Week in Political Cartoons ~ W/E May 10, 2019

Week in Political Cartoons ~ W/E May 3, 2019

Editorial: Minimum wage hike will increase prices and crime

by Thomas Mitchell

Despite all the evidence that it will do more harm than good, a bill to raise the minimum wage in Nevada is still wending its way through the halls of the Legislature in Carson City.

Assembly Bill 456 would raise the minimum wage 75 cents per hour each year as it climbs from the current $7.25 per hour for those receiving company health insurance and $8.25 for those not insured until it reaches $11 or $12 per hour.

In his State of the State speech, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak called for raising the minimum wage and declared, “It’s impossible for an individual, let alone a family, to live on $7.25 an hour,” ignoring the fact almost no one “lives” on minimum wage. Fewer than 3 percent of workers are paid the minimum wage and most of them are under age 25 and working part-time. Most are supplementing family income rather than being self-supporting.

In fact, raising the minimum wage often results in jobs being cut and/or working hours reduced. One study found the average low-wage worker in Seattle lost $125 a month because the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour.

Now, a recent study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that raising the minimum wage can harm even those who are not being paid the minimum wage.

Using national crime data from 1998 to 2016, the study found “robust evidence that minimum wage hikes increase property crime arrests among teenagers and young adults ages 16- to-24, a population for whom minimum wages are likely to bind.”

The study projects that raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour nationally would result in approximately 231,000 additional property crimes, costing the nation $1.3 billion. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would generate over 410,000 additional property crimes and $2.4 billion per year in additional crime costs.

“We conclude that increasing the minimum wage will at best be ineffective at deterring crime and at worst will have unintended consequences that increase property crime among young adults,” the study authors concluded. They said that previous studies that projected a decrease in crime due to raising the minimum wage ignored the possibility of hours being cut and jobs being lost.

Don’t ignore the costs imposed on everyone when the minimum wage is hiked. A Cato Institute analysis in 2012 found that a “comprehensive review of more than 20 minimum wage studies looking at price effects found that a 10 percent increase in the U.S. minimum wage raises food prices by up to 4 percent and overall prices by up to 0.4 percent.”

The Congressional Budget Office in 2014 estimated that if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 an hour — as proposed by President Obama and others — up to a million workers would lose their jobs.

According to the American Enterprise Institute, when the minimum wage rose 41 percent between 2007 and 2009, the jobless rate for 16- to 19-year-olds increased by 10 percentage points, from about 16 percent in 2007 to more than 26 percent in 2009 — even higher for minorities.

Without those entry level jobs younger Americans cannot build the skills needed to earn higher pay for a lifetime.

Still another Heritage study reported that every dollar increase in minimum wage really only raises take-home pay by 20 cents once welfare benefits are reduced and taxes are increased.

It’s the immutable law of unintended consequences. Lawmakers should abandon their support for this bill, which would cause more harm than good.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: Minimum wage hike will increase prices and crime


Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters “irrelevant”

by Thomas Mitchell

The Nevada Assembly voted 23-17 this past week to cut the impact of your presidential vote by at least a third.

Assembly Bill 186 would have Nevada join something called the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.” Instead of awarding Nevada’s six electoral votes — one for each representative and senator in Congress — according to how Nevadans vote, those six electoral votes would be awarded to the president and vice president team that wins the popular vote nationally.

One could say this cuts the value of Nevada’s votes from six to four, since the votes nationwide would be proportional to population. Or one could say it negates our votes entirely since it matters not how we vote.

Not a single Assembly Republican voted for the bill and five Democrats had the good sense to reject this attempt to emasculate the federalist system on which this country was founded.

If only three state Senate Democrats have the temerity to buck their party leadership and reject AB186 it would fail.

An email to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office asking whether he would sign or veto the bill should it pass did not garner a response.

Backers say the compact would become a reality if it is adopted by states possessing a combined 270 electoral votes, or a majority of the 538 electoral votes. A similar bill passed in Colorado earlier this year, giving the proposal 181 electoral votes, just 89 votes short of becoming binding.

A similar measure passed the Nevada Assembly in 2009 on a party-line vote but failed to come up for a vote in the state Senate.

The instigation for the current push is the fact that in 2016 Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by 304 to 227, though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million.

If the National Popular Vote had been in force in 2000 Nevada’s then four electoral votes would have been enough to flip the election to Al Gore, even though George W. Bush won the popular vote in Nevada by 49.5 percent to 46 percent, winning every county except Clark. Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266, but lost the popular vote by 540,000.

Janine Hansen, state president of the Nevada Families for Freedom, mentioned just such a scenario in testimony opposing AB186.

