Posts Tagged ‘Raggio’

Gov. Sandoval Appoints Private Sector Financial Adviser To Economic Forum

By Sean Whaley | 2:33 pm August 8th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval has appointed Las Vegas financial adviser Ken Wiles to the Economic Forum, a panel of mostly private citizen fiscal experts charged with making tax revenue projections for the state.

Wiles is currently a managing director at Acceleron Group, a firm that specializes in providing domestic and international companies with investment banking, private equity and strategic financial advisory services with an emphasis on restructuring and turnaround activities. Wiles is a member of the senior management team responsible for establishing the company’s strategic direction, leading business development activities and directing client engagements.

He was appointed to fill the unexpired term of John Restrepo of Las Vegas, who has resigned from the panel. The appointment lasts through Jan. 31, 2012.

The five-member panel has three appointments made by the governor, one by the Assembly speaker and one by the Senate majority leader. State law requires the forum to make projections of the revenue that will be collected by the state. The governor and Legislature must rely on Economic Forum estimates for the preparation and adoption of a balanced state budget.

“Ken’s financial and operational experience within growing organizations ranging from venture-stage companies to multi-location, publicly traded corporations will be a vital asset to the Economic Forum as Nevada continues on a path to economic recovery,” Sandoval said  “From serving as a professor to working day in and day out in the financial world, Ken’s intimate knowledge of how the economy works will now benefit his fellow Nevadans.”

Prior to Acceleron, Wiles served as the chief financial officer and senior vice president of business development of AppForge Inc. where he led the company’s strategic business relationships with companies including Nokia, Microsoft, Oracle, Palm, RIM, AT&T, and Symbian, among others. In addition, Wiles was responsible for finance, accounting, investor relations, human resources and management information systems. The software firm ceased operations in March 2007.

Wiles has also been a vice president at Lloyd & Company, an investment banking firm that specialized in providing investment banking and strategic financial advisory services to middle-market companies and served as chief financial officer for SOMAR, Inc.

For a total of 17 years, Wiles was a finance professor at the Kenan Flagler Business School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an adjunct finance professor in the executive MBA program. A published author with articles appearing in The Journal of Financial Economics, The Journal of Empirical Finance, Financial Management, and Financial Analyst Journal, Wiles was also the recipient of the MBA and undergraduate teaching awards while at Kenan Flagler.

Wiles has also held positions in liquidation accounting at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); in the accounting department at Miller and Long, Inc., one of the nation’s largest concrete subcontractors; and at Golembe Associates, a financial institutions investment banking firm.

The Economic Forum was created in 1993 with Senate Bill 23 introduced by former state Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno. Before then, the governor and lawmakers independently determined what the revenue estimates would be for purposes of adopting a balanced budget based on analysis from their own fiscal staff. Raggio said the proposal was intended to depoliticize the process of setting revenue estimates.

In testimony in support of the bill at the Senate Finance Committee in 1993, Raggio said: “Whether personally, or not, there is always that feeling that if we can (massage) these projections, and make them a little bigger, then we can accommodate this or that. I think that’s the problem.”

Members of the forum are paid $80 for one day of preparation for each meeting and $80 for the meeting itself. They also get the same per diem reimbursements and travel expenses provide to state employees.


Gov. Sandoval Agrees To Eliminate 18 Executive Branch Panels As Recommended By Task Force

By Sean Whaley | 5:01 pm July 13th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Gov. Brian Sandoval today agreed to eliminate 18 executive branch committees, councils and advisory panels as recommended by a task force, including the clearly outdated State Year 2000 Coordinating Council, among others.

The Governor’s Sunset Task Force, which issued its final 90-page report on Tuesday, also recommended that future panels be established with a mandate to follow the state Open Meeting Law.

The Year 2000 council was created by former Gov. Bob Miller in 1998 to ensure state computer systems were Y2K compliant.

Former state Sen. Bill Raggio served as chairman of the task force, which was established by Sandoval to review the necessity of existing non-statutory executive branch advisory bodies created by prior governors or department heads. Other members of the task force included former state Sens. Bernice Mathews and Ann O’Connell.

“I thank Senators Raggio, Mathews and O’Connell for their diligent work on behalf of Nevada’s citizens,” Sandoval said. “The recommendations they have put forth will help increase transparency and accountability in state government, and help set the stage for my administration to work closely with the Legislature on future sunset reviews provided by recent legislation.”

The members of the task force voted unanimously to recommend that Sandoval issue new executive orders to continue, create, and eliminate various councils, commissions, task forces and similar bodies.

The task force also made additional recommendations to include elements such as an expiration date and a requirement to comply with Nevada’s Open Meeting Law in future executive orders which create a council, commission, task force or similar body.

Raggio said some of the panels pre-dated his time in the Legislature, which began in 1972. Some had lost their purpose, while the work of others will be continued by different means, including through committees created by the Legislature.

Former Sen. Bill Raggio served as chairman of a panel to review and recommend elimination of outdated executive branch panels. / Nevada News Bureau file photo

“There were a lot of these commissions and boards that were not legislatively created, but by past governors, and some of them with no time limits, actually with no purpose at all,” he said. “We had no difficulty in recommending the ones that should remain. And the rest of them, really, served no purpose.

“It just did away with a lot of stuff that was still on the boards and that people were being appointed to without any purpose,” Raggio said.

Sandoval’s acceptance of the recommendations means the elimination of 18 committees, councils, commissions and task forces; the continuation of eight existing councils, commissions, and task forces; and the creation of one committee and one task force.

