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Recommendations for Questions on the Ballot 2018

Question 1: Marsy’s Law Crime Victim’s Rights:

The amendment is named after Marsy Nicholas who was murdered in 1983. It is a constitutional amendment SJR17 which was passed by the Legislature in 2015 with only 6 Democrat Senators and 1 Democrat Assemblyman voting No. In the 2017 Legislature it was passed unanimously. It has now been referred to the people for a vote.

Marsy’s law has passed in 5 states overwhelmingly and is on the ballot in 6 states including Nevada this year.

This Constitutional Amendment will replace the existing protections for victims passed by the people in 1996 in our State Constitution, significantly expanding the number of Constitutional protections for victims. With courts constantly expanding the rights of criminals (which were important to our founders because they were considered the criminals by the British Crown) it has become important to expand the list of protections for victims.

Question 1 is part of a national effort to enact similar amendments providing specific rights for victims of crime. These include: ( a) be treated with fairness and respect and be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse throughout the criminal justice process; (b) be reasonably protected from the defendant; (c) have the safety of the victim and victim’s family considered when setting bail; ( d) prevent release of information the defendant could use to locate the victim; (e) refuse an interview or deposition unless under court order; (f) reasonably confer with the prosecuting agency; (g) reasonable notice of all public proceedings and be present at all public proceedings; (h) be reasonably heard at any public proceeding; (i) timely judgment of a case; (j) provide information to officers concerning the impact of the crime on the victim; (k) be informed of the conviction, sentence, incarceration, and release date of the defendant; (l) full and timely restitution; (m) prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence; (n) be informed of all post-conviction proceedings; (o) have the safety of the victim, the victim’s family, and the public considered before any parole; (p) have restitution money first applied to the amount ordered to the victim and (q) be informed of the rights in the amendment. (Summary from Ballotpedia) Full proposal may be accessed at SJR17 from the 2015 session.

Nevada Families recommends a YES on Question 1.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

KJV 2 Chronicles 7:14

Question 2: Sales Tax Exemption for Feminine Hygiene Products.

This Question is referred for a vote of the people by the Legislature because any amendment to the “Sales and Use Tax Act of 1955” requires a vote of the people. The measure was passed by the 2017 Legislature, unanimously in the State Senate, and with 2 Republicans No votes in the Assembly.

The measure would create a state and local sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products including sanitary napkins and tampons. The exemption would go into effect on January 1, 2019. As of February 1, 2018, 14 states did not have a sales tax on feminine hygiene products. It pains me to support this measure only because the sponsors were all liberal feminist Democrats. However, I am supporting it as it will lower taxes on necessities and help those who are on the economic edge.

Nevada Families recommends a YES on Question 2.

Question 3: “Choice in Energy”

Question 3 is a Constitutional Amendment designed to minimize regulations on the Energy market and eliminate legal energy Monopolies…so called “energy choice”. It already passed in 2016, so if it passes this time it will go into the Constitution.

The first concern is that it should not be a Constitutional Amendment. This argument is well stated by State Controller Ron Knecht. “Constitutions should be limited to fundamental matters of government organization, the rights of citizens, and specifying and limiting the power of government, etc. Under Nevada’s Constitution, the legislature already has the power to do all the good things this measure would require. However, particular provisions of this measure may be found defective or in need of change. As long as such reforms are done legislatively, they can be remedied timely by the legislature. That’s not the case if they are enshrined in the constitution.”

“…Nevada would be the only state to restructure its market by amending its state constitution. Of the 15 other states that have, 14 did it through state Legislatures, while New York did it through a regulatory order issued by its Public Service Commission,” from the Las Vegas Review Journal on July 22, 2018 article “No clear answers on Nevada’s electricity rates if Question 3 passes.”

In the same LVRJ article the Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, which did an extensive study on Question 3, found the answer as to whether Question 3 will result in lower utility bills, a complicated issue without an easy answer.

Many Nevadans likely want to know what will happen with their electricity rates,” the report’s executive summary states. “This report finds that this question cannot be answered with any certainty, because there are too many variables that interact with one another even to produce a reasonable forecast or projection of what may happen to rates under restructuring in Nevada.”

Question 3 directs the Legislature by July 1, 2023, “to establish an open, competitive retail electric energy market.” So, again we really don’t have any idea what the end result of this proposal will be.

Leaving this complicated issue in the hands of the Legislature gives little comfort. The Legislature is fraught with special interests, legislators whose election depends on money from big donors like the casinos, with little understanding manifest as to what are the best interests of the people.

“A report issued in May by the Nevada Public Utilities Commission said Nevadans’ electricity bills would likely increase for at least a decade if Question 3 passes, in large part because of billions of dollars of stranded NV Energy assets for which ratepayers would be on the hook,” LVRJ article.

