Commentary: A new bureaucracy is created by Nancy Dallas, Editor/Publisher of News Desk by Nancy Dallas www.ndbynd.com June 26, 2015
Needed or not – in its waning days, the legislature determined we will all be reissued new license plates – every eight years.
How long have you had the license plates on your car? RV? Utility trailer? How are they looking? Are they rusted and/or faded? Or are they looking pretty good?
Beginning July 1, 2016 it really won’t matter. Beginning on that date the DMV will begin enforcement of AB 484, passed in the last days of the 2015 legislative session. So, every eight years, regardless of the actual condition of your Nevada license plates, you will be required to replace them with shiny, brand new plates.
According to DMV testimony, “It is estimated that 26-percent of existing Nevada license plates exceed the eight year mark and will be eligible for reissue. The Department will focus on the license plates which have been in service the longest first; knowing they have the greatest need for replacement.”
There is no room for consideration as to whether they actually need replacement.
This is one of the more inane, unnecessary bills to come out of the recent legislative session.
The stated logic behind this program is to ensure all Nevada plates are in compliance with reflectivity, legibility and readability standards. According to DMV projections, this will require the production and distribution of approximately 700,000 additional license plates per year. I assume it also means 700,000 plates will have to be disposed of, too.
In addition, the DMV will soon begin issuing embossed license plates. The replacement of the now undesirable flat plate design will naturally occur over an eight year period. It was the state who determined the flat plates were to be issued in the first place.
DMV, also, in arguing for passage of AB 484 and the high volume of needed plates, noted per plate replacement pricing will be lower. If the bill did not pass, needed plate replacement costs to the owner would be higher. Of course, prior to the bill being passed, only those who genuinely need a new plate would have to pay! Now we all get to pay that “lower” cost.
In response to my questions regarding the impact and implementation of this legislation, the Legislative Council Bureau very efficiently provided me with the following information:
The Legislature approved the Governor’s recommendation for a second production shift to produce the plates
This shift will consist of three new positions (Program Officer, Driver Warehouse Worker, Maintenance Repair Aid) and 20 minimum-security inmates from the Stewart Conservation Camp.
The projected cost to replace two standard plates is $9.00 ($3.50 per plate; 50-cents license plate Prison industry fee; and $1.00 DMV Technology Fee to cover the two-plate transaction). Postage does not appear to be included in this.
At the $3.50 fee level, estimated revenues in the 2016-17 Fiscal Year would be approximately $2.1 million and $352,222 for special plates, totaling approximately $2.4 million over the 2015-17 biennium.
The estimated costs for three new positions, vendor costs, materials, utilities, postage, etc. is approximately $2.2 million for the 2016-17 Fiscal Year.
In explaining their plans for implementation, DMV officials testified they would start with older, more worn out plates and work forward.
The above are estimates and could vary with fluctuations in material costs. Production is slated to begin in July 2016.
DMV officials testified this program should not have any impact on wait times at DMV offices, because the new license plate transaction will be conducted at the same time customers renew their vehicle registration and said the new plates will be mailed to the customer. What is the cost of mailing a set of plates? (It is my understanding you will be able to retain your specialty plate design and numbers.)
Currently, when plates are observed by law enforcement officials to be out of compliance, aren’t the offenders cited and given the opportunity to replace the plates? This seems a much less costly and more efficient system than an ongoing replacement program for all plates, regardless of their condition. Just because a plate is older does not mean it is worn out and unreadable.
What is the plan for disposal of all the used plates? Are they to be turned in, or is it left to the owner to dispose of them as they wish? Did anyone consider the waste involved here? Perhaps this will create a whole new industry – license plate recycling.
There are still questions to be asked and answers needed. It is sort of like the Affordable Care Act – we will find out what is in it and the impacts now that it is passed. My bet is this program is going to be much more costly than projected!
(At the end of this commentary is a summary of SB252 and a listing of fees per a business’ gross revenue)
I am not writing this commentary to express a pro or con opinion in regards to efforts by our Legislature and Governor to generate additional revenue; or, whether or not there is an actual need for additional revenue.
I am writing this in complete opposition to SB252 – the Gross Receipts tax, passed by the Nevada State Senate April 21 – as a means of raising additional revenue. It is now on the Assembly side of the legislative process.
Understanding that politics is politics and trying as hard as I can to not be too judgmental, I am very disheartened by the philosophical betrayal of so many of our elected Republican officials….(not to mention being totally embarrassed by the antics and juvenile behavior of some, but that is not my issue today.)
How am I (or any Republican) supposed to understand how the Republican majority in our State Senate (7 of our 11 Senators) can vote to pass a budget bill (AB252) that mirrors the gross receipts ballot initiative (Margins Tax) that voters of this state overwhelmingly defeated in the same election cycle during which many of these same legislators were running for their current offices.
