Nevada Again A Focus Of Presidential Campaigns

RENO – Proof of Nevada’s importance in the outcome of the horse race that is the presidential election continued to be on display today, with President Obama visiting Las Vegas and GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan making stops here and in Southern Nevada.

Ryan, appearing in front of a crowd estimated by local law enforcement at about 600, continued to push the Romney-Ryan ticket message calling for change, pointing to Obama’s failed efforts at job creation.

Paul Ryan speaks at a rally today in Reno. / Nevada News Bureau.

Nevada leads the country in  unemployment at 11.8 percent in September.

He also stumped for Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who (Continue reading…)

GOP Assembly Leader Predicts Gains On Tuesday

CARSON CITY – Assembly Republican caucus leader Pat Hickey said he expects to pick up seats for the GOP in the upcoming election, but declined to predict today exactly how big a dent his candidates will make in the 26-member Democratic majority on Nov. 6.

Hickey, R-Reno, said he does expect to see an increase from the 16 seats Republicans have now in the 42-member Assembly. The party has opportunities because of the new political boundaries drawn by a panel of special masters as a result of the 2010 census, he said.

Assembly GOP caucus Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno.

Hickey, interviewed on the Nevada NewsMakers (Continue reading…)

Gov. Sandoval Appoints New Business Agency Director

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval today announced he has appointed Bruce Breslow as director of the Department of Business and Industry, effective November 12. Breslow is currently Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Bruce’s people-first approach to problem solving has helped pioneer a new era for customer service at the DMV,” Sandoval said. “His innovative thinking has led to the development of mobile applications, the placement of DMV self service kiosks at grocery stores throughout the state and a reduction in wait times for customers at the DMV. I am confident that Bruce’s leadership and customer-first mentality will be an invaluable asset to B&I.”

DMV chief (Continue reading…)

Fifty-Eight New Citizens Sworn In For Nevada Day

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval today participated in a ceremony in the old Assembly chambers in the state Capitol to swear in 58 new citizens representing countries from Bulgaria to New Zealand.

The new citizens range in age from 18 to 85 and are from 27 different countries.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, right, applauds after 58 new U.S. citizens take the oath of allegiance. / Nevada News Bureau.

It was the 4th annual Nevada Day naturalization ceremony sponsored by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In his remarks, Sandoval talked about Nevada’s admission into the union in 1864 to help ensure President Lincoln would be elected to a second (Continue reading…)

Gov. Sandoval Says He Has Complied With Budget Disclosure Requirements

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval said today his administration has fully complied with a requirement in state law to provide preliminary state budget data to lawmakers and their staff.

“The agency requests have been presented to the Legislature in accordance with the law,” he said. “I don’t see any problems.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Lawmakers on Thursday questioned state Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp on why some components of the initial agency request budget, known as “items for special consideration,” were not supplied to their fiscal staff as has been past practice. The items are funding requests beyond the agency base-budget requests for the 2013-15 spending plan. Expanding (Continue reading…)

Nevada’s Broader Jobless Rate Remains Above 20 Percent

CARSON CITY – A broader measure of Nevada’s unemployment picture, including those who have given up looking for work, showed continued improvement through the third quarter of 2012 but remains above 20 percent, a federal report shows.

Called the U-6 rate, it declined in Nevada from 22.1 percent in the four quarters through June 2012 to 21.4 percent through September for a decline of seven-tenths of a percentage point, according to the quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U-6 rate is sometimes referred to as the “actual” jobless rate because it includes discouraged workers and those working part-time who would like to be in (Continue reading…)

Dispute Emerges Between Sandoval, Lawmakers Over Access To Budget Data

CARSON CITY – A dispute has emerged between Gov. Brian Sandoval and the Legislature over what information in the initial state agency request budget should be made available to legislative staff and the public.

At a meeting of the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee today, state Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp was asked about what is considered by legislative staff to be a departure from past practice regarding the budget information provided to legislative fiscal staff and the public.

The 2013-15 budget information conveyed to the Legislature on Oct. 15 does not include “items for special consideration” requested by state agencies. These items are budget requests from agencies that Sandoval will consider including in (Continue reading…)

Las Vegas Firm Ordered To Pay $125,000 For Medicaid Fraud

CARSON CITY – A behavioral health company based in Las Vegas was fined $125,000 today in a Medicaid fraud case involving the failure to maintain adequate records to support Medicaid claims.

Rainbow Child and Family Services was sentenced for one gross misdemeanor offense of intentional failure to maintain adequate records by Clark County District Judge Valerie Adair and ordered to pay the $125,000 in restitution, penalties, and costs.

Persons convicted of Medicaid fraud may also be administratively excluded from future Medicaid and Medicare participation.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced the sentencing.

