Posts Tagged ‘Joe Hardy’

State Senate GOP Leaders Support Medicaid Expansion

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:56 pm December 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – State Senate Republican leaders today commended GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval’s decision to expand the state Medicaid program as a commitment to the health of all Nevadans and a boost for a critical sector of the state’s economy.

“Ensuring that poor Nevadans have access to primary health care through Medicaid is very simply the right thing to do, both for our citizens and our economy,” said Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson. “It will reduce our rate of uninsured and provide individuals with greater economic security.”

State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson.

“Nevada’s health care indicators continually trail its neighboring states and regularly rank among the worst in the nation,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno. “Expanding Medicaid to poor childless adults will help address this.”

“Nevada has higher-than-average rates of such things as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and asthma,” he said. “Access to primary health care is critical to both prevention and treatment of these diseases and conditions. Our citizens deserve this.”

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said expanding the program will allow Nevada to improve its return on federal tax dollars and ensure that money is reinvested into Nevada’s health care economy, which is in need of a boost.

“Fully implementing health care reform is expected to boost Nevada’s economy by up to $6.2 billion over the next six years,” he said. “Medicaid expansion could also result in the creation of up to 8,600 much-needed jobs in Nevada over that time. With the low state match over this period, that’s a solid return on investment.”

All three Republican Senate leaders said they look forward to working with their colleagues during the 2013 session to approve this expansion, but also believe it’s imperative that Nevada protect its economic future and require a sunset on the expansion should federal reimbursement rates drop below 90 percent for this population.

In addition, Republican Senate leadership supports the governor’s proposal to include a cost-sharing component in Medicaid and plans to pursue that initiative during the 2013 Legislative Session.

Sandoval announced yesterday that he will include 78,000 additional people in Nevada’s Medicaid program as provided for under the federal Affordable Care Act.

“Though I have never liked the Affordable Care Act because of the individual mandate it places on citizens, the increased burden on businesses and concerns about access to health care, the law has been upheld by the Supreme Court,” he said in a statement. “As such, I am forced to accept it as today’s reality and I have decided to expand Nevada’s Medicaid coverage.

“My fiscal year 2014-2015 budget will provide 78,000 additional Nevadans with health insurance coverage through Medicaid, which is estimated to save the state general fund approximately $17 million dollars in mental health savings,” Sandoval said. “My executive budget will also help Nevada businesses cope with the burden placed on them by decreasing the modified business tax. My decision to opt-in assists the neediest Nevadans and helps some avoid paying a health-care tax penalty. As part of my proposal, I will also call upon the Legislature to pass Medicaid patient responsibility cost-sharing measures.”

Federal funding will pay for 100 percent of the Medicaid expansion for the first three calendar years beginning in 2014, with the state required to pick up a percentage of the cost beginning in 2017. The first year state cost is 5 percent, in 2018 the state cost is 6 percent, in 2019 the state cost is 7 percent, and in 2020, the state cost is 10 percent.

The expansion in Nevada would mostly cover childless adults who are not covered by the state program now. The other expansion will come from parent caretakers of children who are covered at 75 percent of poverty now, according to Mike Willden, director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, who spoke on the subject earlier this year.

Willden said there are also administrative costs to the state that are not fully covered by the expansion but instead are shared between the federal government and the state at a 50-50 match. They include information technology costs and the cost to hire new eligibility workers, for example, he said.


State Senate GOP Leadership Endorses Drivers’ Licenses For Deferred Action Program

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:08 pm November 30th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s state  Senate Republican leadership today expressed support for a state policy that makes thousands of young immigrants living in Nevada eligible for a state-issued driver’s license or ID.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, with the support of Gov. Brian Sandoval, announced this week that its policy would be to honor the employment authorization card granted to successful applicants under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Deferred Action program.

Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, said he supports the DMV policy and hopes those eligible will take advantage of this opportunity.

State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson.

“These young men and women are living, working and attending school here in Nevada, and are doing everything in their power to improve their lives and the lives of their families,” Roberson said. “A driver’s license from the state of Nevada will aid in their ability to commute to and from work and school; will afford a sense of self-sufficiency; and will provide greater opportunities for thousands of Nevada families.”

