Posts Tagged ‘Mark Amodei’

Gov. Sandoval Says Effect Unclear On Nevada Medicaid, Delegation, Candidates Weigh In On Affordable Care Ruling

By Sean Whaley | 11:04 am June 28th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval said today the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding much of the Affordable Care Act on the state’s Medicaid program remain unclear.

“The implications for Medicaid costs are still unclear, but Nevada will prepare to meet the serious financial implications of this decision,” he said in a statement shortly after the court ruled.

The court said in the ruling today that states could not be penalized if they did not go along with the Medicaid provisions in the law.

In an interview today on the Nevada NewsMakers program as the decision was announced, Sandoval said his intention would be not to opt in to the Medicaid expansion because of the costs to the state.

“And as I have said all along, that if that component had been found constitutional, it would cost us $60 million in this budget and $100 million in future budgets,” he said in the interview. “We can’t afford that. And to make that decision and to opt into that program, would mean that I would have to look at cutting education, at other what I think are untenable outcomes. So as I sit here today, it wouldn’t be my intention for this state to opt in.”

A statement from Sandoval’s office issued later in the day said the decision indicates states will have an option to expand Medicaid, but, “additional guidance is needed in order to understand the penalties for not expanding the Medicaid program and we must determine if there are savings to the general fund by shifting existing costs to the federal government. We will continue to examine today’s opinion to fully understand its implications.

“Therefore, given what we know today, the governor does not intend to automatically accept the Medicaid expansion,” the statement said. “These serious budgetary implications, including the impact on education spending, require further analysis – not just of the next biennial budget but of the long-term costs. Further information will be provided as the budgeting process unfolds over the next few months.”

In his initial statement on the ruling, Sandoval also said: “I believe the Congress should act to reform this law and ease the serious burdens it places on the states and the nation’s businesses. The American people remain deeply divided on the wisdom of this law and they are still entitled to see it changed.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said he too wants to see the law changed.

U.S. Supreme Court.

“This law has now been affirmed as a colossal tax increase on the middle class, and its excessive regulations are stripping businesses of the certainty they need to hire at a time when Nevadans and the rest of the country are desperate for jobs,” he said. “The president should work with Congress to find real solutions to healthcare reform so the excessive mandates and taxes in this law do not further add to our national debt or continue to stifle economic growth.

“This onerous law needs to be repealed and replaced with market-based reforms that will provide greater access, affordability, and economic certainty to our nation,” Heller said.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the matter is now settled.

“It’s time for Republicans to stop refighting yesterday’s battles,” he said.

“I’m pleased to see the Supreme Court put the rule of law ahead of partisanship, and ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional,” Reid said. “Passing the Affordable Care Act was the greatest single step in generations toward ensuring access to affordable, quality healthcare for every American – regardless of where they live or how much money they make.

“No one thinks this law is perfect,” Reid said. “But Democrats have proven we’re willing to work with Republicans to improve the Affordable Care Act.”

Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., said the ruling doesn’t make the health care act a good law.

“This is still the same flawed bill that was forced through Congress on a party line vote in the dead of night with special interest provisions like the ‘Cornhusker Kickback’ and the ‘Louisiana Purchase’,” he said. “And today we have learned that the law amounts to a huge tax increase on the American people in a struggling economy. We know that a majority of Americans think the law should be repealed and that it will increase health care costs, reduce access to care and add to our deficit.

“Instead of injecting more government into our health care system, our focus should be on patients, especially our seniors who rely on access to quality health care,” Heck said. “Our system is working for most Americans and it can work for all Americans through common sense reforms like moving insurance coverage towards an individual-based model, increasing competition by allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, incentivizing the purchase of insurance through tax credits, and letting people, not the government, decide what services they need and want.

“The Supreme Court had their word on June 28, but the American people will have the final word on November 6,” Heck said.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera said it is time to refocus on jobs.

Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, who is challenging Heck in the 3rd Congressional District, said: “Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, it’s time that those in Washington moved on from trying to score political points instead of finding solutions. This decision doesn’t change the reality that too many Nevada families and small businesses are struggling to pay for the rising costs of health care.

“One thing we know for sure, if Washington politicians don’t stop the bickering and finger pointing and focus on what matters – creating jobs and getting our economy back on track – nothing will get done,” he said. “This shouldn’t be about politics – it should be about getting something done.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said it is time to repeal the law.

“Advocates for Washington-based management of health care and unprecedented tax increases on the middle class won today,” he said. “However, I will continue to work for patient-centered solutions, reductions in health care costs, and improving health care access for all Nevadans.

“I look forward to the opportunity to vote the week of July 9 for full repeal of this harmful government intrusion into health care,” Amodei said. “Congress created this mess and it’s our responsibility to clean it up. We owe it to the middle class to give them specific, well-thought out options focusing on portability of insurance across state lines and affordability, while not interfering with the patient-doctor relationship.

“This 2,700-page monster offends seniors, veterans, middle class families and employers,” he said. “I will continue to take every opportunity to repeal and address this mess for Nevadans in a practical way without picking political winners and losers.”

State Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said he was pleased with the ruling.

In a campaign email, the 4th Congressional Democratic candidate said: “Today’s decision is a victory for those with pre-existing conditions, for women who now don’t have to pay more than men for care, and for Nevada seniors who will save on prescription drugs.

“Now Republicans in the House are scheduling a vote to repeal the health care law, instead of working on a jobs bill,” Horsford said. “The Republican Congress needs to stop playing political games and start working on getting our economy moving and creating jobs for Nevadans.”