“Businesses need to pay attention when processing Medicaid claims,” Masto said. “This office continues to investigate (Continue reading…)

Nevada Posts 26th Consecutive Taxable Sales Increase In August

CARSON CITY – Nevada recorded its 26th consecutive month of taxable sales increases in August, when consumers spent $3.7 billion on goods and services for a 7.6 percent jump over August 2011, the state Department of Taxation reported today.

The last decrease in statewide taxable sales came in June 2010, when a 0.3 percent decline was reported over June 2009.

Taxable sales grew by 8.1 percent in Clark County and jumped double-digits in Washoe County to 10.5 percent.

Nine of Nevada’s 17 counties recorded an increase in taxable sales for August 2012 compared to August 2011, with Carson City, Esmeralda, Eureka, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing, and White Pine (Continue reading…)

Romney Rallies Reno Voters In Effort To Win Nevada

RENO – Gov. Mitt Romney fired up a crowd of about 2,000 enthusiastic Northern Nevada  voters today, urging them to get to the polls and help him take the battleground state that is Nevada 13 days from now.

Romney told the crowd that President Obama is out of ideas, out of excuses and will be out of office come Nov. 6.

The president, “doesn’t understand what it takes to get this economy going, he doesn’t have a plan to get jobs for Americans, I do and that’s why I’m going to win,” he said.

Gov. Mitt Romney fired up a Reno crowd today. / Nevada News Bureau.

He promised to (Continue reading…)

Nevada Think Tank Publishes “Piglet Book” Citing Government Waste

CARSON CITY – From double-dipping employees to the questionable use of credit cards, the newest edition of the Nevada Policy Research Institute’s “piglet book” released today offers highlights of recent questionable government agency actions.

The Nevada Piglet Book 2012” is authored by Geoffrey Lawrence, deputy policy director for NPRI, a libertarian think tank based in Las Vegas. The third edition comes out as lawmakers prepare to return to the capital for the 2013 legislative session.

In the 40-page report, Lawrence also reviews and raises questions about recent political and policy developments in Nevada, including the successful effort by Gov. Brian Sandoval and others to (Continue reading…)

Carson Judge Invalidates Teacher-Backed Margin Tax Petition

CARSON CITY – A Carson City District Judge today ruled an initiative petition being circulated by teachers to levy a 2 percent tax on companies making gross revenues in excess of $1 million a year to raise money to support public education is invalid.

The Nevada State Education Association said it will appeal the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court and will continue to collect signatures to qualify the measure.

In his ruling, Judge James Wilson found that the description of effect used to explain to voters the intent of the petition is incomplete.

The validity of the petition was challenged by a group of Nevada business groups called the Committee (Continue reading…)

Start Of Early Voting Sees Heavy Turnout In Capital

CARSON CITY – Scores of people waited in line at the county courthouse here this morning to become some of the first of more than 1.2 million registered voters statewide to cast ballots in the Nov. 6 general election.

Election volunteer Cookie Callahan, left, waits to take completed ballots during early voting at the Carson City Courthouse today. / Photo: Nevada News Bureau.

Early voting starts today and runs through Friday, Nov. 2.

“We anticipate about 75 percent to 80 percent of registered voters will cast a ballot in the general election, although we are hopeful that turnout might exceed our projections,” Secretary of State Ross Miller said ahead (Continue reading…)

More Than 1.2 Million Registered In Nevada For General Election

CARSON CITY – More than 1.2 million Nevadans are registered as active voters for the Nov. 6 general election as of the close of the registration Oct. 16, the Secretary of State’s office reported today.

Numbers released today by Secretary of State Ross Miller’s Elections Division show that Democrats registered nearly twice as many voters than Republicans since the end of September.

Photo courtesy of Joebeone via Wikimedia Commons.

Of the 1,257,621 active registered voters statewide, 41.9 percent (526,986) are Democrats, 34.7 percent (436,799) are Republicans, 17.4 percent (219,299) are non-partisans, 4.6 percent (58,130) are members of the Independent American Party, and the remaining 1.3 percent (16,407) are members (Continue reading…)

Nevada’s Jobless Rate Declines To 11.8 Percent In September

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 11.8 percent in September, a decline of three-tenths of a percentage point from the 12.1 percent rate reported for August and a significant improvement from September 2011’s reading of 13.6 percent, a state agency reported today.

The seasonally-adjusted rate remains above the 11.6 percent figure reported in May, which was a three-year low.

September’s household survey showed more Nevadans are working, partly contributing to the decline in the rate of unemployment, said Bill Anderson, chief economist for Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). The 11.8 percent rate equates to a seasonally adjusted 161,600 individuals still unemployed, he said.

(Continue reading…)