Posts Tagged ‘lucy flores’

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.

Democratic Redistricting Plans Pass Out of Senate And Assembly, Head To Governor

By Andrew Doughman | 3:54 pm May 10th, 2011

CARSON CITY — The political power game of drawing political boundaries escalated today as Nevada’s Democratic legislators passed their plans for new political districts.

Legislators will deliver the proposal for new Congressional and state Assembly and Senate districts to Gov. Brian Sandoval. The Republican governor has said before that he will veto any redistricting plan that he does not deem “fair.”

Republicans today contended that the Democratic plan was not fair.

“While the [population] numbers are equal [between districts], the numbers slanted toward the Democrats are somewhat unfair for the Republicans in the minority,” said Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Henderson, on the Assembly floor.

The governor has until Monday to veto the bill. If the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the Republican governor cannot reach a compromise, the drawing of political districts could end up in the hands of Nevada’s judges.

Although the budget overshadows the legislative session, redistricting offers politicians an opportunity to blend combinations of voters to their favor. Although ostensibly governed by equal populations between districts, redistricting is an inherently political process.

“Every 10 years we get to select the voters that will be voting for us and we have a special responsibility to be fair in this process,” said Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, on the floor of the Assembly.

The Senate vote for the Democratic proposal broke along party lines with an 11-10 vote. In the Assembly, all Republicans voted against the proposal, joined by Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Munford, who said he was unhappy with how his party redrew his Las Vegas district.

Both Democrats and Republicans have focused much of the debate about political districts on Nevada’s growing Hispanic community. Hispanics now comprise 26 percent of Nevada’s population and are a voter bloc that both parties cannot ignore.

One in seven eligible voters in Nevada are Latinos, the sixth-largest Hispanic eligible voter population share nationally, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Democrats would like to establish “minority influence” districts where ethnic minority populations comprise an influential voting bloc in several districts.

Republicans argue that Nevada should have a majority-minority “opportunity” district because 26 percent of the state’s population is Hispanic and therefore one of the state’s four congressional districts should be majority Hispanic.

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said the Democrat plan ignores the intent of the federal Voting Rights Act for congressional districts by failing to ensure fairness in representation for the Southern Nevada Hispanic community

The Republican plan created one of four congressional districts with 50.7 percent total Hispanic population. The Democrat plan creates no such district, which is in violation of the act, Hardy said.

“This plan actually creates four districts in which whites make up a significant majority,” he said. “Any plan that does not begin with an attempt to create a majority Hispanic district in Clark County fails to adhere to the letter and the spirit of the Voting Rights Act. It is something I personally cannot ignore in good conscience.”

On the Assembly floor, Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, asked whether this logic implied that only a Hispanic majority could elect a Hispanic candidate.

“Nevada has proven that Hispanic and other minority candidates can and have been elected in minority influence districts,” she said.

Sandoval, Nevada’s first Hispanic governor, was elected with a majority of the white vote while losing the Hispanic vote.

The Republicans are calling for eight Hispanic-majority seats in the Assembly, four in the Senate and one in Congress.

Democrats spread Hispanic voters throughout more districts, creating two Senate districts and three Assembly districts with a majority Hispanic population.

The Legislature is required to redraw the boundaries of political districts every 10 years based on changes in population released through the U.S. Census.

Nevada’s explosive population growth between 2001 and 2010 earned Nevada one more Congressional District, giving Nevada four Congressional Districts.

All districts must be nearly the same size. Map drawers use the U.S. Census total population figures for Nevada and divide those by the number of districts so that each district has an ideal size. The ideal size for a Congressional district is 675,000 people.

 

//Bureau Chief Sean Whaley contributed to this report.

Immigration Bills Spark Heated Debate In Legislature

By Andrew Doughman | 1:10 pm April 6th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Two bills relating to illegal immigrants sparked heated debate in an Assembly committee this morning.

One from Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, would impose penalties and restrictions on illegal immigrants in a way similar to a controversial Arizona law enacted this past year.

Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, proposed that the state adopt the federal “E-Verify” system, an electronic database that verifies someone’s employment eligibility.

Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, had to ask numerous times for both the support and opposition to keep their comments relevant to the bill.

“I want to stick to the merits of the bill because any time we single out one group or another we do a disservice to the state as a whole,” she told those listening to the hearing.

Meanwhile, observers on the social media site Twitter accused each other of racism and bigotry.