While he has done many good things for this state and has obviously strong feelings for improving our public school system, how could the Governor even consider presenting to the legislature a revenue plan based on this failed ballot initiative. It is insulting, disrespectful and a slap in the face to those who put their trust in him.
In November 2014, the Gross Receipts, AKA “Margin Tax”, ballot initiative was defeated by the following “margin vote” of Nevada residents:
The Nevada AFL-CIO filed the initiative, but later passed a resolution to officially oppose the measure. In their official statement, they said it would “cost many of our members their jobs and raise the cost of living on Nevadans on a fixed income and on citizens that are still struggling to make ends meet after years of a terrible recession.”
There is a reason there are only five states with a gross receipts tax. The people of Nevada spoke loud and clear – they do not want one in Nevada!
If a Republican candidate truly believes this is the best means of raising additional revenue, then run on a platform based on a ‘gross receipts’ tax? Why did the seven Republican Senators who supported this bill not openly state they support imposing a massive new negative, and for many – deadly, financial impact on the businesses in our state; and, ultimately, support imposing an additional negative financial impact on every resident of this state?
To add to my disappointment with what I consider to be a betrayal of political integrity, I read this quote from a Democrat Senator following the vote, “We have been pushing this for the last 10 years….now finally they (R’s) gave us seven votes. This is our idea. This is our issue and we have wanted this for a long time.”
Well, I guess they are lucky the Republicans took over the majority of the Senate. The state Democrat Party should help us do this more often!!
SB252 is now in the hands of the Assembly, where it is expected to face a more challenging debate. The Assembly Taxation Committee has their own tax revenue proposal, centered on expanding the State Payroll Tax in lieu of the Gross Receipts Tax. Perhaps history will repeat itself (mirroring the 2003 Legislative battles, where, after two special sessions, Gov. Guinn’s proposed gross receipts tax was replaced with a payroll tax, aka modified business tax). I am hoping that we will see some additional and beneficial debate on this entire issue in the coming weeks.
If the possibility of this Gross Receipts Tax (SB252) becoming Nevada law alarms you, I strongly suggest you start letting your legislators know NOW. More information in regards to SB252 can be found on the following link:
Existing law imposes an annual fee of $200 for a state business license that must be paid to the Secretary of State. (NRS 76.100, 76.130) On July 1, 2015, this fee is scheduled to change to $100. (Chapter 429, Statutes of Nevada 2009, as last amended by chapter 518, Statutes of Nevada 2013, at p. 3426) Section 163 of this bill repeals the provisions of existing law governing the annual state business license fee, and section 19 of this bill instead requires a person who conducts a business in this State to pay a state business license fee that is based on the industry in which the business is primarily engaged and the Nevada gross revenue of the business.
Reality: Stronger Voter ID legislation will not happen by Nancy Dallas, Editor/Publisher of News Desk by Nancy Dallas www.ndbynd.com April 4, 2015
Support of stronger identification requirements in order to vote has long been one of the most vocal issues of the Republican Party. With Democrats controlling at least one legislative house, if not both, for many years, the issue has been dead in Nevada. With a now strong Republican majority in both legislative houses and the Governor’s office, it appears the issue is still dead.
There are three Republican sponsored bills – SB169, AB253, AB266. To this point, AB253 and AB266 are sitting in the Assembly Ways & Means Committee. Of the 15 members on the Ways & Means Committee, there are nine Republicans and six Democrats. Of the nine Republicans, six have signed onto one or more of the Voter ID bills; however, three of the Republican members have not signed onto any voter ID bill, including the Ways & Means Chair. The Chair has control over what bills will be heard and which will remain “in the drawer”.
In regards to SB169, which is sitting in the Senate Finance Committee, there is a similar situation. This bill was introduced by Senators Settelmeyer, Goicoechea and Gustavson (and signed onto by six Assemblymen); however, of the four Republicans on the Finance Committee, three have not signed onto any voter ID bill – including the Chair & Vice-Chair.
These bills will never be voted out of their current committees, if they are even actually heard. If such a miracle did happen, there remains the reality of not having the votes in either the Senate or Assembly to pass it on to the Governor’s desk.
There is not a Democrat who will vote for such a bill and it appears there are five Republican Assemblymen and eight Republican Senators who will not support it either. If the votes were there, there would have been a voter ID bill on the Governor’s desk long ago. And – if a voter ID bill actually did make it to the Governor’s desk, would he sign it?
I can find no logical reason (political motivation is not a logical or ethical reason) to oppose requiring stronger proof of identity than signing the voter log on voting day.
Stronger voter ID laws have been passed and challenged in several states. (31 states have some form of a voter ID law in effect) Without going into great detail, they vary in strength in regards to requiring all or some of the following: Photo ID, proof of citizenship, voter registration requirements, signature requirements, absentee and early voting restrictions.
