a spokeswoman who was queried on Thursday. A Mormon, Reid disclosed last year he was in favor of same-sex marriage, after voting against it earlier in his career.

The remark was reported by the Huffington Post as Reid discussed his support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. It has been introduced in most recent sessions of Congress but has not gotten a vote since 2007, when it passed the House.

In September 1996, the bill failed in the Senate by one vote, 49-50. Reid voted for it at the time, telling reporters this past week he was asked to get behind it by one of the leaders of the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign.

Reid told the bloggers there was a chance he might call for a Senate vote this year on the bill, whose current sponsor is Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

— Steve Tetreault


Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, is one of the more colorful and passionate legislators, who at times has cried in testifying about the hardships she experienced as a youth. You like her or hate her.

But Flores needs to work on her math. During an Assembly Legislative Operations Committee hearing on Tuesday, she insisted that voter approval of Senate Joint Resolution 8 won’t double legislative pay.

“The statement it doubles our salary, that is not true. It pays us for all the days we actually work. I don’t know anyone in Nevada who would say working for free is fair or reasonable.”

OK, let’s do the math. Legislators now are paid $146.29 a day for 60 days. The calculator says that is $8,777.40. SRJ8 would pay them for all 120 days they work. That is $17,554.80. Unless the calculator lies, that’s double the current pay.

The resolution, if voters approve it in 2016, would allow legislators in 2017 to come up with new salaries. Unless those legislators reduce legislative pay, which would be a miracle of epic portions, their pay would be at least double, but likely even more.

Flores herself pointed out Utah pays its legislators four times what Nevada does. Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno, quickly noted New Hampshire pays its legislators $100 a session.

It is true legislators — because of a constitutional provision from 1864 — receive pay for only 60 days of a session. What legislators conveniently forget in these hearings is throughout the 120 days, they also receive a $152 per diem payment to cover their expenses.

The last time they sought voter approval of higher pay — in 2006 — just 29 percent of voters backed the move. In the same election, 44 percent favored legal marijuana. So what are voters more interested in?

— Ed Vogel


Gov. Brian Sandoval frequently concerns himself with weighty matters, from pursing job creation to pushing education reform.

Then there is the manure.

Ten thousand tons of manure, to be exact. Horse manure.

As chairman of the Board of Examiners, Sandoval on Tuesday found himself dealing with the earthy subject.

Turns out, there is a whole lot of manure at the Silver State Industries’ Ranch, where there is a wild horse training program operated by inmates at the Carson City-based Stewart Conservation Camp. There is a commercial dairy as well.

The manure has piled up and can’t be used in compost operations because of the enormous volume. Because of environmental concerns, the manure needed to be relocated.

The board, which includes Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller, approved a $50,000 contract with High Sierra Trees & Landscaping to transport the manure to the Bently Agrowdynamics’ compost yard in Minden. The company will accept the manure for free.

Sandoval asked a couple of questions about the contract, mostly out of curiosity.

“It works well for the state, and it works well for Bently Nevada,” he said with a laugh.

With the manure problem solved, it was back to the serious business of running the state.

— Sean Whaley


While Nevada legislators seemingly are heading toward approval of an annual sessions resolution, Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, made an excellent speech during a Tuesday evening hearing on why Nevada should stick to 120-day, every-other-year sessions.

“I don’t want to be a full-time legislator,” she said. “You forgot who you are and who you represent. Nevada is unique. With a small-town syndrome in many ways. At home, I work full time. I am a mom. I am a grandmother and I am a wife. I still want to go to the grocery store and know what a gallon of milk costs.”

It’s $3.39 in the Carson City Target, Marilyn. Those with long memories may know that the first President George Bush could not say how much milk cost at a town hall meeting. He lost his re-election bid.

The enabling resolution to bring a 90-day session during odd-numbered years and 30-day session in even numbered years has a long way to go before it ends up on the ballot for voters in 2016. On the legislative website, Nevadans can voice their support for or against any bill. The annual session resolution as of Friday was backed by eight people — with 157 in opposition.

— Ed Vogel

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley
@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900.

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