The 18 committees, councils, commissions and task forces Sandoval will eliminate are:

-          The Nevada Interagency Council on Homelessness;

-          The Strategic Plan for People with Disabilities Accountability Committee;

-          The Strategic Plan for Rural Health Care Accountability Committee;

-          The Strategic Plan for Senior Services Accountability Committee;

-          Governor’s Advisory Committee on Radiation Effects;

-          Governor’s Management Task Force;

-          Nevada Commission on Minority Business Enterprises;

-          Governor’s Word Processing Committee;

-          Governor’s Task Force on Employment Training;

-          Governor’s Small Business Council;

-          Governor’s Literacy Coalition Advisory Council;

-          Governor’s Committee on Volunteers and Volunteering;

-          Information Services Policy Committee;

-          Commission on Workplace Safety and Community Protection;

-          State Year 2000 Coordinating Council;

-          Governor’s Appeal Hearings Board for State of Nevada’s Self-Funded Insurance Program;

-          Silver Source Steering Committee; and

-          Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

The panels recommended to continue under new executive orders with new expiration dates and new reporting requirements are:

-          The 2-1-1 Partnership;

-          The Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder;

-          The Nevada Broadband Task Force;

-          The Nevada Communications Steering Committee;

-          The Nevada Crime Commission;

-          The Nevada Homeland Security Working Group;

-          The Nevada Re-Entry Task Force; and

-          The State Citizens Corps Council.

The task force recommended that Sandoval issue executive orders, with expiration dates and reporting requirements, to create both a Child Care Advisory Committee and a Child Support Task Force. Both would be similar to panels appointed by the administrator of the Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services.

Audio clips:

Sen. Bill Raggio says a lot of the executive branch boards no longer served any purpose:

071311Raggio1 :19 purpose at all.”

Raggio says the task force had no difficulty in identifying those panels that should remain:

071311Raggio2 :31 without any purpose.”

Former Sen. Bill Raggio Inducted Into Senate Hall of Fame

By Sean Whaley | 1:47 pm April 19th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Lawmakers took time some away from the budget and other pressing issues today to honor former Sen. Bill Raggio, a fourth-generation Nevadan and the longest-serving member of the state Senate who retired earlier this year.

Raggio was surrounded by current and former colleagues as the Senate approved Senate Resolution 4 commemorating the Reno native’s 38-year service in the Legislature and inducting him into the Senate Hall of Fame.

Former Sen. Bill Raggio speaking at Hall of Fame Induction today/Photo: Nevada News Bureau

Raggio, 84, 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 this year citing health issues.

The Republican and former Washoe County District Attorney established the Senate Hall of Fame in 1989. The first inductee was the late Senate Majority Leader James Gibson of Clark County. Raggio is the 37th member of the Senate to be so honored.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, recalled that while serving as an intern in the Nevada Legislature he was afraid of Raggio.

“I literally was so afraid of Sen. Bill Raggio that I avoided coming to the Senate chamber, because in many ways I was awestruck by his presence, his knowledge and command of the process, and his ability to get $20 out of everybody that he met,” Horsford said.

Raggio was known for “borrowing” $20 from colleagues and anyone else he could convince to hand over the cash.

“Sen. Bill Raggio is a true statesman,” Horsford said. “He loves his party, but he puts the state of Nevada before his party. He is a true statesman in that he has always looked out for the future of our state, providing great vision and leadership during difficult times.”

Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, who was selected to take over as minority leader from Raggio, said the former lawmaker also spent 18 years of public service in the Washoe County District Attorney’s office.

McGinness noted that Raggio had a “burning passion” for the job, a reference to Raggio’s burning of an illegal brothel east of Reno in 1960 while district attorney.

“Sen. Raggio’s unique knowledge of the state budget and the legislative process here in Carson City will never again be realized,” he said.

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.”

Attending the ceremony were a number of former state senators, including Dina Titus, a Democrat who left the Legislature to run for and win a term in Congress in 2008. She lost re-election in 2010. Also on hand were Democrat Spike Wilson, a Reno attorney, Bernice Mathews, a Reno Democrat who was forced out in 2010 by term limits, and former GOP Lt. Gov. Lonnie Hammargren.

Former state Sen. Dina Titus listens at Raggio Hall of Fame induction ceremony today/ Photo: Nevada News Bureau

Raggio decided to step down in January citing difficulty in walking due to a severed Achilles tendon. But late in 2010, Raggio had been replaced as minority leader of the Senate Republicans following the November general election.

Raggio, who always worked across the aisle with Democrats, voted for tax increases to balance the budget on more than one occasion, including in the 2009 session, voting to override a veto from former GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons.

But what led to his ouster from leadership was his support of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in his successful re-election bid against Republican Sharron Angle.

Today was also “Old Timer’s Day” at the Legislature, with a number of former lawmakers visiting the Senate and Assembly chambers.

Audio clips:

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford says he was “afraid” of Raggio while serving as an intern at the Legislature:

041911Horsford1 :25 that he met.”

Horsford says Raggio is a true statesman:

041911Horsford2 :20 during difficult times.”

Former Sen. Bill Raggio says while he often disagreed with his colleagues, Nevada’s interests were always foremost in his mind:

041911Raggio :24 of that process.”

Sen. Mike McGinness says Raggio’s knowledge of the budget and legislative process will never be duplicated:

041911McGinness :14 state of Nevada.”

Bipartisan Support Offers Good Chance For Campaign Finance Reform In 2011 Session

By Sean Whaley | 1:40 pm February 10th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Secretary of State Ross Miller says the time is ripe to get a substantial campaign finance reform package through the Legislature, and with Gov. Brian Sandoval and lawmakers of both parties in agreement on the need for change, he may be right.

“I believe we probably have the best chance to pass meaningful campaign finance reform this session than in any other cycle we’ve had,” Miller said.

“Every time an outside group comes in and gives Nevada an ‘F’ and ranks us dead last in terms of campaign finance transparency, the single biggest complaint that they have is that we allow for handwritten, paper-based reports that can be sent in often times a day or so before the election,” he said. “In a state where well over half the people will vote early, that’s not helpful to anybody.”