Deferred Action, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a directive from the secretary of the DHS that grants temporary permission to stay in the U.S. to certain undocumented young people. Individuals who receive deferred action may apply for and obtain employment authorization. It is estimated that more than 20,000 young immigrants could benefit from this program in Nevada.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, also applauded the policy: “This DMV policy allowing young immigrants living in our communities to obtain driver’s licenses will benefit not only the young people and families eligible for deferred action, but will also help strengthen Nevada’s education system and our economy at large.”

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, commented on the safety aspects of the policy: “In order to secure a driver’s license, an individual must obtain the proper knowledge and skill level to pass a test to ensure they can safely drive on the streets. This policy will not only provide greater opportunity for so many young people in Nevada, it will also make our streets safer by ensuring training for those who may otherwise be driving without a license or adequate preparation.”

The Las Vegas Sun reported the drivers’ license policy earlier this week.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on June 15 announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria, would be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.

Napolitano said the deferred action program will offer the young immigrants two-year work permits and not deport them as a temporary measure until the country’s immigration policies could be changed with the adoption of the DREAM Act.


Governor Asks Council to Review Education Data Systems

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 7:51 am October 8th, 2011

Gov. Brian Sandoval yesterday signed an executive order directing the P-16 Advisory Council to review education data systems in Nevada.

The Council, created by state statute, is intended to help coordinate education efforts in Nevada from the preschool through postsecondary levels and has the authority to address the data information system for public school students.

Esther Bennett Elementary School, Sun Valley, Nevada

“The effective use of high-quality education date is integral to the success of these reforms and establishing an effective education data system requires the cooperation of the executive and legislative branches of government, local school districts, Nevada’s System of Higher Education, educators in classrooms and early childhood care providers,” Sandoval said in a press release.

The Council, consisting of eleven members, includes Bret Whipple, Erin Cranor, Caryn Swobe, Stacy Woodbury, John LaGatta, Senator Joe Hardy, Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, Cedric Crear, Sue Daellenbach, Linda Johnson and Senator Barbara Cegavske.

According to the executive order, the Council’s recommendations will address the following:

– Establishing a cross-agency governance structure with representatives who have decision-making authority

– Identifying resource needs in the areas of staffing, technology and funding

– Developing policies that outline what data are shared and how; where they will be stored; how often they will be updated; who will conduct analyses; how privacy will be protected

– Creating a vision for the state’s longitudinal data system to ensure it will support the state’s education and workforce development needs

– Necessary legislation to carry out the Council’s recommendations.

The executive order requires quarterly reports on February 1, May 1, and August 1 of 2012 and for all work to be completed by August 1, 2012.

Politicking Legislators Threatened To Delay, Kill Bills On Deadline Day

By Andrew Doughman | 8:34 pm May 20th, 2011

CARSON CITY – In the end, it was Sen. Joe Hardy who saved the day. He also saved one of his pet bills in the process.

The Republican doctor from Boulder City patched up a broken legislative process that threatened to kill bills after ideological disagreements between two Democratic committee leaders had resulted in an impasse.

Today is a deadline day for bills to pass, so if the two Democrats did not reach an agreement, the bills would die.

A dispute between the chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Government Affairs endangered a number of bills dear to the hearts of lawmakers in both houses.

Caught up in the standoff were Hardy’s bill establishing toll roads in Boulder City, a bill revising state contracting in an attempt to mitigate abuse and a bill revising the open meeting law, among others.

“This committee made the boycott,” said Sen. John Lee, D-North Vegas, chairman of the Senate Government Affairs Committee. “I’m determined to see that the rights of the Senate are not abused by the Assembly … We’re not enemies, but it’s not just about me and her now.”

Lee was referring to his Democratic counterpart in the Assembly, Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas.

At this point in the legislative session, bills have swapped houses so Lee’s committee was considering Assembly bills and the fate of Senate bills were in the hands of the Assembly.

This morning, Lee said he was concerned Kirkpatrick would not vote Senate bills out of her Assembly committee.