“There are three dangers I’d like to mention with the National Popular Vote,” Hansen testified. “One is the National Popular Vote will potentially betray the voters of our own state. If our state voted for candidate A and the National Popular Vote winner was candidate B, our votes would be stolen from our desire and given to the National Popular Vote winner, betraying the voters in this state. I think there would be a lot of angry voters if they found out that that’s what happened.”

Hansen also noted there is no national authority for determining the accuracy of the National Popular Vote.

In his testimony, Jim DeGraffenreid, vice chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, pointed out Nevada is currently a battleground state, getting significant attention from national candidates. He said the state’s first-in-the-West caucuses provide opportunities for all Nevadans to participate.

“The Electoral College exists because the Framers of the Constitution believed that each state should matter in selecting the president,” DeGraffenreid testified. “It is designed to protect the smaller states like Nevada. To suggest that a state should disregard its own voters and instead follow the will of voters in some other state is the exact opposite of what the Framers intended.”

He said the bill could make Nevada voters irrelevant.

The Founders created the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate to assure the smaller populated states were not relegated to powerlessness in a one person-one vote system. The states were meant to be sovereign and to hold the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government.

The National Review pointed out in a recent article that using 2016’s turnout stats a candidate could have won 54 percent of the vote in 48 states, losing only California, New York and D.C., but if an opponent won 75 percent of the vote in just those three locales, a 451 to 87 electoral vote landslide would have turned into a popular-vote defeat to 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent — even though the voters in 48 states rejected that candidate.

Should Nevada surrender its presidential votes to California and New York?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Source: Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters irrelevant


Nevada DMV offers gender-neutral driver’s licenses, ID cards

April 22, 2019 - 1:38 pm

Nevada residents who don’t identify with a specific gender now have the option to remain gender-neutral on state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles announced Monday that residents can choose gender “X” on their IDs, marking the final step in a year’s long effort to update policies toward transgender residents and those who don’t identify as either male or female sexes.

“The DMV is committed to being inclusive and realizes some people don’t want to be forced to identify as either male or female,” said Julie Butler, DMV director in a statement. “We would like to thank the Nevada community groups who brought these issues to our attention and worked with us to bring about the changes.”

A gender change to a license or ID must be completed in person at a DMV office. Applicants can also identify male by choosing “M” and female my picking “F,” according to the DMV.

Last year, the department changed its regulations to allow applicants to self-certify the gender on their ID with no further documentation required. The DMV completed the computer programming required to enable the “X” designation to be printed on the license and shared to outside agencies such as law enforcement and courts.

The DMV has worked to be in line with other agencies, including the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, which changed its rules in 2016, allowing people to change the gender on their birth certificate.

In 2011 the Legislature added gender identity as a protected category in employment discrimination.

Nevada is the 10th U.S. jurisdiction to offer a gender-neutral designation on IDs, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. Arkansas, California, the District of Columbia, Minnesota and Oregon allow self-certification, like Nevada. Colorado, Indiana, Maine and Vermont require documentation.

Maryland is slated to begin offering Gender X later this year.

Source: Nevada DMV offers gender-neutral driver’s licenses, ID cards


Editorial: An aspect of the Equality Act would erase social norms

by Thomas Mitchell

The Equality Act admirably sets out to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” as protected from discrimination in public accommodations and employment.

It is sponsored in the House by all but one Democrat — including Nevada Reps. Dina Titus, Steven Horsford and Susie Lee. A companion bill in the Senate is sponsored by all but one Democrat — including Nevada Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jackie Rosen.

Unfortunately, the bill would curtail free speech rights, religious freedoms and gender privacy for the vast majority of Americans.

As the Heritage Foundation points out the Equality Act would force schools, churches, hospitals, businesses and others to accommodate anyone’s “chosen gender” instead of their actual “biological sex.” This would mean that females would be forced to share bathrooms, locker rooms and dormitories with males who “identify” as women.

It also would mean such males who “identify” as females would be allowed to compete in athletics against biological females, even though biological males tend to be faster and stronger than biological females.

There are already a number of cases across the nation in which males have won championships in various sports at the expense of actual women and girls. Might males snatch athletic scholarships from females? Is that equality?

Heritage further notes, “Medical professionals would be pressured to provide gender-affirming treatments like puberty blockers and hormones — these are irreversible decisions that have not been shown to help mental health while creating a litany of permanent physical health problems. Subjecting children to such radical procedures is even more dubious when one considers that 80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria no longer feel distressed by their bodies after puberty.”

Julia Beck of the liberal Women’s Liberation Front has declared that as written the Equality Act is a violation of basic human rights. “Every person in the country will lose our right to single sex sports, shelters, grants and loans. … We will no longer be able to distinguish between women and men,” she argues.

Beck testified before a House committee that the Equality Act would require admitting male rapists into female prisons, males would have to be allowed into shelters for abused women, men could dominate women’s sports and much more.

Beck told the committee she had no problem with protecting against discrimination due to sexual orientation, but asked that the gender identity portion be struck.

Gender is immutable. It is fundamental down to the chromosomes. To declare otherwise is delusional. To force the vast majority to surrender modesty and safety for the sake of accommodating a tiny deluded minority is just wrong. Separate accommodations for those with gender dysphoria, perhaps, but not access to properly gender segregated facilities and activities.

Our representatives in the House and Senate should rethink this drastic reshaping of social norms.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: An aspect of the Equality Act would erase social norms


Legal complaint: lobbyist submitted false testimony to aid in bill’s passage – Nevada Policy Research Institute

Legal complaint: lobbyist submitted false testimony to aid in bill’s passage

The Legislature cannot effectively serve the public if policy is being shaped based on outright falsehoods and misinformation, which is why it is illegal to knowingly submit false testimony before a legislative committee.

Nevada Policy has alerted Legislative Counsel Bureau Director Rick Combs and the attorney general’s office to what appears to be a clear violation of NRS 218E.085(2) — the state law that makes it a crime to knowingly misrepresent any fact when testifying before a legislative committee.

The false statements were made by lobbyist Marlene Lockard during the March 1, 2019 Senate Government Affairs Committee hearing on SB224 — the PERS secrecy bill.

Ms. Lockard appeared on behalf of the Retired Public Employees of Nevada (RPEN), and was featured as part of Senator Julia Ratti’s formal presentation for Senate Bill 224.

As part of this formal presentation, Ms. Lockard relied almost entirely on known falsehoods when explaining why the secrecy proposed by SB224 is ostensibly necessary.

Specifically, Lockard told the committee that passing SB224 was necessary because of a recent court order that allegedly requires PERS to disclose its members’ passports, addresses of ex-spouses, birth certificates and other similarly invasive information. In reality, no such court order exists and none of that information is, nor has it ever been, public under Nevada law.

Given the status bestowed upon her by Senator Ratti, Ms. Lockard’s demonstrably false comments were accorded extra weight. Indeed, the first time a member of the committee had a question about SB224, that question was posed to, and answered by, Ms. Lockard rather than the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ratti.

More information about that hearing can be found here.

Because the knowingly false statements were made specifically to justify the secrecy proposed by SB224, and were made by a paid lobbyist invited by the bill’s sponsor to help present the bill, they represent precisely the type of deception NRS 218E.085(2) was designed to prevent, according to NPRI Policy Director Robert Fellner.

“It is fine to have different policy views and argue those differences vigorously,” Fellner said. “But I think we all would agree that enacting law based on falsehoods and misinformation is wrong, and erodes confidence in our public institutions.”

“It is hard enough for ordinary Nevadans to be engaged with the legislative process thanks to the proliferation of tax-funded government lobbyists and other special-interest groups,” Fellner continued. “Requiring that citizens fact-check all of the claims made by those who help introduce bills is an impossible task, which is precisely why Nevada state law prohibits the making of knowingly false testimony before the Legislature.”

“NPRI has long fought for transparency in government,” Fellner added. “Nowhere is transparency more important than in the legislative process. We hope that legislators remember their duty to serve the public and ensure any bills brought on behalf of lobbyists are done so in an open and honest manner.”

A copy of the complaint can be viewed by clicking here.

Source: Legal complaint: lobbyist submitted false testimony to aid in bill's passage - Nevada Policy Research Institute




“One Nevada lawmaker’s journey from silence to action” does not mean it’s Good Law.

An April Fools day article by Colton Lochhead in the Las Vegas Review-Journal perhaps, by many, could be considered an Aprill Fools Prank if it were not so serious to everyone attending the joint Assembly-Senate hearing in Carson city on AB291, introduced this session by Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui.

The article, chronicles, Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui’s journey from Route 91 as a participant in the most horrific mass shooting in our countries history.  It was a horrific and tragic night for those that died, those that were injured, everyone who was there, their friends, their families and everyone else that learned of/or watched any of the media and images about the incident.

“Vegas Strong” became the mantra of everyone everywhere as victims, friends, families, neighbors, emergency personnel and everyone else that was touched by the incident, whether they were there or not.

Las Vegas Metro is still slowly releasing documentation from the incident over a year later.

I do not know anyone that was Not horribly impacted as a result of that event. However, what we do with those feelings and emotions is important too.

Writing and passing a law, that nowhere within its text, purpose or understanding, does one additional thing that could prevent such a horrific event from happening again in the future, is not productive use for all of our emotions of this incident.

Please don’t let all of these very real legitimate emotions cause us to do things that won’t help our community and in fact actually will complicate our lives.

“BumpStock”,  a legally acquired accessory for sport shooting, was part of what was used by the shooter that night.  Basically, a tool that lets the forces of the firing of the gun continue the firing via the shooter’s finger without the shooter squeezing the trigger over and over again.  Many believed that automatic weapon/s were being fired that night.

The device is scary to many people both as an observer and many as actual shooters also.  AB291 starts as a state law making “BumpStock” accessories illegal without clearly defining what they are and how they do it.

In spite of the fact that the Federal Government has already made these devices illegal through regulation that became effective just two weeks ago, there is no amendment to take this language out of the bill. This language is unnecessary and redundant in intention as the current federal law.  The vague and dangerous method of defining what was used has great potential to impact good honest citizens unintentionally.  This part of the bill has absolutely no additional benefit to the people of Nevada and their safety.

The next issue with the bill is not clear to anyone without a bit of knowledge about Nevada state gun law history.  Current Nevada laws referred to as preemptive are on the books that have removed the power of local government, cities, and counties, to make gun-related law or ordinances that are not codified in state law.

The reasons and intentions of the Nevada Legislature were very practical and important then as they are today. They made it so that the very mobile population and tourists could move about through the whole state and know that they are not accidentally violating gun laws when they move from city to city or county to county or between a city and unincorporated county.

The language above and beyond the unnecessary “BumpStock” related restrictions discussed above are intent on one purpose and one purpose only, to add more confusion and bureaucracy to the daily lives and gun laws of our state by removing the current preemptions.

I urge our state legislators to amend, removing such language before any consideration of the bill ab291.

Last but not least. a third aspect of the new law being put forth here is changing the Blood Alcohol Level restriction to be the same as they are in motor vehicle DUI laws, 0.08. The only aspect of this bill ab291 that has any practical credibility or value to the population of Nevada.

Selling this legislation to the people of Nevada as an effective hinderance above and beyond any of the currently enacted Federal Regulations on “BumpStocks”, is not only unjust, deceiving and purely unethical, but dishonors everyone that was killed, injured or impacted by the events of 1 October.


Autopsy Results – Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, died of heart attack

Brothel owner Dennis Hof, who won a Nevada Assembly seat after his October death, died of a heart attack, according to his autopsy.

Hof, 72, suffered a heart attack due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease, the Clark County coroner’s office report said. Other significant conditions in his death included diabetes and obesity.

Hof also had marijuana chemical compound THC and sildenafil, which can treat erectile dysfunction, in his system at the time of his death, the report said.

The autopsy was released by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon, several months after his Oct. 16 death.

In November, Hof won a seat representing District 36 in the Nevada Assembly.

Source: Dennis Hof, Nevada brothel owner, died of heart attack


Rick Perry agrees to provide timeline on removing plutonium from Nevada

By Colton Lochhead ~ Special to the Pahrump Valley Times ~ March 27, 2019 – 7:00 am

Earlier this month, Cortez Masto pledged to hold up nominees for the U.S. Department of Energy until she received a commitment from Perry that no more plutonium would be shipped into the state and a time frame for when the half-metric ton that the Energy Department already shipped to a federal site roughly 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas last fall would be removed.

Rick Perry, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017.

Cortez Masto, speaking to reporters in Carson City after addressing a joint session of the Nevada Legislature, said Perry called her earlier this month to voice his concerns with her hold on his department’s nominees. She said she wanted his commitment in writing before she would lift her hold.

“We had a very good, cordial conversation. He said he would give me that commitment, so we left that conversation with both of us agreeing to have designated staff to work on the written letter, and we’ll go from there,” Cortez Masto said March 20.

The state’s senior senator said they discussed a three- to five-year time frame, but she added she’s “waiting to see what I have in writing.”

In August, the Energy Department sent a letter to Nevada officials, notifying them of plans to ship half a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada National Security Site in Nye County.

The state filed an injunction in late November asking a federal court to block the Trump administration from shipping the radioactive material.

But weeks after the case was argued in federal court, the Energy Department disclosed that it already had shipped the plutonium into the state sometime before November, which drew rebukes from Gov. Steve Sisolak, Cortez Masto and Nevada’s other federal delegates.

U.S. Sen. Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, was one of 10 Democrats to support Rick Perry’s nomination as energy secretary in 2017.

Cortez Masto was one of 10 Democrats to support Perry’s nomination as energy secretary in 2017.

Last week, she said she regrets that vote because of the way he and the Energy Department handled the plutonium shipment and Perry’s push to revive Yucca Mountain.

“The conversations we had in private in my office at the time there in the Senate turned out to be very different than what his commitment is now,” Cortez Masto said. “What I was looking for was somebody who was willing to work with me and with the state of Nevada and be candid. What I saw here, just shipping this plutonium here, they weren’t even candid with the federal court.”

“I think it was outrageous and unconscionable that not only would the Energy Department disregard the governor and governor’s staff, but then lie to a federal court about it,” she said.

Source: Rick Perry agrees to provide timeline on removing plutonium from Nevada