Miller’s reform measures, Assembly Bills 81 and 82, were introduced on the first day of the session on Monday. AB82 would require candidates in most cases to file their campaign contribution and expense reports electronically so the public could easily review the information in a searchable database.

Assembly Bill 81 would require the reports to be filed four days ahead of early voting, with an update due the Friday prior to the primary and general election days. Currently the reports are filed just seven days before the primary and general elections, well after many Nevadans have already cast their ballots. The reports can also be mailed in, making the information even less useful to voters.

Miller said the idea is to get the information out to the public at the appropriate time, and in a format that would allow voters to examine the reports in a convenient way.

“The current structure is a disaster and we deserve the ‘F’ we get every cycle,” he said. “This legislation I don’t think will move us to an ‘A’ but I would be happy with a ‘C’ at this point. I would be happy with a passing grade.”

Efforts to require electronic filing of the reports have failed in past sessions due to opposition by some lawmakers.

Sandoval supports electronic filing as well.

In a statement from his office in response to a query about the measures, spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner said: “We’re still reviewing the full bills as they cover many election issues, but we do support the electronic filing because it has the potential to put the information in the hands of voters earlier in the campaign. We’ll continue to monitor these bills and other campaign measures.”

Sandoval said he has been in conversation with Miller on the need for campaign and election reform.

“I know there are some items that I’m going to be supportive of within his package,” he said.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, who had initially indicated he might pursue his own measure, said instead he will likely use Miller’s bills as a starting point for implementing needed reforms. Oceguera said he is optimistic the Legislature will adopt needed changes to the reporting process.

Oceguera said he has not yet read Miller’s proposals, but does conceptually support reforms.

“We should be as transparent as possible,” he said.

Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, said she is optimistic as well that reforms will succeed this session.

“We do everything online now,” she said of her campaign reports. “So I’m there. I’m up with technology and so I have no problems with it. I support Ross Miller and the changes that he wants and I think it is going to be fine.

“There is no reason not to do it,” said Cegavske, a member of the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee that will hear the bills later in the session.

In addition to the bipartisan support, some opponents of the reforms are no longer serving in the Legislature, which could also improve chances for passage.

Former Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, made the motion to delete the electronic filing requirement in Miller’s campaign bill in the last days of the 2009 session. The Assembly had already weakened the requirement by postponing its effective date to 2011 so it would not affect the 2010 campaign season.

In this session, the two bills have now been referred to the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Miller said a proposal requiring the reporting of large contributions within 72 hours within 21 days of an election is not part of his reform package this session.

There was some opposition to the idea from some elected officials who said it was too burdensome, he said.

Oceguera said in September he would seek such a change to state law this session, but in comments earlier this week he appeared to back off the idea.

The Nevada Legislature is made up of citizens who have regular jobs, families and other commitments, he said.

“You should report those as quickly as you possibly can, but I don’t know if 72 hours is the appropriate number,” Oceguera said. “Maybe we give people 10 days or two weeks.”

Miller said he is making the reform proposals a priority for his office, and is engaged in public outreach to drum up support for the changes, including a Facebook page. Past efforts at reform may have failed in part because lawmakers did not get any sense that the public was concerned about the need for the changes, he said.

“It is a modest step forward to mandate that these reports be filed electronically,” he said. “It does not create any additional burden on elected officials or candidates, and while at the same time would be a giant leap forward in putting more transparency in place.”

Audio clips:

Secretary of State Ross Miller says 2011 session is best chance to pass campaign reforms in long time:

021011Miller1 :10 cycle we’ve had.”

Miller says electronic filing of campaign reports is absolutely necessary:

021011Miller2 :24 before the election.”

Miller says failure to use electronic filing is why the state gets bad grades for campaign finance reform:

021011Miller3 :22 before the election.”

Miller says current process is not helpful to anyone:

021011Miller4 :22 before the election.”

Miller says his proposals are modest but would be giant leap forward for transparency:

021011Miller5 :25 transparency in place.”

Miller says the current reporting process is a disaster:

021011Miller6 :05 get every cycle.”

Miller says his reforms will at least give the state a passing grade for campaign reform:

021011Miller7 :09 a passing grade.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval says there are proposals in Miller’s bills that he will support:

021011Sandoval :04 within his package.”

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera says a 72-hour reporting requirement for some contributions may be too burdensome:

021011Oceguera :12 go to work.”

Sen. Barbara Cegavske says she supports Miller’s electronic filing requirement:

021011Cegavske :08 to be fine.”

Washoe County Commission Picks Former State Lawmaker Brower To Fill Raggio’s Senate Seat

By Sean Whaley | 12:28 pm January 18th, 2011

The Washoe County Commission today selected former state Assemblyman and U.S. Attorney Greg Brower to replace retired GOP state Sen. Bill Raggio in the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature.

Brower, the first applicant interviewed for the remaining two years of Raggio’s term in Washoe District 3, said he was seeking the seat purely as a public service. Brower said he agrees with GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval that the upcoming two-year state general fund budget must be balanced with existing revenue.

“The governor is right,” he said. “We can, we must balance the budget without raising taxes.”

Brower was selected after the commission performed a dozen interviews in a public meeting in Reno. Candidates, who also included former state Treasurer Patty Cafferata and former Tax Commission Chairwoman Barbara Smith Campbell, were interviewed in alphabetical order.

Brower served in the state Assembly for two terms in 1999 and 2001. He lost re-election to Sharron Angle.

Candidates had to live in the district and be Republican.

Brower was the unanimous selection of the four commissioners who voted. Commissioner Bonnie Weber had to recuse herself because her husband, businessman Michael Weber, had sought the appointment.

Commissioner David Humke, himself a former GOP member of the state Assembly, said: “We can’t have a 12-way Senate appointment. We can’t even have a two-way Senate appointment. I honestly believe that the experience and the qualifications that Mr. Brower bring are the top for this appointment.”

Commissioner Bob Larkin, a Republican who ran in the Washoe 2 Senate race but lost in the primary, said he most appreciated Brower’s comments that he would work across the aisle with Democrats.

“In this very contentious period of our country, we simply cannot have someone that is not willing to go across the aisle and say, ‘hey, let’s work this out,’ ” he said. “Not sacrifice principle, not sacrifice basic tenets.”

In commenting on his selection, Brower said: “I can tell you that I will not let you down. I look forward to working with each and every one of you. I just look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.

“There is a lot of very difficult work to do,” he said. “As I’ve tried to explain to you, I think I’m up to it.”

Raggio announced earlier this month he was stepping down after 38 years in the state Senate due to mobility problems. Raggio had served as the leader of the Senate Republican Caucus for decades before being replaced as minority leader for the 2011 session after endorsing U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s re-election bid. Reid is a Democrat.

Raggio did not suggest a replacement, saying only he would like to see the commission appoint someone who is willing to work with Democrats in solving the huge budget crisis facing the state.

The Washoe County Republican Party had endorsed Brower and Cafferata.

Brower is currently a partner in the Snell & Wilmer law firm. His practice is focused on complex civil and white collar criminal litigation, as well as corporate investigations and administrative law.

Brower joined the firm in 2009 after approximately two years as the U.S. attorney for the District of Nevada. As Nevada’s chief federal law enforcement officer, he supervised all federal criminal prosecutions and all civil litigation involving the United States in Nevada.

Audio clips:

Washoe Commissioner David Humke says Brower is most qualified of the candidates to serve in the state Senate:

011811Humke :22 for this appointment.”

Commissioner Bob Larkin says he appreciates Brower’s willingness to work across the aisle:

011811Larkin :16 sacrifice basic tenets.”

Brower says he will not let the people of Washoe County down:

011811Brower1 :15 thank-you very much.”

Brower says there is a lot of work to do:

011811Brower2 :07 up to it.”

Retired State Sen. Bill Raggio Opposes Full Home Rule For Local Governments

By Sean Whaley | 2:07 pm January 17th, 2011

Retired state Sen. Bill Raggio said in an interview aired today that he does not favor granting local governments complete home rule because of the potential for tax disparities between more affluent communities and those with fewer resources.

Raggio, in the second of two interviews aired on the Nevada NewsMakers television program with Sam Shad, said the Legislature has kept taxes, and tax increases, consistent across the state.

Giving local governments that power could result in inequities, he said.

“If you give absolute home rule, take away what is called Dillon’s case, then you’re going to find raising taxes, you’re going to have disparity,” Raggio said. “And we’ve tried to keep taxes consistent, and the rate of taxes consistent, so I think it would create some serious disparities around the state.”

Raggio, a Republican who announced his resignation earlier this month in the middle of his final term in the Senate, served longer in the upper house than any other lawmaker in state history, first winning election in 1973. He cited mobility problems as the chief reason for his retirement.

The Washoe County Commission will pick among 13 candidates on Tuesday for a replacement to serve in the 2011 session, which is expected to be one of the most contentious in state history.

The 2009 Legislature authorized an interim study of home rule, examining the feasibility of increasing the powers of local governments. The final report of the study recommended only modest changes, however.

Audio clips:

Retired State Sen. Bill Raggio says granting complete home rule to local governments would lead to tax disparities:

011711Raggio1 :13 to have disparities.”

Raggio says the Legislature has tried to keep taxes consistent:

011711Raggio2 :09 around the state.”

Sen. Raggio Announces Retirement From Senate

By Andrew Doughman | 11:24 am January 5th, 2011

State Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, announced his retirement today, ending a 38-year career in the state Senate.

The abrupt announcement came this morning when Raggio released a statement making his resignation effective Jan. 15, 2011, citing mobility problems as the chief reason for his retirement. He said the time has come for him to “step aside” and make way for someone “who can give the position a 100 percent effort.”

I am extremely honored and privileged to have been allowed to serve in public office for more than 56 years,” he said. “To the citizens of Washoe County, I extend my sincere gratitude for your support for so many years.”

Since the longest-serving state senator in Nevada history is in the middle of his 10th term, the Board of Commissioners of Washoe County will now have to appoint a successor to fill his position.

In a phone interview, Raggio said he is very comfortable with his decision to retire.

It’s the right decision,” he said. “I tried to make it as low-key and uneventful as possible. I didn’t want to interfere with the governor’s inauguration.”

Raggio said he has a severed Achilles tendon that has limited his ability to be 100 percent functional.

I spent 18 years (in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office) and 38 years in the Senate,” he said. “That’s a long ride.”

Raggio said he would not presume to dictate who should be picked for his replacement, only that it not be someone with a “radical” political agenda.

I would like it to be someone who shares my political ideas and who will work across party lines,” he said.

After Raggio made his announcement, other prominent Nevada politicians were quick to deliver appreciative words. Some even Tweeted their thanks to the senator for his service.

Assembly Speaker-elect John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, praised the senator’s commitment to “do the right thing for our state,” but also mentioned the split Northern and Southern Nevada politics in a statement released earlier today.

Certainly he was an advocate for Northern Nevada, but his mastery of the budget and the legislative process was a steadying influence which served Southern Nevada as well,” Oceguera said.

As the politicians in D.C. enter their session, U.S. Congressman Dean Heller, R-NV, took the time to release the following: “Bill Raggio has served Nevada with distinction and honor. I have known Bill for many years and have seen firsthand his dedication to our great state. His sudden departure is unfortunate and I wish him well. Senator Raggio’s presence in the State Legislature will be sorely missed.”