Opponents cite such bills as discriminatory to the elderly, poor and minorities and too expensive to implement.
I simply do not agree and ask, “Where is your proof of such assertions?”
A public statement by Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley that “Black voter turnout in 2012 exceeded the rate of white voter turnout, even in the states with the strictest voter ID laws” has been verified as true. According to a July 17, 2014 investigative article by Linda Qiu, “Riley obtained his statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. The federal data agency indicated in a 2013 report that the black voting rate (66.2 percent) indeed surpassed the white voting rate (64.1 percent) by 2.1 percentage points in the 2012 elections.”
Here are some numbers from the 2012 elections, showing black voter rates as high or higher than white voter rates:
Missouri: Black voter turnout higher by more than 6-percent
Tennessee: Black voter turnout higher by more than 6-percent.
Georgia: Black voter turnout higher by 0 to 5.9-percent
Indiana: Black voter turnout higher by 0-5.9-percent
Virginia: Black voter turnout higher by 0 to 5.9-percent
The implementation of stronger voter ID laws is relatively new and many states have had them legally challenged. A few have been struck down by their state courts, others, when challenged, amended their laws to comply with state court orders.
In regards to implementation of stronger voter ID laws, opponents have cited costs of millions; however, in recent testimony before the Operations & Elections committee, DMV representatives estimated the initial cost to be around $300,000 and about $6,000 every two years after that. They projected that about 5-percent of registered voters don’t have a form of identification.
If we could take the union influence out of the picture, with even handed debate and consideration of compromises to the proposals, stronger ID requirements could easily be achieved – without costing voters a cent, or discrimination against any demographic group; however, in the reality of this year’s Republican controlled legislature, it is not likely to happen.
Not with what the Republican opponents to stronger voter ID guidelines fear the consequences could be in 2016 if they betray their benefactors!!
Color me gray by Nancy Dallas, Editor/Publisher of News Desk by Nancy Dallas www.ndbynd.com February 21, 2015
While I may disagree on some details relating to some issues, I really am not having any major problems with the Republican legislative agenda and the unusually efficient manner Republicans are addressing them in this session (Construction defect reform, Prevailing wage; Voter ID, et al); however, when it comes to any and all actions and debate relating to budget issues, I am having a terrible time trying to figure where I stand in this moderate vs conservative, name-calling, threat filled, no compromise Republican legislative budget debate – other than knowing I do not fully agree with either extreme’s all black or all white stances…no new taxes, period or the Governor’s budget as presented.
I do know, however:
I am disgusted with the treatment of our conservative Republican State Treasurer by our Republican moderate State Senators on the Finance Committee. The committee acted and sounded like bloviated fools with all their pontificating, hollering and unseemly conduct. This was a very unbefitting manner for any elected state official to act toward another elected official. It was a sloppy display of attempted intimidation – intended, I suppose, to ward off any other attempts to disrupt a no-compromise, no discussion Governor’s budget agenda. Perhaps these individuals should remember that our State Treasurer was elected to office by a considerable number of more voters than any sitting legislator. He represents the State. Senators serve the State, but are elected representatives of just one of 21 districts. And, while agreement is not necessary, I think some level of respect should be shown to an individual with the financial knowledge our State Treasurer possesses.
I am disgusted with the recall efforts aimed at the Assembly Speaker and at least one other Assemblyman - actions taken for the sole purpose of intimidating those who have apparently waffled a bit (Illustrated by various conversations with their colleagues, the media and others.) after signing the “no new taxes pledge”…..before any committee hearings or votes have been held. Hardly grounds for a recall election. If you haven’t noticed, while it is not a commendable trait, it is a common trait amongst politicians of all leanings to talk out of more than one side of one’s mouth – but this is not a criminal act (or President Obama would be sitting in jail with a life sentence!). Each Assemblyman will be answering to the voters in a year, regardless, so in my opinion it is a childishly vengeful action by an element bent solely on intimidation and embarrassment. It belittles the true intent of a recall effort.
I am disgusted with the intimidating brouhaha over whether a candidate or elected official signs or does not sign the “no new taxes pledge”. Personally, I see no sense in signing it and would not if presented with the opportunity as a candidate. Much too much is made of it for those who do sign it and much too much is made of negatively branding those who don’t. The Republican philosophy leans toward lower taxes, less government intrusion in our lives and the subsequent growth of businesses/economy. Why insist one must sign a pledge to get that point across to the voters? And, as has been proven, it is a hard pledge to keep once elected and one is faced with the harsh realities of governing and politics - even if one means well. For those who sign it simply for the electoral benefits, it is meaningless.