Hansen’s bill would require proof of identity to vote, restrict eligibility for Nevada’s Millennium Scholarship to U.S. citizens, prohibit non-citizens from obtaining driver’s licenses or receiving certain state benefits.

He said the bill is mainly about jobs.

“The number one issue that was confronted with was the economy and the second was illegal immigration,” Hansen said of his talks with voters while campaigning for office last year.

Hansen said that the state’s undocumented workers are preventing Nevada’s unemployed people from finding employment.

He cited figures that show Nevada has a high number of illegal immigrants. A recent Pew Hispanic Center study also found that Nevada ranks No. 1 in the nation in terms of the percentage of illegal immigrants comprising a state’s total population.

Hansen’s bill would cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars if passed into law. This is because it would require state agencies to spend more money to comply with the bills numerous requirements.

“You have half the kitchen sink here is what you have,” Kirkpatrick said of Hansen’s bill.

Hansen’s bill also would require the state to use the federal “E-Verify” database that verifies someone’s employment eligibility.

Hickey’s bill would require contractors bidding for state public works projects to use that system.

“I think this is a small first step,” he said. “This is not talking about all employers in this state, but starting with public works projects, which are tax-payer-funded ones.”

Opponents to the bill said that the federal database upon which E-Verify relies is rife with error. Contractors also objected to the language of the bill because it would make them responsible not only for their organizations, but for their subcontractors as well.

“The E-verify system is an attempt to try to do something that we support, but it has just not proven to be effective,” said Warren Hardy, lobbyist for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Nevada.

The bills sparked reactions from the numerous Hispanic legislators who sit on the Assembly Government Affairs committee.

Assemblywomen Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Reno, and Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, said that anyone testifying should restrict testimony to immigrants rather than Hispanics.

Others suggested that the bills would polarize the Hispanic electorate.

“It’s because of Republicans like [Assemblymen] Hickey & Hansen why R’s will have hard time making inroads with Hispanic voters in NV,” said Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, via his Twitter account.

The government affairs committee took no immediate action on either bill.

 

Speaker Oceguera Proposes Bill Requiring Training For Legislators

By Andrew Doughman | 3:43 pm March 17th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Legislators would have to attend legislator school under a bill from Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas.

Assembly Bill 260 would make it mandatory for all new legislators to attend classes before the official start of the legislative session.

Those who are too cool for school would suffer a truancy penalty of one day’s salary, or about $150.

Oceguera argued that the bill helps make new legislators effective and retains institutional knowledge at the Legislature. The Legislature was restrained to 120-day sessions and established 12-year term limits during the 1990s.

Oceguera said mandatory training would help legislators “hit the ground running” on day one.

Lawmakers had classes before the start of this session, when record numbers of new legislators arrived for their first day of work. The new legislators learned about budgeting, working with lobbyists and the press and how a bill becomes a law, among other things.

The speaker’s bill would require as many as 10 days of such training for all new legislators. Legislators would receive a travel and living stipend during the training, paid out of the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s budget.

Legislative leaders from the past session would draft the curriculum.

Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, attended training classes before this session and said they helped her immensely.

Many in the building have noted the “breakneck” speed with which legislators got to work early this session.

Karl Kurtz of the National Conference of State Legislatures provided background about what kind of training other states are providing.

He said 16 states do some kind of pre-session training for new members.

“New member training is the best thing that legislatures can do to try to address the problems of inexperience brought on by term limits,” Kurtz said, citing a study about term limits.

Some states bring legislators to several sessions after the November elections and before the start of the legislative session. One state, Missouri, takes legislators on an eight-day bus tour of all state institutions, Kurtz said.

“You need to view it as an investment; it’s an investment to make the session more effective and make the session more efficient,” said Tom Little of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation.

Little said he has seen how helpful training sessions are when he has participated in other states’ legislative training sessions.

Former Speaker Richard Perkins also testified in support of the bill.

“In a citizens’ legislature, you have so many more demands on your time outside of this process that you pretty much have to make [training] mandatory,” he said. “In a professional Legislature, this would be your job.”

Perkins said that legislators this session have to sort through the “most complicated budget” in state history, as well as address the drawing of new political boundaries as is required every ten years.

“There aren’t many businesses that would thrust a team member into a situation as complex as this,” Perkins said.

Republicans on the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee asked for and were granted an amendment that would allow both parties to set the agenda for training.

Legislators also agreed to limit the training to no more than 10 days.

The committee unanimously voted to pass the bill out of committee, which, as new legislators now know, is the first step toward a bill becoming a law.