GOP Congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian said the law needs to be repealed.

The candidate for the 4th Congressional seat said: “I have consistently stood against Obamacare and remain committed to its full repeal. Rather, we need to press forward with legislation that will extend the same tax incentives that businesses receive for providing health insurance to individuals who purchase their own plans. We need to get serious about tort reform and stabilize Medicare reimbursement rates. We need to make insurance portable and purchasable across state lines.

“When they should be focusing on promoting economic growth and creating jobs, Democrats insist instead on ramming through job-killing policies that increase taxes on Americans, like Obamacare,” Tarkanian said.

There was no immediate response from Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

A big issue for Nevada is what the ruling means to the state’s Medicaid program.

The head of Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services said in May that as many as 150,000 more residents will be eligible for Medicaid coverage if the state has to comply with the Medicaid provisions. Bringing new residents onto the rolls was estimated to cost the state an estimated $574 million between now and 2020, said HHS Director Mike Willden.

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Audio clip:

Gov. Brian Sandoval says it would not be his decision to opt into the Medicaid expansion allowed under the Affordable Care Act:

062812Sandoval :24 to opt in.”

 

 

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller Calls On Congress To Continue Defunding Of Yucca Mountain

By Sean Whaley | 1:43 pm April 24th, 2012

CARSON CITY – U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., today sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of both the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations asking them to continue defunding the proposed high level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

Heller’s letter comes just days after some House Republicans indicated they want to allocate $25 million to revive the Yucca Mountain project.

Yucca Mountain tunnel. / Photo by Daniel Mayer via Wikimedia Commons.

Both the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations are currently preparing their Fiscal Year 2013 Energy, Water, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

“As you prepare your Fiscal Year 2013 Energy, Water, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, I am writing to request that you honor the wishes of the state of Nevada, continue to defund the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, and prioritize funding that seeks alternatives to Yucca Mountain for the long-term storage of our nation’s nuclear waste,” Heller said in his letter.

Heller, who is facing a challenge in his Senate election bid from Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said he has consistently opposed making Nevada the nation’s nuclear waste dump. Berkley has long opposed the dump as well.

“While we need to responsibly develop all of our nation’s energy resources, including nuclear energy, the irresponsible history of Yucca Mountain undermines the integrity of the project,” Heller said in his letter. “Nevadans have a right to be safe in their own backyards, and given the historically politicized nature of this project, I don’t trust the federal government to appropriately manage Yucca Mountain.”

The move by some House Republicans to restart funding for Yucca Mountain reflects concerns expressed by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who came in for some criticism for suggesting on his House website earlier this year that Yucca Mountain was not dead because it comes up for discussion in the House on a regular basis.

“While I understand it’s great politics for some of my predecessors to say it’s dead, and all that other sort of stuff, and more power to them, you can’t sit here and listen to those guys talk on the floor every week and walk back and tell Nevadans that you think it’s dead too, OK?” he said in February.

A statement on Amodei’s congressional website says in part: “Let me be clear, I do not believe Yucca Mountain should become a simple dumping site for the nation’s nuclear waste. I believe the Administration and Department of Energy (DOE) should keep funding for the project, while Congress works with the DOE to make the location a bastion of nuclear research and reprocessing.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval also sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu in March making it clear that he does not support any type of nuclear waste disposal or interim storage at Yucca Mountain. Sandoval’s letter was in response to the Nye County Commission expressing its support for a Yucca Mountain repository.

The project has been declared dead by some elected officials after President Obama zeroed out funding for it in 2010. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has also worked successfully to defund the project.

A special bipartisan commission is now calling for a new, “consent oriented” approach to find a suitable location for the disposal of the nation’s high-level nuclear waste.

Nevada 2012 Political Races Crystallize As Candidate Filing Period Ends

By Sean Whaley | 5:42 pm March 16th, 2012

(Updated to reflect that one of the Senate races in play is District 18, not District 19.)

CARSON CITY – After months of prognostications and political maneuvering, Nevada’s 2012 election season crystallized today as the state’s two-week filing period for public office came to a close.

Next up: A June 12 primary followed by the Nov. 6 general election, which will see a lengthy ballot topped by the presidential race, a competitive U.S. Senate race and four congressional contests.

Also at stake is control of the state Legislature, particularly the state Senate, where Democrats have a razor thin 11-10 majority.

Nevada is a battleground state in the presidential contest, a state President Obama won in 2008. Turnout for the presidential race is expected to have a major impact on “down ballot” races.

As evidence of Nevada’s importance, President Obama is making another trip to Southern Nevada on Wednesday to tour a Boulder City solar facility.

A number of minor party and independent candidates are vying for a number of elective offices as well.

The U.S. Senate race will see primaries for both parties, with incumbent Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., facing a handful of challengers. Heller was appointed to the Senate in May by Gov. Brian Sandoval to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of John Ensign.

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who is challenging Heller for the seat, also faces several Democrat challengers.

In the 1st Congressional District in urban Las Vegas, where former Democrat Rep. Dina Titus is viewed as the favorite to succeed Berkley, there are no other filed Democrats. Several Republicans have filed for the seat as well.

In the 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who won the seat in a special election in September 2011, is also the favorite to win a full term. He has no GOP opponents. Several Democrats have also filed for the seat.

In the 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., faces a challenge from Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas. Heck is seeking a second term. Other candidates representing both parties have also filed.

