Posts Tagged ‘Paul Enos’

New Campaign Launched In Nevada To Combat Human Trafficking

By Sean Whaley | 4:23 pm February 22nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – A new campaign aimed at helping truck drivers and truck stop employees become more aware of how to identify and alert authorities to instances of underage children being forced into acts of prostitution was announced today by two Nevada organizations.

The Nevada Trucking Association and the Nevada Petroleum Marketers Association said the campaign will use materials developed by a national organization, Truckers Against Trafficking, to help truck drivers and truck stop employees combat incidents of human trafficking.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Turner via Wikimedia Commons.

“The Nevada Trucking Association and its members are sickened by the evils of human trafficking,” said Chief Executive Officer Paul Enos. “Truckers are the eyes and ears of our highways and truck stops, so we are asking truckers to notify the authorities when they see signs of these activities.”

Peter Krueger association executive with the Petroleum Marketers, said: “The Nevada Petroleum Marketers Association is committed to make this effort our top priority for 2012. Our members can make a difference by spotting and reporting underage trafficking at truck stops across Nevada.”

Kendis Paris, national director of Truckers Against Trafficking, said: “Having the support of Nevada truckers and truck stops will prove vital to the work of Truckers Against Trafficking. This means that thousands more will become educated and equipped about the realities of domestic sex trafficking and how they can help end it. When the trucking and truck stop associations take the lead in their state it causes their membership to understand the importance of this issue and get behind it themselves.”

The Nevada Trucking Association will distribute informational DVDs to its member companies to use during training, orientation and safety seminars. Wallet-size cards will also be provided to members with information about how to recognize trafficking and what to do when it is suspected.

The Nevada Petroleum Marketers Association will use its weekly email bulletins, quarterly magazine and website to promote awareness.  It will also make the materials available from Truckers Against Trafficking to its members.

Nevada state Assemblyman John Hambrick. / Nevada News Bureau file photo

Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, who has pursued legislation aimed at strengthening Nevada’s laws against human trafficking, said: “I am very pleased that the Nevada trucking industry and the truck stop owners have entered the war against human trafficking. This scourge must be stopped. All of us have seen the media reports on children as young as eleven being prostituted by men who are making thousands upon thousands of dollars selling the bodies of our children. We now have two allies that can have a direct effective on fighting this war.”

In a telephone interview, Hambrick said there was anecdotal evidence presented at a press conference in Southern Nevada announcing the new campaign that it has been successful in combating the problem.

“I think there will be a new dynamic on fighting this problem,” he said. “Primarily now we’ll have people on the interstates. Many times society always thinks this is downtown, in an urban area, whether it is on the Strip or in Reno. But we always forget that these truckers are going all over the country.

“It’s a team effort,” Hambrick said. “We all have to pull together. Society has to pull together to solve this problem.”

The Department of Justice estimates that currently 100,000 to 300,000 of America’s children are at risk for entering the sex for sale industry each year. Human trafficking is estimated to be the second most lucrative crime in world with annual revenue of $32 billion.


Audio clips:

Assemblyman John Hambrick says the campaign brings a new dynamic to fighting the problem:

022212Hambrick1 :20 over the country.”

Hambrick says everyone has to help fight human trafficking:

022212Hambrick2 :05 solve this problem.”


Nevada Faces Potential Loss Of Federal Highway Funds For Delay In Implementing New Trucker Safety Rule

By Sean Whaley | 12:27 pm January 5th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada is one of several states that will not make a Jan. 30 federal deadline to implement a newly mandated safety rule to ensure truck drivers have proof they are medically safe to drive, potentially putting federal highway dollars at risk.

The new rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCS) requires state motor vehicle departments across the country to create a new database that will be linked nationally to keep track of the proof truck drivers need to show they are safe to drive.

Courtesy of FEMA via Wikimedia Commons.

Failure to meet the deadline could potentially put 5 percent of a state’s federal highway funding at risk in the first year, and 10 percent thereafter. But states that move forward with a plan for implementation are expected to avoid any penalties if they complete the project by 2014.

Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder said the state would be at risk for about $10 million in lost federal road funds if a 5 percent penalty was imposed.

Tom Jacobs, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, said the agency is working to meet the new mandate but is not expected to do so until the end of 2013.

“We estimate this massive project will take an additional 2,500 computer programming hours to complete,” he said.

A spokeswoman for FMCS who spoke on background said penalties are not expected to be imposed right away. States not in compliance by Jan. 30 will get a letter informing them of their status, after which they will have through Sept. 30, 2013 to get their databases operational, she said.

After that point, penalties could be imposed, the spokeswoman said.

The FMCS plans to continue a current card-carrying requirement for truck drivers through Jan. 30, 2014.

The new rule was finalized on Jan. 30, 2009. Three states currently have their databases operational.

Nevada truck drivers are now required to carry medical cards on their persons to show proof of medical health to drive. The new database rule imposed by the federal government will replace the need for truck drivers to carry the cards.