One other important issue needs to be discussed, who really will benefit. It appears that large casinos are the funders and expected beneficiaries of this proposal. Rarely in my experience at the Legislature do the Casinos’ interests result in benefits to the public. In addition small rural collectives may be at risk.

Nevada Families recommends a NO on Question 3.

Question 4: Sales Tax Exemption for Medical Equipment

If this were proposed as a state statute/law instead of a Constitutional Amendment, we would most likely support it. However, it does not belong in the Constitution.

State Controller Ron Knecht said, “While this may be a good idea, it raises many questions in context of the various things the state does and does not tax. But even if one concludes as a matter of sound tax policy that these items should be tax-exempt, the legislature already has the power to exempt them now. Once again, enshrining these provisions in the constitution would prevent timely reform of any parts of the proposal that may be found to merit change or repeal later.”

Former Senator Ann O’Connell’s argument in the state’s 2016 voter guide opposing Question 4 included the following: “Sales taxes pay for a myriad of services Nevadans rely on including schools, police, fire departments, libraries and parks to name a few.” This measure repeals some sales taxes which will have to be replaced with something else.

We are very sympathetic to exempting medical equipment such as, oxygen delivery equipment, and mobility enhancing equipment like oxygen tanks and concentrators, ventilators, CPAP machines, nebulizers, drug infusion devises, feeding pumps, infant apnea monitors, hospital beds, bath and shower aids, wheelchairs, walkers, canes and crutches. It should be proposed as a similar measure was in 2015 by the Legislature. Question 4 passed a vote of the people in 2016.

Nevada Families recommends a NO on Question 4.

Question 5: Motor Voter….Automatic Voter Registration at the DMV

This measure was an initiative petition that went directly to the Nevada Legislature. It was passed by the Legislature with all Democrats voting for it and all Republicans voting against it. It was then vetoed by Governor Sandoval sending it directly to the ballot. It is proposed as a state statute.

The measure would automatically register everyone to vote unless an individual declines registration or opts out. Currently, Nevadans can easily register to vote online or in person at a county clerk’s or registrar’s office, various social service agencies, college campuses, or any DMV office.

Governor Sandoval’s veto message opposing the measure is worth quoting, “IP1 (Initiative Petition 1) advances a worthy goal by encouraging more eligible Nevadans to register to vote. However, such a result must partner with sound policy. IP1 fails this test because it extinguishes a fundamental, individual choice—the right of eligible voters to decide for themselves whether they desire to apply to register to vote—forfeiting this basic decision to state government. …the core freedom of deciding whether one wishes to initiate voter registration belongs to the individual, not the government.”

“Moreover, if IP1 became law, it would create an unnecessary risk that people who are not qualified voters may unintentionally apply to vote, subjecting them to possible criminal prosecution, fines, and other legal action.”

Adding to Governor Sandoval’s concerns, our greatest concern is that the Legislature has provided for illegal aliens to obtain Driver’s Authorization cards (drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens), therefore Motor Voter at the DMV will result in illegal aliens registering to vote. It increases the opportunities for voter fraud.

Nevada Families recommends a NO on Question 5.

You can now sign up online for the Coalition to Stop SJR14—

the massive property tax increase:

The Grassroots must Stop the Big Taxers from destroying our families and the economy of our state!

Question 6 Renewable Energy Standards will raise your utility bills.

Question 6 is a proposed Constitutional Amendment that will, if it passes, have to be voted on again in 2020. It would increase the state’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS). It mandates that electric utilities acquire 50% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. As of 2018, Nevada’s requirement is 25% by 2025. The measure would define renewable energy to include sources such as solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric.

Once again, this is not an appropriate measure for the Constitution. It cannot be adjusted or amended if it doesn’t work without passing another Constitutional Amendment, which takes at least 3-5 years. If the Greenies want this, they should go through the Legislature, have hearings and meaningful discussions.

NextGen Climate Action is behind Question 6. They have ballot measures in Nevada and Arizona this year. This is an extreme measure putting our renewable energy requirements on a par with Governor Moonbeam’s California and other leftist havens including Oregon, New York and New Jersey. In 2016, 21.78% of Nevada’s electrical power was derived from renewable resources. This proposal comes close to tripling that requirement.

Las Vegas Review-Journal said, “Question 6 would undermine Question 3 and the ability of consumers to pick the plan that best suits their needs. If renewable energy were a superior product and could compete on price, it wouldn’t need government mandates to prosper.”

This is the point. If Nevadans are forced to get 50% of their energy from renewables, the cost of energy could skyrocket. Fossil fuels are almost always much cheaper than renewables. 73% of our electricity in Nevada currently comes from inexpensive clean natural gas. As renewable energy becomes cheaper the government will not need to mandate their use. Can you afford higher utility bills?...just to satisfy the globalist theory of so called climate change, which used to be global warming, but had to be changed because they had no proof.

Nevada Families recommends a NO on Question 6.

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