In the 4th Congressional District, created by Nevada’s population increase based on the 2010 census, Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, is the only Democrat, while a crowded field of Republicans, including state Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, and Danny Tarkanian, have filed.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.

Twelve state Senate seats are in play in the 2012 elections, and Democrats and Republicans expect a fierce battle to win control of the 21-member body.

There are several Senate races that could affect the balance of power, and the two major parties have already picked their candidates in most of the contests:

- Senate District 5, where former Henderson city councilman Steve Kirk, a Republican, faces Democrat and former state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse. Republican Annette Teijeiro is also a candidate in the race.

- Senate District 6, where GOP attorney Mark Hutchison is facing businessman and Democrat Benny Yerushalmi. Thomas Welsh is also a Democrat in the race.

- Senate District 9, where Republican Mari Nakashima St. Martin faces Democrat Justin Jones. Brent Jones is also a GOP candidate, and Frederick Conquest has filed as a Democrat.

- Senate District 15, where incumbent Greg Brower, R-Reno, faces former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, who resigned her Senate 13 seat to challenge the attorney who was appointed to fill out the term of the late Sen. Bill Raggio.

- Senate District 18, where Assemblyman Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, faces Democrats Kelli Ross and Donna Schlemmer. The Democrat Senate caucus has not yet endorsed in this race. Assemblyman Richard McArthur, R-Las Vegas, and Republican Conrad Vergara, have also filed.

Early today, a number of state senate candidates were unopposed. By 5 p.m., however, showing how competitive the two parties are, every race had at least two candidates.

The Assembly is less likely to see a switch away from Democrat control.

While Assembly Republicans see an opportunity to make gains on Democrats in the 2012 general election, they have an uphill battle with only 16 of 42 seats currently.

A few Assembly incumbents ended up running unopposed, including Republicans Ira Hansen in District 32, Pat Hickey in District 25, Tom Grady in District 38 and John Ellison in District 33, all of which are in northern Nevada.

In Clark County, Democrats Marilyn Kirkpatrick in District 1, Harvey Munford in District 6, Oliva Diaz in District 11, Richard Carillo in District 18, and Republican  John Hambrick in District 2, also face no opponents.

More than 230 candidates filed for various offices in Clark County.

Dozens more filed with the Secretary of State, Washoe County and with election officials in the other counties around the state.

One potential candidate who opted not to run is Republican Sharron Angle, a former member of the state Assembly who ran against U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2010.

Instead Angle announced on her website that she is going to produce a documentary on voter fraud, a statement that prompted a response from Secretary of State Ross Miller, who oversaw the 2010 Nevada general election where Reid handily beat Angle.

“Our multi-jurisdictional Election Integrity Task Force has always aggressively investigated any leads and successfully prosecuted election law violations,” Miller said in response to media requests for comment. “However, we can’t send out our investigators until we have basic information about what crime may have been committed, when it happened and who may have been involved. The unsupported fraud claims on Ms. Angle’s campaign website don’t give us enough information to even open up a case file.

Former State Sen. Bill Raggio, Lion Of Nevada Politics, Dead At 85

By Sean Whaley | 9:46 am February 24th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Bill Raggio, a lion of Nevada politics and the state’s longest-serving state senator, passed away during a trip to Australia on Thursday. He was 85.

Officials from around the state expressed sorrow and sympathy for Raggio’s family when news of the loss of the highly-regarded lawmaker was first reported by Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston early today.

Longtime family friend Greg Ferraro told Ralston: “Officially, Bill Raggio passed away last night at 10pm PST of respiratory illness in Sydney Australia. Funeral arrangements are pending.”

Raggio was traveling with his wife, Dale.

Raggio was first elected to the state Senate in November 1972, serving in 19 regular and 13 special sessions. He resigned in mid-term in January of 2011 citing health issues.

But Raggio had lost his leadership position in the Senate Republican Caucus after the November, 2010 general election. He had rankled some of his fellow Republicans by supporting U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s re-election bid over GOP rival Sharron Angle.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said he will order flags to half-staff on the day of his funeral.

“Sen. Raggio’s career exemplified the very best of public service,” Sandoval said. “His dedication to law and order, higher education, and the fiscal health of this great state spanned literally decades of Nevada history and touched the lives of tens of thousands of Nevadans. I have said before that if there was a Mount Rushmore of Nevada politics, Bill Raggio’s image would forever be carved there.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who served with Raggio in the state Senate, said: “This is the end of an era in Nevada. Bill was an icon of legislative public service and it was a privilege to serve with him in the state Senate.”

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, who helped induct Raggio into the state Senate Hall of Fame in the 2011 legislative session, said: “From his service as a District Attorney to becoming one of the longest serving legislators in Nevada history, Sen. Raggio always put the people of Nevada first. Nevada has truly lost one of its finest statesmen.”

At his hall of fame induction ceremony, Raggio said he never imagined that he would serve 10 terms in the state Senate, but that in retrospect, he realized he spent nearly half of his life in the Legislature.

“As I said we’ve had tough times, and we’ve had some serious issues that we’ve had to deal with,” he said. “And obviously we’ve often disagreed. But in the end I always felt that the final result was in the best interest of the state of Nevada and I was privileged to be a part of that process.”

Raggio said his highest honor was earning his Eagle badge as a Boy Scout, but that his induction in the Senate Hall of Fame, “ranks right up there.”

He was known to work across the aisle with Democrats to resolve contentious issues and bring legislative sessions to an end.