Governor Brian Sandoval, a fellow Republican who called Raggio “a mentor” and “the father figure in the Legislature,” said he called Raggio immediately after the announcement.

“If the state of Nevada had a Mt. Rushmore for public servants, Bill Raggio’s image would be etched on its face,” Sandoval said.

Raggio made his announcement Jan. 5 in hopes that the board will have adequate time to make an appointment before the legislative session starts Feb. 7.

The senator’s retirement marks the end of an era for Nevada state politics. For decades, Raggio led the state Senate as majority leader or minority leader until this past year, when the 10-member GOP Senate caucus unanimously supported Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, as minority leader.

This leadership shake-up came a month after Raggio endorsed U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in his re-election campaign against GOP challenger Sharron Angle. Despite the upset, Raggio finishes his career with a long list of accomplishments. While most state senators can brag of a few accomplishments, Raggio’s biography on Nevada’s legislative website has several pages of achievements.

Although he is retiring from the Senate, Raggio intends to stay active in his law firm, Jones Vargas.

  • Read Raggio’s letter to the Board of Commissioners of Washoe County here.
  • Read Raggio’s letter of resignation here.

Reno Mayor Cashell Defends Reid, Criticizes Extreme Right Element In GOP

By Sean Whaley | 9:00 am November 26th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said this week he expects to see Harry Reid continue to help northern Nevada in a variety of ways now that he has won re-election in a bitterly contested Senate race.

Cashell, interviewed Wednesday on the Nevada NewsMakers television program, is a Republican who supported Reid, D-Nev., in his bid for another term over GOP rival Sharron Angle.

“He’s done an outstanding job,” Cashell said. “Do I like everything going on in Washington, DC, no I don’t. But I didn’t like the alternative.”

Reid helped with Reno’s efforts to build a trench for the railroad to improve downtown and helped craft a water-sharing agreement with California over the use of Truckee River water, he said.

Cashell, elected as mayor for a final term, said Reid can help Nevada in a number of ways, including finding potential new uses for Yucca Mountain rather than the proposed nuclear waste dump. One alternative being discussed is a research center, including ways to reprocess nuclear waste, that could bring much-needed jobs to the state, he said.

Cashell said he switched to the Republican Party after a conversation with President Ronald Reagan who said the GOP can accommodate multiple points of view. He called the extreme right element of the current GOP party the RINOs, not himself or Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, who also endorsed Reid over Angle.

RINO is a term meaning “Republican In Name Only.”

The extreme element of the GOP is excluding moderates and as a result is hurting the party, he said.

Cashell also defended Raggio, who lost his job as state Senate minority leader after lending his support to Reid’s re-election bid. Cashell said Raggio’s leadership will be missed in the upcoming 2011 session where redistricting, the budget and taxes will all be critical issues for the state.

Cashell called Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, who took over the minority leadership position in the state Senate from Raggio, a “good guy.” But he said Raggio’s replacement was “petty and vindictive.”

“To call Bill Raggio a RINO is probably the most ridiculous thing that I’ve ever heard with what he’s done for the party and how he’s helped,” Cashell said. “He’s been a great Republican.”

Raggio was blamed for supporting a tax increase in the 2009 session of the Legislature, but without him the increase would not have come with a sunset clause, he said. The tax increase will expire next June 30 without an extension by lawmakers.

“I think they are going to miss his leadership,” Cashell said.

Audio clips:

Reno Mayor Bob Cashell says Sen. Reid has done a good job for Nevada:

112410Cashell1 :10 like the alternative.”

Cashell says extreme right in GOP are RINOs:

112410Cashell2 :12 they’re the RINOs.”

Cashell says calling Sen. Raggio a RINO is ridiculous:

112410Cashell3 :19 miss his leadership.”

Veteran GOP Leader Raggio Out In State Senate Leadership Shakeup

By Sean Whaley | 3:23 pm November 4th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Veteran Republican state Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, won’t be minority leader in the upcoming 2011 session, withdrawing his name from consideration for the leadership post today after getting GOP criticism for backing Sen. Harry Reid in the Tuesday general election.

The 10-member GOP Senate caucus instead unanimously supported Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, as minority leader. A member of the Senate since 1992, McGinness is in his last legislative session because of term limits.

No other caucus member sought the leadership post.

Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, who on Tuesday won a hard fought re-election campaign, was named assistant minority leader.

“I withdrew my name,” Raggio said. “If it unifies the party and pacifies some folks who are still agitated, that’s fine. My goal is to unify the party instead of splinter it.”

The Washoe County Republican Party put out a statement congratulating McGinness and thanking the GOP caucus for, “making the leadership change the caucus badly needed.”

“Senator McGinness truly represents the small government, low tax views of Washoe County Republicans and would be a strong unifying leader the party needs at this juncture,” the statement said. “The WCRP looks forward to working with Senator McGinness and the rest of the Republican caucus during the next legislative session and beyond.”

Reid said in a statement: “In this election Nevadans, Republicans, Democrats and independents voted to reject extremism. That some of Senator Raggio’s Republican colleagues even considered punishing him for being on the side of a majority of Nevadans shows that they clearly missed that message and are not listening to their constituents.

“Senator Raggio has served in the state Senate longer than any of his colleagues and he has been long respected by Republicans and Democrats alike,” Reid said. “He has been a true champion of the people of Nevada in his work to represent them in Carson City. I appreciate his support and look forward to working with him to do what is best for Nevadans.”

Raggio, who will also be serving in his last session because of term limits, won’t be in the top Republican leadership post for the first time since 1983. He has served in the Senate since 1973 and is Nevada’s longest serving state legislator.

Some state Republicans sought a replacement for Raggio because of his endorsement of Reid over GOP challenger Sharron Angle. Reid won re-election on Tuesday. Raggio also faced a contentious primary race against Angle in 2008 that created animosity between the two Northern Nevada Republicans.