While it may be a challenge for the Nevada DMV to implement, Paul Enos, chief executive officer of the Nevada Motor Transport Association, said the requirement is not viewed by the industry as an example of excessive regulation.

“Our guys are already required to carry medical cards,” he said. “They are required to have them with them all the time. Really I think where the hardship would be would be more with DMV and their programming and implementing it.

“They want to make sure that when you are driving an 80,000-pound vehicle that you are physically fit and able to do so,” Enos said. “So the thought would be, if they have this in a database, then everybody’s getting checked, it’s not just a spot check on the road or during a compliance review. And that would then eliminate the need for a driver to carry that card with them when they are on the road.”

Jacobs said the agency plans to use a federal grant worth a little over $400,000 to hire contract programmers to re-customize its database to comply with the new requirement. The grant is expected to cover the cost of the project but that remains undetermined at this point, he said.

Jacobs said the agency has every intention of making the extended deadline: “We can’t take the risk of losing federal dollars. Not at this point.”


Audio clips:

DMV spokesman Tom Jacobs says the agency has a $400,000 federal grant to perform the required work:

010512Jacobs :16 complete the project.”

Paul Enos of the Nevada Motor Transport Association says his industry does not have an issue with the new rule:

010512Enos1 :18 and implementing it.”

Enos says the new database will ensure all truckers are being checked:

010512Enos2 :22 on the road.”


Tow Truck Bill Focus Of “Huge Lobbying Effort”

By Andrew Doughman | 7:56 am May 5th, 2011

CARSON CITY – It has been called the most lobbied bill during the legislative session, and it is has nothing to do with taxes.

All the fuss is about changes to the tow truck and auto salvage industry.

In one corner are a wealthy business owner who often contributes to political campaigns, the auto insurance industry, the AFL-CIO and a former Speaker of the Assembly whose clients include  a now-indicted poker company.

In the other corner are tow truck companies, salvage yards, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and a group called the Nevada Tow Car Council.

Somewhere in the middle are two groups: citizen members of the Nevada Assembly, some of whom professed to know little of about the auto industry during a hearing yesterday, and average Nevadans who pay auto insurance and may someday have a vehicle towed.

At stake are potentially lucrative, monopolistic deals for business groups.

Senate Bill 407 would change how tow companies treat vehicles that end up in accidents in Clark County. Tow companies currently take those vehicles to their lots, where people can find their vehicles later.

A proposed amendment to the bill would allow insurance companies to contract with an independent storage lot. If you got in a wreck, your vehicle would go to the insurance company’s lot, where you could retrieve it later.

“I don’t know where all the money is coming from on that bill, but there is a huge lobbying effort on that,” said Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, who heard the bill in a Senate Transportation Committee last month. “There were so many good people on both sides of it that both made good points.”

Dueling Lobbyists Argue Bill Could Create Or Destroy Monopoly

The main proponent of the bill is Bobby Ellis, a businessman who often contributes to political campaigns and owns SNAP towing.

Richard Perkins, a former Democratic Speaker of the Assembly, is lobbying the bill on behalf of Ellis.

Former Speaker Richard Perkins (center), meets with lobbyists and Bobby Ellis, a Henderson businessman, after a legislative hearing. Perkins says Senate Bill 407 does not favor Ellis. "It just gives a level playing field so everyone can compete," he said. /PHOTO: Andrew Doughman, Nevada News Bureau

He said that just two tow companies get all the business for vehicles involved in accidents. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police authorize Ewing Brothers and Quality Towing to tow cars from accident scenes.

“A monopoly is what they have now,” he said, noting complaints of price gouging and abuse.

Those two companies can charge fees ratified by the Nevada Transportation Authority.

The bill would allow insurance companies to contract with companies offering lower fees, Perkins said.

“This really opens it up for people instead of protecting the current monopoly,” he said. “You shouldn’t be a victim of an accident and of a tow company. … If they weren’t raping the public we wouldn’t be here in the first place.”

Opponents to the bill note that Ellis is a consultant for Insurance Auto Auctions, which bought his salvage yard several years ago. They say this gives him an in with insurance companies and a reason to contract with Ellis.

Towing company representatives like Paul Enos say that the bill will create a monopoly for Ellis.

Ellis contended that this is not true.

“A lot of people say this is a special interest bill, but I may not even get a contract out of it,” he said.

Opponents to the bill said it has little to do with auto insurance consumers and people who get in accidents. They say that the bill ultimately benefits Ellis and the insurance industry.

“They will absorb the savings, it will never get to the consumer,” said Jason Kent of Quality Towing. “This bill would make us give up the most profitable part of our business.”

Most tow truck companies earn a hefty chunk of their revenue from storing vehicles, said Dennis Milk of Tow Guys towing company.

Some vehicles then move along to salvage yards or auto auction companies, two of which testified against the bill.

Sam McMullen, a lobbyist representing Copart Auto Auctions told a legislative committee “that kind of relationship” between Ellis and Insurance Auto Auctions gave his client concern about the bill.

Sam McMullen, lobbyist for Copart Auto Auctions meets with lobbyists for tow truck companies and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department prior to a legislative hearing. McMullen said Ellis' business relationships "cause concern" for this client. /PHOTO: Andrew Doughman, Nevada News Bureau

Michael Geeser, lobbyist for AAA, said that cost savings may not necessarily pass along to consumers.

“At least it gives us one more choice and a chance to perhaps bring prices down,” he told a legislative committee.

AFL-CIO representative Danny Thompson said the bill would help average Nevadans.

Representatives from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said they did not want to become “agents” for insurance companies in directing vehicles to the storage lots insurance companies designate.

Both proponents and opponents agreed on a portion of the bill that mandates the Nevada Transportation Authority to develop a standard set of fees for the tow truck and storage lot industry, which should help Nevadans.

Choice Of Committee Stirs Controversy

Further complicating the matter is the committee to which the bill was sent.

Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson, D- North Las Vegas, is the chairman of the Commerce and Labor committee that heard the bill yesteraday.

Opponents of the bill noted Atkinson is also the recipient of a trip to London paid for by Perkins on behalf of his client, Pokerstars, a company which is now under federal investigation.

Perkins called those implications a “cheap shot” and a “smear campaign.”

Henderson businessman Bobby Ellis was at the Nevada Legislature to support Senate Bill 407. He said the bill is about consumers. "All their (towing industry) gravy and all these charges will go away and it'll help the consumer,

Opponents of the bill pointed at the thousands of dollars Ellis contributed to members of the Commerce and Labor committee.

But groups such as the Nevada Motor Transport Association, which represents tow truck companies and others, also made donations to members of that committee.

If anything, the allegations proved there is money in the fight, and there are a gaggle of lobbyists on both sides who will hope to turn the ear of a member of Nevada’s Assembly before the bill returns for a vote.

The committee has yet to take action on the bill.





Debate Over State Budget ‘End Game’ Suggests Compromise Far Off

By Andrew Doughman | 7:38 pm April 18th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, wanted honesty about the Legislature’s budget “end game,” and he got it.

At a legislative town hall featuring 21 lobbyists, lawmakers and business leaders, the candid comments from panelists seemed to suggest a looming budget compromise is a fool’s hope.

“You’re not going to get a tax increase through this Senate,” said Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, one of the panelists. “You’re simply not going to get it.”

He clashed again with AFL-CIO lobbyist and co-panelist Danny Thompson. Now both men have said they are “offended” by what the other has said about collective bargaining. Roberson’s bill to change collective bargaining law died in committee last week.

Hickey gave each panelist about five minutes to speak, which was enough time for each panelist to repeat a few key talking points.

“It seemed business as usual,” said Jim Cooley, lobbyist for the Nevada Libertarian Party. “It was basically, ‘this is my pitch.’”

Each speaker brought his or her own expertise to the discussion. But the debate was framed by the needs and wants of each participant.

Washoe County Superintendent Heath Morrison called for education reforms paired with more funding than Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed in his general fund budget.

“We must improve education,” Morrison said. “Only by providing an educated workforce are businesses going to want to come to Nevada and stay in Nevada.”

Chuck Muth, conservative activist for Citizen Outreach, maintained his firm stance against new taxes.

“It is no longer sufficient to say that the government needs to do more with less,” Muth said. “It is time for us to start saying that the government needs to do less with less.”

Heidi Gansert, Sandoval’s chief of staff, did her best to put a new spin on the talking points representatives from the governor’s office have used to defend the budget since its January release.

“We recognize that there are some very difficult cuts,” Gansert said. “It’s time that we have to do that.”

Hickey organized the town hall meeting to bring a diverse crowd to one place to debate, as the title of the forum suggested, “the recession, revenues and Nevada’s recovery.” He said earlier that he wanted Nevada’s political players to put their “cards on the table.”

At least one lobbyist in the audience said he was discouraged that the cards the players revealed today were the same hands they were holding two months ago.

“I think it shows how firm both sides are in their positions, which means we probably are not playing for an end game in that first week of June,” said Paul Enos, a lobbyist for the Nevada Motor Transport Association.

Former Republican Sen. Randolph Townsend spoke at the event and channeled his colleague, former Republican Sen. Bill Raggio, in calling for more respect in the legislative debate.

“Deal only with the issue in front of you,” he said. “Don’t tie the issue to the person … the day you make it personal you lose … It’s a lot harder to become vitriolic when it’s somebody you know.”

Members of the public also joined by watching online or attending the town hall at the Legislature. Robert Stransbury, 64, is a retired teacher and Carson City resident who listened to the debate from the Legislature.

“I took away that there’s some very strong opinions on opposing sides,” he said. “I hope that they can agree and come together and get a budget.”

To that end, Townsend had some advice for the current legislators struggling to do more than cobble together a budget at the last minute.

“Once in awhile you have to walk out of the [legislative] building, breathe the clean air and try to get a different perspective, and right now that is what the building needs,” he said.

The 120-day legislative session is scheduled to end during the first week of June.