Raggio was highly regarded by lawmakers in both parties. He was also greatly appreciated by the Nevada Capital press corps for his sharp wit and outspoken nature on issues from education reform to tax policy.

His thorough knowledge of the legislative process was also legendary, and he used it to his advantage at every opportunity.

Raggio also had a great sense of humor and enjoyed kidding members of the press corps on a regular basis.

Raggio was known for “borrowing” $20 from colleagues and anyone else he could convince to hand over the cash, particularly lobbyists. Needless to say, the $20 was never returned.

Nevada Delegation Split on Latest Payroll Tax Cut Bill

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:08 pm December 19th, 2011

Nevada’s congressional delegation is currently split 3-2 on the latest bill temporarily extending the payroll tax cuts.

Rep. Shelley Berkley favors the measure passed by the U.S. Senate (by an 89-10 vote Saturday) and supported by Sen.s Harry Reid and Dean Heller.

However, both Rep.s Joe Heck and Mark Amodei say they oppose the two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts on the basis that it is too short-term.

House Speaker John Boehner this morning said Republicans will most likely vote down the measure, objecting to the temporary fix and saying he favors the year-long extension approved last week. He now wants to establish a conference committee to negotiate a different deal.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement earlier today that he is not going to call the Senate back into session:

“My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans, their intransigence will mean that in 10 days, 160 million middle-class Americans will see a tax increase, over 2 million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians.”

Sen. Heller said there was “no question” that the payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance benefits should be extended for one year, but that there was “no reason to hold up the short-term extension” while a longer-term deal is worked out.

Rep. Shelley Berkley, Heller’s Democratic opponent in the U.S. Senate race, also spoke in support of the short-term Senate measure on the House floor today, saying the hold-up is “thanks to the Tea Party extremists in the House of Representatives.”

But Rep. Joe Heck this afternoon put out a video statement explaining his strong opposition to the two-month measure, part of which is based on his objection to returning to this same debate in February.

Rep. Mark Amodei, the newest member of Nevada’s congressional delegation, also put out a statement saying, in part:

“To enact a 60-day extension of these important programs instead of a year, which would give doctors, patients, seniors, taxpayers and those looking for predictability and stability in their personal lives and jobs, is a can-kick of Olympic proportions. I have yet to hear of a reason for 60 days instead of 12 months. Conclusions for political sport are all that I see so far.”

If House Republicans do not pass the measure and the Senate does not return to Washington D.C. to negotiate a new bill, the payroll tax cuts will expire on Dec. 31.

 

 

In Case You Missed It: This Week in Nevada Politics

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:07 am September 15th, 2011

Here is my latest ICYMI installment with a nice round-up of snippets, blurbs and links, Dear Readers.

Presidential Race

This week, Gov. Sandoval endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for governor.

On the eve of the CNN/Western Republican Leadership Conference presidential debate in Las Vegas next month, a national Democratic-aligned group will convene a summit here.

A CNN poll says the Republican Party is split right down the middle between tea party supporters and those who do not support the movement.

RNC chief Reince Priebus this week said there still time for other candidates to get in the GOP race.

2nd Congressional District

After an easy win on Tuesday, Mark Amodei took office this morning as the newest U.S. House member representing Nevada. The oath was administered by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Amodei was sworn in along with Bob Turner, a Republican from New York who won his own special election.

The Nevada House delegation seniority, per @RollCall now goes as follows: Rep. Amodei is No. 433, Rep. JoeHeck is No. 382, and Rep. Berkley is No. 147.

A spokesman for Sharron Angle says she will be watching Nevada’s newest congressman closely.

Is a special election in Washoe County in September 2011 a national bellwether? Former Nevadan and Politico reporter Molly Ball says yes, but on the morning of the election Steve Sebelius disagreed and yesterday @RalstonFlash Tweeted the following:

Hey, Harbinger 2012 Caucus, some #s for you: NV voters NOT eligible for #nv02 special represent 65% of NV electorate. Breakdown: 46%D-32%R.

Translation:  The 2nd congressional district does not represent or reflect state voter registration statistics, nor is a special election comparable to a regular/presidential year general election, so people shouldn’t read too much into Amodei’s 20-point win in the district and/or 10-point win in Washoe County.

Congressional Candidates Without Borders

State Sen. John Lee headed to D.C. this week to talk about his congressional candidacy with Sen. Harry Reid and other Democratic Party leaders.

U.S. Senate Race

The conversation continues re: Rep. Shelley Berkley’s advocacy for legislation that benefitted her husband’s medical practice (the original New York Times story is here). Jon Ralston penned a good column saying there are (at least) two ways to look at the situation.

And Berkley tells the LVRJ she now thinks she should have disclosed.

Miscellaneous

Gov. Sandoval wants to talk to Washoe and Clark Counties about their refund requests.

UNLV might go ahead with an arena project, sans taxpayer dollars.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is being asked for clarification on its recent ruling on Yucca Mountain.

Jane Ann Morrison wrote an interesting piece this week about the constitutional reasons for the “leap frogging” of Nevada’s high court judges as they take turns being Supreme Court chief.

Reid had a 20-minute Twitter town hall this week.

In Case You Missed It: The Week in Nevada Politics

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:24 pm September 9th, 2011

These “ICYMI” posts are getting quite a few hits so I guess you like them, Dear Readers. Here’s this week’s round-up (plus a few from before the holiday weekend):

Presidential Race

My three cents on the President’s speech Thursday night.

Magellan’s 9/2 survey had Gov. Rick Perry up over Gov. Mitt Romney by 5 points (29-24 percent) in Nevada. Herman Cain, Rep. Bachman and Rep. Paul all came in at 6 or 7 percent.

Romney rolled out his economic and jobs plans in North Las Vegas this week. Can a visit from Perry be far behind?

Special Election in CD-2 (September 13)

State Senator Mark Amodei’s says he’d be “honored” to have your vote in his final television ad of the campaign.

State Treasurer Kate Marshall has been walking a tightrope as she runs as a Democrat in a conservative district, but Steny Hoyer’s visit cleared things up a bit.

The two underdog candidates fight on.

Reuters reports.

U.S. Senate Race

Rep. Berkley did not heart this story in the New York Times. The Las Vegas Sun sees nothing wrong. Steve Sebelius says she should have abstained. Jon Ralston says either way, it spells trouble for her campaign.

Dean Heller AGAIN demanded transparency from the so-called debt-cutting SuperCommittee via his fourth press release on the issue.

Congressional Delegation (and Hopefuls) in the News

Rep. Joe Heck gets heckled at a panel on job creation.

Does Sen. Harry Reid always get what he wants? Maybe not, but he can still do stuff like this.

The Washington Post fact checks a Reid job claim related to the FAA bill.

Dina Titus is not letting the lack of district lines stop her from putting together a great money team for her congressional run…somewhere.

Cities and Counties

A Clark County union negotiating expert says the SEUI is bargaining in bad faith. The county wants the Local Government Employee Management Relations Board to compel the union to meet more often and bargain in good faith. The SIEU responded calling the claim “disingenuous” and the complaint “frivolous.”

The Clean Water Coalition is shutting down but at least someone in the state has some money.

As first reported by me on Twitter, some folks in North Las Vegas are going to try to recall Mayor Shari Buck. But only 50 signatures were collected Tuesday at their kick-off rally.

Miscellaneous

Is the Nevada GOP finally getting its organizational act together such that it can inflict pain on the Democrats in 2012? The dean of Nevada politics says maybe.

The Nevada Supreme Court opened its fall term with a hearing on a freedom of speech argument by a political advocacy group.

A complaint against Bank of America was filed recently by Attorney General Catherine  Cortez Masto. She and many state AGs also signed a strongly worded letter of concern/complaint (and asks questions “in lieu of a subpoena”) against an alleged sex trafficking website.

Ralston blasts the state teachers’ union for its “report card” on lawmakers.

DOT is contemplating an Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Act (RRIF) loan of $6 billion to the DesertXpress project.

 

CD2 Candidates Battle Over Tax Policy, Solutions for the Economy

By Anne Knowles | 7:14 am August 26th, 2011

Helmuth Lehmann and Tim Fasano were caught in the crossfire last night as Mark Amodei and Kate Marshall threw rhetorical punches at one another during an hour-long debate between the four candidates for Nevada’s second congressional district.

Former state Sen. Mark Amodei responds to a question at the debate./Photo: Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau

The former state senator and current state treasurer stood on opposite ends of the podium trading jabs about taxes and jobs for much of the live debate held in Reno’s KNPB TV studio and broadcast statewide.

Democratic candidate Marshall proposed offering tax breaks to companies who create jobs and endorsed a so-called infrastructure bank, an idea also promoted by President Barack Obama, which would lend money to private companies to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. She used the topic to chide her Republican opponent.

“It has bipartisan support unless, of course, you signed the tax pledge, then you’re not supportive of that bipartisan piece of legislation,” said Marshall. “In order to come together you have to not box yourself in a corner you can’t sign a tax pledge which has Grover Norquist telling you when and whether you’ll raise taxes.”

Amodei recently re-signed a pledge not to raise taxes if he were elected to Congress, a pledge promulgated by Americans for Tax Reform, a Washington-based advocacy group headed by Grover Norquist.

“I think it signals a willingness to acknowledge the facts. Compromise is not spending 40 cents of every dollar on debt. Compromise is not running up the debt until it equals the GDP, ” said Amodei when asked earlier in the debate whether signing the pledge signaled his unwillingness to compromise. “It’s not being intractable, it’s recognizing we cannot tax your way out of this.”

For his part, Amodei rebuked Marshall for latching onto loan guarantees made to private enterprises by the federal government.

“We need to start telling the people the truth,” said Amodei when asked what he would do to restore confidence in Congress. “How maybe loan guarantees aren’t a good thing. Remember the ones to Chrysler and General Motors?  They cost the taxpayer. Remember the ones to AIG and some of the Wall Street folks.”

Amodei, like Marshall, repeated ideas he’s been touting on the campaign trail to solve the state’s economic woes. He talked about expediting the process for permits to use public lands and, on a national level, suggested a hiring freeze for the federal government.

Amodei said 85 percent of the land in Nevada is publically-owned and should be better utilized for ranching, mining and energy resources in order to create jobs, but permits to use the land can take up to 10 years to acquire.

“The processing times are phenomenally slow to the point where we are de facto closed for business,” said Amodei.

When the candidates were asked when they disagree with their own party, Amodei said his party over the last couple decades has sometimes lacked courage.

“Not having the courage to say we don’t need special healthcare for members of Congress, that we don’t need a special bank for member of Congress,” said Amodei. “There’s a good bunch of people serving there, but the culture has overtaken.”

Nevada State Treasurer Kate Marshall

Marshall said she parts way with the Democratic party on the so-called Bush tax cuts, reductions in the tax rate passed under President George W. Bush that are set to expire at the end of the year.

“I think we need to keep the Bush tax cuts,” said Marshall, saying that small businesses needed the cuts to create jobs.

Only Lehmann, a non-partisan independent, favored letting them expire, but only to raise rates on the wealthy.

The candidates also agreed that they would have not voted to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, but for varying reasons. Lehmann said he is opposed to the balanced budget amendment that was attached to the bill.

“I think it’s a ruse to make people believe that Congress is actually doing something,” said Lehmann.

Fasano, the Independent American Party candidate, said he wouldn’t have voted for it either.

“We have a problem in government and that problem is spending,” said Fasano.

Marshall said she was opposed to the deal because it cut defense spending and Medicare and didn’t close tax loopholes.

“It was the wrong priorities and those are not my priorities,” said Marshall.

Amodei said that he would have voted no because Washington needs to learn spending discipline.

Early voting for the special election to fill vacant seat starts on Saturday. The election is Sept. 13.

 

ICYMI: Mid-Week Political Round Up

By Elizabeth Crum | 1:35 pm August 24th, 2011

This “In Case You Missed It” feature was supposed to be a weekend thing, but I’ve got so many browser tabs open, I guess it is going to be semiweekly. Get caught up, Dear Readers. And comment below.

Special Election (September 13, 2011)

Ralston hosted a televised debate between Kate Marshall and Mark Amodei. Part One. Part Two. Or read our story on it.

KTNV has the early voting locations and schedules in Clark County.

Politico looks at all the lobbed bombs at Obama by the GOP.

A reporter at the conservative news site Washington Examiner writes about how (he thinks) Amodei could lose. Among other things, he cites a Public Policy Polling survey commissioned by DailyKos. Today, the same reporter heaped more coals by writing about Amodei’s changed position on the Ryan budget.

Both Amodei and Marshall tout positive reviews by the National Rifle Association.

The Marshall campaign launched a pretty scathing ad against Amodei. The NRCC continues to run equally scathing ads against Marshall (they have now spent over $500,000 on TV spots). Gloves are definitely off in this race as early voting approaches.

Amodei signed the tax pledge. Again. And American’s for Tax Reform defend the pledge on the subject of loopholes. The issue was raised by Marshall in criticisms of Amodei.

Anjeanette Damon recently questioned Amodei on tax issues on her show To the Point. When he said he had a consistent record on taxes as well as a record consistent with the tax pledge, she asked him if was fair to say he was consistent in his inconsistency.

Ralston discovered (and Tweeted) that this is not, after all, the first special House election in Nevada’s history. D.R. Ashley (R) won his with 3,691 votes back in in 1865. Fun stuff.

U.S. Senate

Political opponents Sen. Heller and Rep. Berkley work together (sorta) on the debt committee issue in D.C.

Rep. Shelley Berkley wants women in Reno to know what she has done for them. Ditto, Native Americans. She is clearly trying to win hearts and minds in northern Nevada.

Berkley spent some time in Carson City this week, too.

Heller commented. He also said he thinks Judge Russell should have disclosed his relationship with Mark Amodei in the CD-2 special election court case.

GOP Presidential Race

Romney is going to roll out his jobs plan in (you guessed it) Nevada on Labor Day weekend. Ann Romney was here this week.

@RalstonFlash Tweeted earlier this week that Rick Perry is talking to Mike Slanker (and I am sure others) about getting a ground game going here.

FiveThirtyEight did some interesting graphics on the GOP field.

Miscellaneous & Sundry

Anjeanette Damon wrote a fun piece on the many mock Twitter accounts in Nevada politics. (Are you following me on Twitter yet, peeps? @elizcrum )

Rep. Joe Heck chimed in on Libya. Earlier in the summer, he introduced a bill to pull the U.S. out of the NATO mission in Libya by cutting off funding.

Heck’s House race next year (we do not yet know who will challenge him) is anticipated to be one of the toughest in the land.

I am hearing there is an effort afoot to recall North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck. A group will file the necessary kick-off papers on September 7, if the energy doesn’t fizzle by then.

Sue Lowden recently spoke in Laughlin. She reflected on what she would have done differently in last year’s U.S. Senate primary (“I guess I would have tried harder to win over the vote of the Tea Party group”) and said she does not rule out a future run.

State Sen. Ruben Kihuen spoke to the AFL-CIO in Reno and was on AD’s show this week, but still has not announced that he is running for Congress next year.

You can track the Tweets of Nevada legislators on this page. Bookmark it, maybe.

 

County Clerks On Turnout in CD-2 Special: “Most People Don’t Even Know There is an Election Coming Up”

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:44 am August 23rd, 2011

Just how low will voter turnout be in the special election for Nevada’s second congressional district? The consensus of a handful of county clerks is that it is unlikely to exceed 25 percent, could be even lower and/but is really “anybody’s guess”.

“The fact is, most people don’t even know there is an election coming up,” said the Nye County clerk’s office. Other clerks agreed.

One indicator may be the low number of absentee ballots being requested. Douglas County reports around 350 absentee ballots requested to date. Typically, the county has received 1,000-1,500 absentee ballot requests by the time early voting starts.

Although Douglas County is generally known for high turnout numbers, the clerk’s office agreed that “very few people know about this election.”

In Washoe County, where over half the voters eligible to cast ballots in the election reside, about 3,600 absentee ballots have been requested so far. The number is usually closer to 12,000 in a primary and 25,000 in a general election.

The presence of television ads by the candidates’ and national parties may elevate turnout in Washoe County, but even so the clerk’s office estimates it at 25 percent to “the high twenties, even if things heat up.”

Senator James Settelmeyer said he expects turnout in Douglas County to be between 25 and 30 percent, but is not sure the counties “down south” will show as high.

“I have seen the candidates’ campaign signs here and there, and it’s funny, because usually the biggest thing on your sign is your last name. But maybe the candidates’ should have put the election date in giant numbers instead,” laughed Settelmeyer.

 

In Case You Missed It: Political Blurbs

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:52 am August 20th, 2011

Welcome to a new weekend feature here on the blog. We’ll bring you recent links, snippets, stories and Tweets you may have missed in Nevada and national politics. Enjoy. Feel free to post your own favorites in Comments.

Presidential Primary

Governor Sandoval’s name keeps popping up in stories about possible vice-presidential picks for the Republican ticket. This week Politico listed him among “the geographically and demographically ideal” along with Mark Rubio and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

This “270 to Win” interactive electoral map is fun to play with.

GOP presidential contenders are seeking Nevada endorsements. So far, Rep. Joe Heck, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki and nine state legislators have given Romney their nod.

CD-2 Special Election

The four candidates debated this week in Reno.

John Boehner hearts Mark Amodei. Really. And so does Mitt Romney.

Emily’s List (now over 900,000 members strong) endorsed Kate Marshall. So did the Alliance for Retired Americans.

The federal healthcare overhaul legislation is at issue on the airwaves. Amodei is linking Kate Marshall to the health care law approved by President Barack Obama and Congress, while Marshall released an ad slamming Amodei for supporting a Republican plan to privatize Medicare.

Republicans blame Marshall for Nevada’s credit rating downgrade.

AD does a fact check on the NRCC’s claim that Marshall was responsible for a huge business tax increase.

Kate Marshall chimed in (sorta) on Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell’s failure to disclose his business relationship with Mark Amodei in the special election case.

Marshall pointed out that she has raised more money than Amodei.

Americans for Prosperity commissioned a Magellan robo-poll. The survey says Amodei is up by 13 points.

Mediscare

Duck! Political canons are being fired every five minutes re: which party (or candidate) wants to kill Medicare. The latest:

– The national parties both try to control the Medicare message in the CD-2 special election race.

– Case and point:  The National Republican Congressional Committee TV ad attacking state Treasurer Kate Marshall.

– The Kate Marshall campaign responded with this TV ad claiming Mark Amodei wants to end Medicare.

– Mark Amodei’s mom defends him on the issue in this new TV ad.

Ever wonder what the truth is about rising Medicare costs? A Columbia Journalism Review reporter gives us an overview of a new Annals of Emergency Medicine report that explains.

Politifact evaluated DCCC claims that certain Republicans have voted to end Medicare.

Heller & Berkley

Medicare is an issue in this race, too.

In a June (internal) poll, Berkley was up 42-37 over Heller. The last PPP poll had Heller up over Berkley 46-43 (but within the margin of error). Most pundits are calling it a toss-up or giving a slight edge to Heller with disclaimers that it is too soon to say.

Both candidates seek the support of Nevada’s veterans who make up roughly 10 percent of the state’s population.

Dean Heller has gathered some D support for his call for debt committee transparency.

 

Education

The Clark County School District and the teachers union have reached a bargaining impasse that is “unlikely to be resolved” by Aug. 29, the first day of school.

State superintendent of schools Keith Rheault said Nevada will seek exemption from the No Child Left Behind Act after comments in which U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the program an “impediment” and “disincentive” for educators. States can ask for relief beginning in September.

Various & Sundry

A Nevada judge fined the now defunct ACORN $5,000 for a voter-registration compensation scheme. The field operative who created and ran the incentive program is serving three years of probation. (I had fun blogging about the FBI raid on the Las Vegas ACORN office back in 2008.)

The Clark County Commission decided against packing electoral districts with minorities. The same issue is at the center of disagreements over state legislative and congressional redistricting.

Lorne Malkiewich, the longtime director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, says he is going to retire before the beginning of the 2013 session.

Your 401(k) may in the tank, but Nevada mining company shareholders are doing well.

After push-back via recent public comment, the BLM says it is now going to evaluate the cost-benefits of that controversial pipeline project.

 

 

 

First CD-2 Debate This Week in Reno

By Elizabeth Crum | 10:28 am August 15th, 2011

Three candidates competing for Nevada’s 2nd U.S. House Congressional District seat will debate in Reno this week.

The debate, sponsored by the Truckee Meadows Post 3819 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, will be moderated by KRNV news anchor Joe Hart.

Candidates included will be Democrat Kate Marshall, Republican Mark Amodei and Independent American Party candidate Tim Fasano.

The debate will be held at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 17 at the city’s California Building and will be broadcast by KRNV News 4 and News Talk KKFT 99.1 FM Fox News Radio.

The event is free for attendees.

Update: Independent candidate Helmuth Lehmann has been invited and is expected to participate in the debate.

Ethics Questions Arise in Judge Russell’s Special Election Ruling

By Elizabeth Crum | 4:26 pm August 3rd, 2011

Should Carson City Judge and special election “ballot royale” squasher James Todd Russell have disclosed the fact that he co-owns land with Republican candidate Mark Amodei?