I am disgusted with those who have signed it only for the electoral benefits and, subsequently, willfully and scornfully renege on that pledge – just as I am disgusted with those who renege on any campaign pledge once elected. But, it is the voters who bear the responsibility to oust them the next time they run for office. If not enough people vote to unseat them – it simply proves the majority of voters do not take the tax pledge, or other broken campaign promises, as seriously as some think they should.
I am disgusted with those voters who base their vote for or against a candidate solely on whether they have signed the pledge or not.
And lastly, I am disgusted and fearful that now that we finally have a session controlling number of Republicans sitting in our Nevada elected offices (legislative and constitutional), the moderates and conservatives are both so afraid of their benefactors’ shadows that November’s triumphs will result in another budget gridlock; that with all the power now in Republican hands to finally accomplish something genuinely fiscally positive for our State, this year’s budget result will be no different than past efforts – simply because those who control the process (Republicans - moderates and conservatives) will not remove themselves from their benefactor’s shadows and their respective “my way or no way”, all black or all white stances.
What the heck is a caucus, anyway? by Nancy Dallas, Editor/Publisher of News Desk by Nancy Dallas www.ndbynd.com January 10, 2015
The 2015 Nevada Republican Assembly Caucus has certainly done its best to make the word a very prominent part of the Nevada political vocabulary for 2015; but, how many actually know what a caucus is, its intent and its status within the Legislative world?
By definition, a caucus is a group of people with shared concerns within a political party or organization. A caucus is, in essence, a private ‘club’. It is not required an individual be a member of this ‘club’. And, I imagine if a majority of a particular caucus so chose, a member could be tossed out of the ‘club’. A political caucus has no legal binding to or official place in the legislature. A political caucus is not governed by any legislative rules, even if it just happens that the members of this ‘club’ are elected State Legislators.
If they wished, the ‘conservatives’ within the Republican Assembly could form a caucus; as could the ‘moderates’; as could the women; as could the men, and on and on. As it happens, the Republican Assembly members currently have only the Republican Assembly Caucus.
The considerable turmoil within the 2015 Nevada Assembly Caucus over leadership roles raised my curiosity as to why this caucus was formed, for what purpose and its role.
Both the Republican Assembly Caucus and Senate Leadership Conference were formed in 1982, under the direction of Frank Fahrenkopf and other party leadership. According to those I have spoken with who were involved with their inception, the caucuses were formed with the concept of assisting in the recruiting of candidates; helping legislators create and maintain contact with their constituents; assisting legislators in learning new skills in order to do their jobs better; create photo and other PR opportunities; and, to help them create a factual record of what they are doing as their constituents’ representative as a means of assisting them when campaigning for re-election.
There were no ‘rules and regulations’ established – they were formed with the above concept in mind.
Neither the Assembly Caucus nor the Senate Leadership Conference was created to tell or to influence how any elected legislator should vote on any issue.
So, how about the selection of those to serve in leadership positions?
Most legislative party caucuses do not have formal rules for their proceedings. More often, caucus business is governed by informal rules loosely based on senate or house parliamentary procedure, by unwritten caucus traditions or simply by the style of the caucus leader who presides over the meeting.
While there may very well now be some, I have yet to find any set/written rules for the Nevada Republican Assembly Caucus.
Author Michael Bowers obviously did some research in his writing of The Sagebrush State: Nevada’s History, Government, and Politics from 1973. He noted that “until 2013, with the exception of 1985 which I don't have information for, the Assembly Majority Floor Leader was appointed by the Speaker.”
Of course, you need to put this in perspective - the Democrats were the majority party during most of that time – so perhaps you can understand why the Republicans, with their unexpected 25-17 majority in 2015, might be a little rusty in getting the process straight. There is no longer any institutional memory of the process followed in 1985, the last time the Republicans held a majority in the Assembly. (In 1985 Bryon ‘Bill’ Bilyeau was Speaker.) In 1995 there were 21 Republicans and 21 Democrats – Joe Dini (D) and Lynn Hettrick (R) shared the Speaker duties and all other leadership positions were also shared.
The longest serving Republican Legislator in 2015 will be Assemblyman Lynn Stewart. He will be participating in his 5th regular session. Of the 25 Republican Assemblymen, 14 will be participating in their first legislative session. (See the summary of terms served at the end of this commentary.)
It is my understanding that in years past length of tenure was often used to determine a party’s Speaker; however, that doesn’t mean it worked without some discord…..even amongst the Democrats!
So, I would suggest all Republican Assemblymen put their bows and arrows down, quit crying ‘foul’ in regards to leadership roles and how they were arrived at and adjust to the situation within your private ‘club.’ There is much to be done for the good of this state – it is time for each of you to begin showing you are up to the task of governing – and are capable of spending your efforts on issues a bit more important than this continuous petty bickering over leadership roles.
Think about it…
Republican Assemblymen and number of regular sessions: