Duty to the people

So, the Nevada Legislature finally passed an $836 million tax package after submitting Nevada citizens and the state’s reputation to national ridicule. The funding of education vs. the two-thirds tax-raising supermajority came to loggerheads at the Nevada Supreme Court, and the two-thirds supermajority lost—temporarily—although the package was eventually passed with a two-thirds vote.

And we’re supposed to be happy about this? To call the creeps who had to be forced to do their duty “heroes"? Not by a long shot. By her announcement that she would not run for the Legislature again, Dawn Gibbons became the only legislator with the gumption to at least acknowledge the shame that was brought upon her constituents—and she wasn’t even one of the creeps.

There is more analysis to do before all the ramifications of this tax package are known, but it is clear that the losers in this whole drama were the residents of the state of Nevada. Another thing that’s clear is that legislators who run for office for the wrong reasons and who gain support for the wrong reasons will go to any length to derail the thing they are sworn to uphold—the Nevada Constitution.

Our Supreme Court held that education had a higher priority in the bigger constitutional picture than the two-thirds majority, but there are many ideals that should have even higher status in the minds of our legislators.

For example, isn’t our government instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people? Not the businesses, not the special interests, not even the voters, but the people? Isn’t that the highest principle, the very purpose of government? Our state constitution says it is.

When a minority of legislators act in ways that endanger the protection, security and benefit of the people, doesn’t this show a disdain for the constitution and the people it was written to serve?

The legislators abdicated their duty when they didn’t resolve the tax issue on or before the 120th day the legislative session. It was not up to legislators to force the governor to call special session after special session with their bad-faith negotiations. That’s neither their right nor their responsibility. It was up to legislators to come up with a budget and income package before the deadline. They didn’t.

Before legislators like Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick look into hiring attorneys to dispute the Nevada Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Nevada Constitution, maybe they should take a look into their own hearts to decide whether, by refusing to legislate the funding of government, as mandated by the constitution, and by forcing two special legislative sessions, they engendered the so-called “constitutional crisis,” which had a hell of a lot less to do with the protection, security and benefit of the people than it had to do with the protection, security and benefit of business and certain legislators’ egos.

Registered to vote? If you don’t vote, you may find that decisions made in 2004 aren’t to your liking. Mail-in voter registrations can be picked up at United States Post Offices, Washoe County Library branches, University of Nevada, Reno’s ASUN office or Getchell Library, Truckee Meadows Community College Library, front desk and Associated Students’ Office, Nevada Bell’s Vassar Street office, Sierra Pacific Power Company’s office on Neil Road or the Registrar of Voters Office on East Ninth Street.