Judicial ethics rules do state that judges should avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

Ralston’s got the full scoop including remarks Russell made to the Reno Gazette-Journal‘s Ray Hagar and the judicial canons that apply.

In a nutshell, Russell did not disclose that he and Amodei own a mining claim worth about $500, even though Amodei was (1) the chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, which was the plaintiff in the lawsuit before Russell concerning special election rules and (2) a candidate who would benefit (or not) from Russell’s ruling.

As it turned out, Russell ruled that the Republican and Democratic Party central committees would nominate the candidates, so Amodei did benefit. The Nevada Supreme Court later upheld Russell’s ruling.

Russell claims he did not know whether Amodei was running (I guess he was the only person in the state who hadn’t yet heard the news), and that Amodei himself was not a party to the lawsuit (i.e. that the Party was the party).

Even so, as Ralston wrote:

…Russell’s strange ethics taint the process and raise questions about his lack of disclosure and relationship with Amodei.

 

New State GOP Chair Echoes NRC, Says She Will Be “Full Time” and “Hands On”

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:49 pm July 7th, 2011

Newly elected Nevada Republican Party Chairman Amy Tarkanian today held a conference call with the press in which she reiterated National Republican Committee talking points on the economy and laid out the state party’s strategy to sway Silver State voters away from President Obama and toward the GOP nominee in 2012.

Amy Tarkanian, Nevada Republican Party Chairman

Tarkanian said Nevada has lost 83,500 jobs in the last three years despite the federal stimulus and other “failed policies.” She also pointed to the 12.1% statewide unemployment rate, concluding that Obama has taken too many “left turns” and that he “will lose because of it.”

When asked about the party’s preparation for Nevada’s February 18 presidential caucuses — as things stand now, we will be third in the nation to hold our primary —  Tarkanian said the party is in “transition” and that she is meeting with “national groups” but admitted, “I don’t have specifics.”

When asked whether she will adopt some of the successful technology strategies and voter ID tools that state Democrats enlisted in 2010 and 2008 — such as using handheld internet-ready devices to canvass neighborhoods and log voter data — Tarkanian said the party will use both traditional and new media in “stepping up” efforts but could not speak to specific procurement and use of tools.

Tarkanian said she will be focused on fundraising, which according to her will be a “coordinated effort” between the party, Governor Sandoval, Senator Heller and Congressman Heck. She also said she is already working on candidate recruitment and voter registration.

When asked about the state party’s effort to reach out to minorities, Tarkanian listed several recent committee appointments to positions she says will aid in those efforts.

Among them was the appointment of Julie Hereford, an active member of the Clark County Republican party and member of the Asian community, to the Nominating and Candidate Recruitment Board (which is a standing committee made up of the state’s RNC members plus party members from the counties).

Brenda Flank, a black conservative member of Active Republican Women of Las Vegas and president of the newly formed non-profit group Conservative Alliance for Community Growth, has also been appointed, among others.

The conference call signals Tarkanian’s intent to be active and visible, unlike her often off-the-radar predecessor Mark Amodei who is now the Republican candidate for Dean Heller’s vacated congressional seat.

Thus far, several presidential candidates including Mitt Romney and John Huntsman have been to Nevada for campaign stops. However, it remains to be seen how often any of the candidates choose visit and how much they decide to spend on radio and television ads in their effort to win caucus votes in February.

 

Amodei Ad Aftermath

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:31 pm June 21st, 2011

If all press is good press, Republican nominee Mark Amodei’s first campaign ad is a winner.

 

The ad, which centers on the issue of our national debt and the debt limit, is narrated by an Asian news woman with a stereotypical Chinese accent and is even captioned in Chinese.

It shows images of shut down factories with padlocked gates, President Obama cheerfully approving gigantic debt bills, the U.S. dollar sign morphing into the symbol for the Chinese yuan, China’s red flag furled over shiny cartoon cities, Obama bowing humbly to Chinese leader Hu Jintao and the Chinese Army marching in/on Washington D.C.

Says Amodei near the end: “I’ll never vote to raise Obama’s debt limit.”

 

Here is a round-up of reactions with links to the original sources (with apologies to anyone I missed):

– Dave Catanese of Politico called the ad “provocative”.

The Daily Caller‘s headline referred to the spot as a “light-hearted fear mongering ad”.

– Salon titled it “21st century red baiting”.

HuffPo riffed that the ad warns that China “will turn America into the Hunan Centipede”.

– KOS said, “Wow” and “This ad from newly-crowned GOP nominee Mark Amodei must be seen to be believed. It’s both wildly racist and extremely nuts”.

And in Nevada:

– Beth Ingalls with Examiner.com in Reno wrote “it’s a doozy.”

– Wyatt Cox at White Pine News called it “too little, too late.”

– Andrew Davey, a progressive blogger from Henderson, told the RJ he thought the ad was “xenophobic.”

– Kirk Caraway at Carson City Now asked who the real Mark Amodei is and said, “It’s as if some evil spirit has taken control of the old Amodei and created a monster.”

All the publicity came cheap, too. The 30-second spot was placed at KRNV in Reno from Monday through Thursday for less than $2,000, according to a Ralston Tweet. Politico estimated the total ad buy at around $3,000 (so there must have been another placement somewhere).

Update: Politico reports that the Asian American Asian American Action Fund called the ad “xenophobic” and “offensive” and “fear-mongering” and says it uses ”Chinese language and imagery in a sinister light.” The group is asking the Amodei to take it off the air.