This is not the first time Raggio has been at odds with the more conservative and libertarian factions of the party. In 2003, he joined Republican Gov. Kenny Guinn in support of a tax increase. Then, in 2009, Raggio and four other GOP senators joined Democrats to override Gov. Jim Gibbons’ veto of a state budget that included tax increases.

Raggio said today he will also voluntarily step down as a member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. The newly elected GOP senators are seeking fundamental changes to the way state government is funded and Raggio said he did not want to be an impediment to the process.

“They are all good people,” he said. “They’ve got their job ahead of them. There is no question this is the toughest session we’ll ever face.”

Six of the 10 members of the caucus were newly elected on Tuesday.

The caucus meeting came just two days after Republicans picked up a seat in the 21-member Senate, closing the gap with Democrats to just one. Sen.-elect Michael Roberson defeated Democratic incumbent Joyce Woodhouse in Clark District 5 to reduce the margin from 12-9 in the 2009 session. Republicans also held on to an open Las Vegas seat and Cegavske fended off a challenge from a well-financed Democratic opponent.

Despite the increase in numbers, Raggio said he and his colleagues are concerned that Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, re-elected by his caucus yesterday, has devised a plan for committee assignments that will have 5-2 Democratic majorities on two committees in the 2011 session: Commerce and Labor and Health and Education.

“It is completely inequitable when you have an 11-10 split,” Raggio said. “It is hardly fair representation on a committee.”

Raggio said that when he questioned Horsford about the plan he was told there is precedent for such a move.

“I think this will cause concern and it is not the best way to start a session,” Raggio said.

Horsford could not be reached for comment.

GOP Makes Gains In Nevada Legislature, No Supermajorities For Democrats

By Sean Whaley | 12:19 am November 3rd, 2010

CARSON CITY – There will be no supermajorities for Democrats in either the state Senate or Assembly in the 2011 session, meaning the parties will have to work together and with Republican Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval on issues from taxes to redistricting.

Republicans in the 42-member state Assembly, who had been outnumbered 28-14, retained their seats and picked up two held by Democrats, enough to take away a veto-proof majority held by Democrats in the 2009 session.

Senate Democrats, looking to pick up two seats to extend their majority to a veto-proof 14, instead saw an incumbent lose and Republicans hold on to their two seats in play. The result is Democrats will have a razor-thin 11-10 majority next year.

Assembly Republicans knocked off incumbent freshman Democrat Ellen Spiegel in District 21, and picked up the open District 40 seat in Carson City formerly held by Democrat Bonnie Parnell, to increase their ranks to 16.

Republican Mark Sherwood edged Spiegel by several hundred votes. Republican Pete Livermore handily beat Democrat Robin Williamson in a Carson City race that saw the Nevada State Democratic Party spend thousands on mailers attacking Livermore.

Republicans held on to their seats, with all incumbents winning and Republican candidates picking up open seats that had been held by GOP candidates, including District 13 in Clark County, formerly held by Chad Christensen.

All other Democrat incumbents won, and all open seats that had been held by Democrats were retained except for Assembly District 40.

In the state Senate, freshman Democrat Joyce Woodhouse in Clark District 5 lost to Republican challenger Michael Roberson giving Republicans an additional seat. Republican incumbent Barbara Cegavske in Clark District 8 fended off a challenge from Democrat Tammy Peterson. And in the third hotly contested race, GOP newcomer Elizabeth Halseth won the open Clark 9 seat held by Republican Dennis Nolan. Halseth had defeated Nolan in the primary and defeated Democrat Benny Yerushalmi in the general.

The result reduces the Democratic majority to only one.

All the favored candidates in the other state Senate races won as expected, including GOP Assemblyman Don Gustavson in Washoe 2 and Democratic Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie in Washoe 1.

Not only have the party dynamics changed, there will also be dozens of new members of the Legislature come February.

There will be 20 new members of the Assembly, although one, Maggie Carlton, has been serving in the Senate and so has legislative experience.

There will be 10 new members of the Senate, although seven are current members of the Assembly with legislative experience.

Livermore said he is ready to get to work right away, and will participate in the Assembly Republican Caucus meeting set for Thursday.

“I am humbled and grateful so many have shown so much trust in me,” he said. “I’m eager to get started and get people back to work.”

Other lawmakers could not immediately be reached for comment on the legislative outcomes.

State Parties Fight Hard Over High Stakes Senate Seats

By Sean Whaley | 4:34 pm October 28th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Senate Democrats are running a slate of candidates across the state in the hopes of winning a 14-seat, veto-proof majority for the upcoming 2011 session.

But Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said he does not expect it to happen, and he has not discounted the possibility of the GOP winning the majority.

“It looks much more promising to me now than when we began this campaign,” he said. “We may have some surprises.”

Alisa Nave, executive director of the Nevada Senate Democrats, said the goal has been to recruit and support a quality group of candidates who can get to work immediately in Carson City, not win a supermajority.

“We want to elect good people to office who can continue what we started two years ago,” she said. “Nevada faces many challenges. No one caucus can solve our problems alone.”

But Republicans say Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, has made no secret of the fact he wants a veto-proof Democratic majority in 2011.

For Democrats to end up with 14 members, they need to hang on to the Clark 5 seat held by freshman Democrat incumbent Joyce Woodhouse, defeat long-time Republican Barbara Cegavske in the Clark 8 seat and win the open Clark 9 seat formerly held by Republican Dennis Nolan.

Republicans, for their part, are trying to gain ground on the Democrats, who took over the majority in the state Senate in the 2009 session for the first time since 1991. They are seeking to defeat Woodhouse, hold on to Cegavske’s seat and win the open seat to cut the margin for Democrats to only one.

