More important things on legislators’ plates

“Better to be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
—Old saying

The curious thing about citizen legislators, as opposed to full-time career politicians, is that it’s always a toss up over whether it’s better to have part-time screwups or full-time screwups.

As proof, I submit the following for your consideration: Assembly Bill 282. Said bill recently passed the Assembly in Carson City by a vote of 42-0.

The bill as passed begins thusly: “AN ACT relating to domestic violence; revising the list of acts that constitute domestic violence; authorizing a court to include certain protections for domestic animals in an order for protection against domestic violence; providing a penalty; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.”

Sounds pretty good. Something worthy of the time, effort and money spent by our elected officials?

And here is part of NRS 33.018 regarding domestic violence that the act purported to amend:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. NRS 33.018 is hereby amended to read as follows: 33.018 1. Domestic violence occurs when a person commits one of the following acts against or upon his spouse, former spouse, any other person to whom he is related by blood or marriage, a person with whom he is or was actually residing, a person with whom he has had or is having a dating relationship, a person with whom he has a child in common, the minor child of any of those persons or his minor child:

(a) A battery.

(b) An assault.

(c) Compelling the other by force or threat of force to perform an act from which he has the right to refrain or to refrain from an act which he has the right to perform.

(d) A sexual assault.

(e) A knowing, purposeful or reckless course of conduct intended to harass the other. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to:

(1) Stalking.

(2) Arson.

(3) Trespassing.

(4) Larceny.

(5) Destruction of private property.

(6) Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.

(7) Injuring or killing a domestic animal. [Emphasis added.]

(f) A false imprisonment.

(g) Unlawful entry of the other’s residence, or forcible entry against the other’s will if there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to the other from the entry.

Now, lest you missed it, all the hoopla was to add “Injuring or killing a domestic animal” into part of the definition of domestic violence.

I don’t know about you, but I know I feel safer knowing that Fluffy and Fido can get court-ordered protective orders by being specifically included into the provisions of domestic violence.

Then again, it seems a redundant provision considering that one could reasonably assume domestic animals might already be included as part of item five covering the “Destruction of private property,” since animals are by definition private property.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think one should be able to tee up a cat or dog with a nine iron. But then again, I don’t think the problem of domestic violence against animals is such an overwhelming problem that it required the immediate input of our esteemed assembly—particularly when there are more pressing issues in the Silver State to contend with. And if it weren’t bad enough, every single Republican (who should have known better) voted in favor of this amendment.

This perhaps brings us back to that old saying.