Kirkpatrick said her committee would vote on bills that are likely to pass.

“I don’t play the hostage game,” she said. “We hear them [the bills] and the committee decides.”

The standoff resulted in a day-long delay before Hardy convened the two lawmakers and struck a deal behind closed doors.

In the meantime, lobbyists from local governments – government affairs committees usually address bills affecting cities and counties – waited to hear the fate of bills they were tracking.

“It’s hectic but with so many people playing politics, I don’t remember it being this bad,” said Carole Vilardo of the Nevada Taxpayer Association.

In the end, Lee heard the Assembly bills and Kirkpatrick passed Hardy’s toll roads bill out of her committee. Before the deal was struck, Hardy had declared that bill dead.

“Joe Hardy put both teams back together,” Lee said. “Joe Hardy saved the day.”

With so much action on a deadline day, legislators are under pressure to ensure their bills pass. Sometimes that means they have personal disagreements with the legislators in whose hands the fate of their bills rests.

It happens every legislative session, said one lobbyist.

“The Legislature is like labor pains,” said Susan Fisher, a lobbyist representing several clients. “We forget and then we come back and do it all over again.”

At the end of the day, several Senate bills did not meet the deadline and the Senate voted down the open meeting law bill.

But the proposal to revise state contracting rules passed.

Hardy praised Lee and Kirkpatrick for negotiating with “grace and aplomb.”

“They are both to be commended for being able to get together after having had feelings that were so tender come to the surface,” he said. “People were depending and counting on us.”


Democrats Identify “Key” Republicans Who Might Vote For Taxes

By Andrew Doughman | 5:06 pm May 19th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The Nevada State Democratic Party today called for Nevadans to press nine GOP “key legislators” to vote for new taxes.

Democrats are urging Nevadans to email these nine Republican legislators, saying that “grassroots action will turn the tide, but it will only happen if you participate.”

The list included four Senators and five Assemblymen. To override a veto from Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has said numerous times he will veto any new tax, three Republican Senators and two Republican Assembly members would have to join all Democratic legislators in voting for a tax.

“We think it’s important that these folks hear from their constituents, not just fellow legislators and lobbyists,” said Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas.

Many Republicans on the list have already been identified by advocacy groups and political commentators.

Representatives from the governor’s office were quick to condemn the letter.

“This letter is nothing more than a letter of desperation,” said Dale Erquiaga, senior adviser to Sandoval. “It’s clear the Democratic majority do not have the votes to pass a tax increase.”

Republicans in the Assembly earlier released a list of reforms that they hope Democrats will pass. Only after the reforms pass will they consider voting for extending $626 million in taxes passed during 2009 that are due to expire June 30. Those sunsetting taxes are part of a $1.2 billion Democratic tax plan that includes a new tax on services and a new business “margin” tax.

In the message today, Democrats say theirs is a “balanced approach” that restores harmful budget cuts to education and social services while also giving the state a more stable tax base.

For Republicans, the approach is more about reforms they can convince Democrats to pass.

“My attitude from the get go was: they give us substantial reforms, we give them sunsets,” said Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks. “They’re not new taxes … That’s our negotiating point.”

Lobbyists in the legislative building also called the Democrats’ move “desperate,” speculating that if Democrats had the votes they needed, they would keep mum about who those legislators were.

Democrats, however, say budget negotiations about government reforms and taxes are proceeding.

“Conversations with legislative Republicans are productive and ongoing,” Oceguera said.

But Hansen and other Republicans have said the reforms proposed so far are not enough.

“I don’t think there’s any chance they’ll [the reforms] meet anyone’s price,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, who earlier said on the political television program “Face To Face” that all lawmakers have a price for voting for raising taxes.

Both Hansen and Kieckhefer are on the Democrats’ list.

That did not surprise Kieckhefer.

“People have considered me a swing vote on taxes since the day I announced my candidacy for office,” Kieckhefer said.

Another Republican on the list, Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said he is already receiving emails about taxes and the budget.

“I don’t mind hearing from people,” he said. “That doesn’t bother me.”