Woodhouse is facing Republican Michael Roberson, Cegavske is facing Democrat Tammy Peterson and Republican Elizabeth Halseth is facing Democrat Benny Yerushalmi in the open Clark Senate 9 seat.

Halseth said the conciliatory words from Senate Democrats may have more to do with polls showing Republicans doing well in several races, including her own, than out of any desire to seek bipartisan cooperation in the 2011 session.

While Halseth said she has not seen poll results for her race, contributions to her campaign have increased in recent days, suggesting her numbers are good.

“I’m very hopeful,” she said. “Our three races are very important. The Democrats are certainly not holding anything back.”

Registration Edge May Not Matter in Anti-Incumbent Year

Democrats have a 12-9 edge right now and they have a registration edge in all three Southern Nevada districts, although the margins in two are thin and nonpartisan voters will play a role in all three races.

Clark 5 has a registration edge for Democrats of 46,910 to 45,280 for Republicans with just over 19,000 nonpartisans, according to statistics from the secretary of state’s office. Clark 8 has 19,352 Democrats, 18,899 Republicans and 7,674 nonpartisan voters. Clark 9 has 55,120 Democrats, 51,899 Republicans and 23,721 nonpartisans.

Other races potentially are in play as well.

Raggio said he believes the race in Washoe 1 to replace Democrat Bernice Mathews is in play despite the heavy Democratic voter registration edge. Democratic Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie is facing Republican and Sparks City Councilman Phil Salerno in the race.

Democrats have nearly 18,000 voters in the district compared to just under 8,700 Republicans, with another 6,257 nonpartisans.

“I’m not sure party registration means a hell of a lot,” Raggio said. “There is an anti-incumbency feeling. There are a lot of independents. It’s not going to be the Democratic tsunami that it was two years ago.”

Nave said Democrats are also seeking victory in the open seat in Clark 12 formerly held by Republican Warren Hardy and the open Washoe 2 seat held by outgoing Republican Maurice Washington. Democrat Aaron Ford, an attorney and former high school math teacher, is facing Republican Assemblyman Joe Hardy, a physician in the Clark 12 race, while Democrat Allison Edwards, also a former teacher, is facing GOP Assemblyman Don Gustavson.

Veto-proof Two House Supermajority at Stake

With Democrats expecting to maintain their majority in the Assembly, the battle for control in the Senate has taken on added significance.

Assembly Democrats now have a veto-proof 28-14 edge over Republicans and they are trying to hold on to and even build on that significant advantage. Republicans are seeking to hold on to their current number and pick up at least one more seat to take away the supermajority.

The 2011 session will see debates over taxes and the budget, as well as the redrawing of state legislative district boundaries. Both Democrats and Republicans will have to live with any redistricting plan for a decade, making control of the Legislature even more critical for both parties.

If Democrats gain a two-thirds majority in both houses, they will also have the power to override the vetoes of seven bills by outgoing Gov. Jim Gibbons, including a measure giving state employees some bargaining rights on non-economic issues. The bills were vetoed after the end of the 2009 session and will return to lawmakers next year.

Assembly Bill 395 would let state employees bargain over working conditions. Another vetoed measure, Senate Bill 376, would expand the scope of projects to be considered by the state labor commissioner in setting prevailing wage rates, a change that Gibbons said would increase the cost of county public works projects.

If Democrats win a supermajority in both houses, it would also make it difficult for Brian Sandoval, the Republican candidate for governor favored to win over Democrat Rory Reid, to pursue his agenda.

Cegavske said it is critical for Republicans to win seats to ensure cooperation and compromise.

“You want a balance,” she said. “I see extreme partisanship in the Senate now and that’s not good for the people of Nevada.”

Raggio said Senate Republicans must be relevant in the critical redistricting debate. Republicans will be seeking an expansion of the size of the Legislature to ensure continued representation in northern and rural Nevada, he said.

While there is Democratic opposition in Southern Nevada to expanding the Legislature, Raggio said it is one of those key demands that will require agreement before other issues will be decided.

Attack Ads, Negative Mailers Flood Key Districts

The state Senate races are being fiercely contested.

Woodhouse and Roberson recently participated in a televised debate, discussing attack ads and the budget.

Cegavske, who is facing a challenge from Peterson, an attorney, said she has been the focus of numerous attacks in the mail from the Democratic Party, but in a recent interview indicated she would not be responding in kind.

“I’m taking the high road,” Cegavske said. “Voters want to hear what the candidate is going to do, what their vision is for the state. The number one issue is the economy and jobs. Voters want to know what I can do to help bring business to the state, not tell them how bad somebody is.”

Cegavske, a former small business owner, said raising taxes as many legislative leaders have suggested, won’t help small business. The state needs to live within its means, not build a budget then raise taxes to support it, she said.

Nevada needs to bring in companies that will give Nevadans jobs, Cegavske said. The Legislature can offer incentives to get firms to relocate, she said.

Peterson did not return calls seeking comment.

Nolan lost in the Republican primary to Halseth, a small business owner who is facing Yerushalmi, who runs the family business in Las Vegas.

Halseth said she is seeing a number of attack ads in her campaign as well, but is focusing on her own qualifications.

“I’m not trashing my opponent,” she said. “People are tired of hit pieces, they want solutions. That’s what we’re focusing on.”

Yerushalmi did not return calls seeking comment.

Republican State Senator Bill Raggio Announces Support For Reid In U.S. Senate Race

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:21 pm October 7th, 2010

CARSON CITY – State Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, today announced he is supporting Democrat Harry Reid in his U.S. Senate race against GOP challenger Sharron Angle.

“Other than my inability to accept her extreme and often even radical ideas and positions, if there was any concern about my natural preference to endorse a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, it was removed altogether when Angle, in a secretly taped conversation, expressed her true feelings by slamming and disavowing the Republican Party saying it had ‘lost its standards and principles,’ ” Raggio said in a statement.

