Gibbons OPEN Government Initiative Passes Challenge Period, Signature Gathering Begins

CARSON CITY – Gov. Jim Gibbons has announced his initiative petition to amend state law to subject public employee union negotiations to Nevada’s open meeting law has passed a legal challenge period, allowing the signature gathering process to begin.

“All around Nevada hundreds of hard working public servants are losing their jobs because their union leaders will not re-open their contracts and accept salary reductions and benefits adjustments,” Gibbons said. “We are losing talented government workers to the unemployment rolls. Unions have a stranglehold on local government, and it’s time for that to stop. Collective bargaining involving public funds must be open to the public. Secret backroom deals between public employee unions and state and local governments must stop. The people of Nevada should expect no less from their government.”

The Steering Committee for the OPEN Government Initiative has until Nov. 9 to gather the 97,002 necessary valid signatures from Nevada’s three Congressional districts to place the petition initiative before the 2011 Nevada Legislature. Should the initiative petition not be approved by the Legislature, it will go forward to a vote of the people in the 2012 general election.

“My office has been flooded with calls from people who want to help circulate petitions and enact this initiative into law. Please contact us now as we move quickly forward to gather signatures,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons has set up a special e-mail address to contact the OPEN Government Initiative at . A web site will follow in the next few weeks. Those without e-mail access can call 775-684-5670 or send a letter to P.O. Box 4807, Carson City, NV 89702.

Gibbons said he twice tried during the 26th Special Session of the Nevada Legislature to amend laws relating to government collective bargaining without success, prompting him to use the initiative process to get the issue before the Legislature and voters.

Assembly Republicans were successful in getting a resolution passed urging the 2011 Legislature to consider ways to make the collective bargaining process more transparent.

“It’s time for the people of Nevada to step up and do what their elected Democrat legislators will not, and that is provide for accountability in public spending,” Gibbons said.