The full list and letter are here.


Responsible Growth Advocate Says Legislation Would Restrict Land Use Challenges

By Sean Whaley | 11:33 am March 18th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The city of Henderson is seeking legislation that one critic says would make it more difficult for Southern Nevada residents to challenge land use decisions by local governments.

Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, founder of Northwest Residents For Responsible Growth, has sent an email to members of the state Senate voicing her objections to Senate Bill 85, which passed out of the Senate Government Affairs Committee on March 2. It was amended and has not yet come to the full Senate for a vote. If approved by the Senate it would then be considered in the Assembly.

“As someone who is very involved in the community and focused on quality life issues – which always seem to center on land use and zoning – this bill places an unfair bias on the public,” Mayo-DeRiso said in an email to senators.

If a concerned citizen misses a public hearing due to other commitments, a failure to understand an agenda item or for some other reason, the person would have no legal rights to challenge the decision in court later on, she said in a phone interview.

“It is a full-time job to read every single agenda item and make sure that you are aware of what is going on,” Mayo-DeRiso said.

Renny Ashleman, lobbyist for the city of Henderson, said the legislation is necessary so officials can know what issues may be raised in court later on. Existing law already requires an individual to appear in some form to be considered aggrieved, he said. This can be in writing and does not require an appearance at a meeting.

“Our bill says you have to tell us what you are aggrieved about,” Ashleman said.

Ashleman said Henderson has had a problem with people who did not object to a project at a public meeting but later challenged the decision in court.

“They didn’t ask us for a solution; maybe we would have offered them one,” he said. “In any event we don’t make a record of the problem.”

There have also been cases in Henderson where decisions have been challenged for purely competitive reasons, and the bill would prohibit this as well, Ashleman said.

“I don’t think there is a cure for missing the meeting,” he said. “You should have to come and tell us something.”

But it doesn’t have to be in person, Ashleman said. If someone misses an issue, there can be a rehearing as well, he said.

“We have far and away the most liberal law in the United States for the citizens,” Ashleman said. “Most of them require that you have a much tighter nexus to the property. Anybody can come in and tell us for environmental reasons or other reasons, aesthetic reasons, they don’t like what is going on and they are able to do that.”

A similar bill was sought by Henderson city officials in 2009 but it did not pass. Ashleman said the 2009 bill, SB354, also contained controversial provisions regarding gaming enterprise districts. Senate Bill 85, which would apply to land use decisions throughout Clark County but not in any other Nevada county, has no gaming-related provisions, he said.

Other local governments are supporting the bill as well, Ashleman said.

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, a member of the Government Affairs panel, said there is no intent to preclude the public’s ability to contest land use decisions. The intent is to allow individuals to file protests not only in writing to maintain a position as an aggrieved person, but by email as well, he said.

Mayo-DeRiso said she open to ways to alleviate her concerns about the bill.

“But the last thing we need to do is have a statute, an NRS statute, that supports blocking the public or keeping the public out of those decisions.”

Audio clips:

Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, founder of Northwest Residents For Responsible Growth, says the bill would limit the ability of a member of the public to appeal a land use decision:

031811Mayo-DeRiso1 :10 read the bill.”

Mayo-DeRiso says the bill requires proof that you are an aggrieved party:

031811Mayo-DeRiso2 :19 an aggrieved party.”

Mayo-DeRiso says it is a full-time job to try to keep up with land use decisions:

031811Mayo-DeRiso3 :09 what’s going on.”

Mayo-DeRiso says Nevada does not need a law to keep the public out of land use decisions:

031811Mayo-DeRiso4 :19 of those decisions.”

Henderson lobbyist Renny Ashleman says the city has a problem with people who don’t raise concerns with a proposal at a public meeting but challenge in court later anyway:

031811Ashleman1 :23 on the problem.”

Ashleman says a member of the public should be required to state a claim at a public meeting, in person or in writing:

031811Ashleman2 :09 disagree with that.”

Ashleman says the city and other governments in Clark County have liberal laws allowing citizens to challenge land use proposals:

031811Ashleman3 :20 to do that.”