“We need someone in the U.S. Senate who can be effective, work with others, and best represent the interests of our State,” he said.

“Having said this, I am not pleased or supportive of many of the issues which Senator Reid has supported and I have told him so. I believe he understands that he must vote more strongly to represent the views of his Nevada constituency in the future rather than a liberal agenda which many feel drifts toward Socialism in America. With that caveat, I will reluctantly vote for Senator Reid’s re-election.”

Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio to Announce Endorsement In U.S. Senate Race This Week

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 7:56 pm October 6th, 2010

CARSON CITY – State Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio said today he will make an endorsement in the neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race within the next few days.

Raggio, R-Reno, the longest serving state lawmaker in Nevada history, told Jon Ralston on the Face To Face television program that there appears to be some interest in his endorsement in the race between Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and GOP rival Sharron Angle.

Polls show the contest as a dead heat between the two candidates.

Raggio, who served as majority leader in the state Senate from 1993 to 2007, was challenged by Angle in his 2008 re-election bid. He won the primary by just over 500 votes.

“I’m not prepared on your program tonight to tell you who I’m going to support in this race between Reid and Angle,” he said.

Raggio said this political season, “has been the most hateful in my memory.”

“But I will announce my support in the next day or so,” he said. “I still have some issues. I think both of these candidates have problems. There are issues in their campaigns that are disturbing.”

On the subject of the upcoming budget debate in the 2011 legislative session, Raggio said his task will be to first determine what essential services must be funded, then determine the gap between those services and anticipated tax revenues. Essential services include education, health and human services and public safety, he said.

Raggio said he expects the shortfall to be about $3 billion if a sunset on a package of tax increases approved by the 2009 Legislature to balance the current budget is not removed.

Both major party candidates for governor have rejected the call for tax increases to balance the state budget.

Raggio said he does not know how the budget can be balanced otherwise.

“I don’t know where they are going to get the money to fund these kind of essential services,” he said.

Audio clip:

Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio declines today to endorse in Reid-Angle race:

100610Raggio :10 Reid and Angle”

Assembly Leadership Says Reforms to Campaign Finance Reporting Will Wait

By Sean Whaley | 4:26 pm September 20th, 2010

CARSON CITY – While Secretary of State Ross Miller has announced he will voluntarily post his campaign contribution and expense report early so voters can review the information prior to casting their ballots in the Nov. 2 general election, other candidates are not ready to follow suit.

Both Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera and Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea said there are too many issues involved for them to recommend to their caucuses and candidates to file the reports in mid-October before early voting begins.

Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said changes to the reporting process need to be thoroughly considered by the 2011 Legislature before they can be implemented.

“I have a lot of questions,” he said. “We need to take a long hard look at the total ramifications of any changes.”

Goicoechea said there is a lot at stake for both parties in the legislative elections in November, with Assembly Republicans looking to increase their number to take away a veto-proof 28-seat majority now held by Democrats.

A problem with early reporting of contributions is that the opposing party would see which races a caucus was focusing on, he said.

“We have to show not only where the contributions come from, but where we’re spending the money,” Goicoechea said. “It makes it difficult.”

In an email response to a question about whether Assembly Democrats would follow Miller’s example and post their reports early, Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said any reforms to the filing of campaign contribution and expense reports must be uniformly applied to everyone. In addition, many of the Democrat candidates running for Assembly seats in the November general election do not have the staff or financing to prepare such reports ahead of time, he said.

“Of the 42 Democratic candidates for state Assembly, many have submitted handwritten reports because they don’t have the staff or financing to prepare accurate reports at a moment’s notice during the busiest time in their campaign,” Oceguera said.

Miller has requested legislation to move up the reporting dates for the contribution and expense reports, saying they don’t come out now until early voting is well under way. Miller also wants reports filed electronically so they can be easily searched by the public.

So 21 days before the Nov. 2 general election, Miller said he will electronically file his campaign contribution and expenditure report online for the public to review. In keeping with his proposed legislation, Miller will also file a report four days before the general election detailing any contributions received by his campaign in excess of $1,000 after the initial report filing.

Oceguera has proposed an alternative for consideration by the 2011 Legislature which would require reporting of contributions within 72 hours of receipt.

“I believe my proposal of switching over to online filing of contributions and expenditures within 72 hours gives even more transparency, and all filings are automatically searchable,” he said. “With my proposal we accomplish both goals at once and the rules apply to everyone.”

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, did not respond to a request for comment.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said he has not asked his caucus members who are running for re-election in this cycle about voluntarily reporting contributions and expenditures ahead of the deadline. Raggio is in the middle of his term and is not up for re-election this year.

Raggio said he has no problem with earlier reporting as long as the process does not become a trap for candidates who might forget and miss a deadline by one day. But he said any reporting changes should apply to everyone, including political action committees that spend money on behalf of candidates or on issues.

“There is no harm in doing it, but I think the information is of more interest to the media than the public,” Raggio said.

Under Fire, State Senate Majority Leader Pulls Plug On ‘Pay To Play’

By Sean Whaley | 10:03 am August 18th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Senate Minority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, today criticized a fund-raising “pay to play” letter sent out recently by Majority Leader Steven Horsford, saying it borders on an ethics violation.

“I have always avoided that kind of a fundraiser,” he said. “I think it is inappropriate. The perception is that to have access to a leader or chairman you have to pay. I think that sends a terrible message.”

The Nevada News Bureau first reported Tuesday the existence of the letter sent by Horsford, D-Las Vegas, seeking as much as $25,000 in contributions to his political action committee in exchange for access to himself and committee chairmen and women.

Horsford did not return a call seeking comment on the email solicitation. But in a statement released to KRNV Channel 4 in Reno in response to the story, Horsford said he will pull the plug on the fund-raising plan.

“This really was a poor action,” Horsford said. “I take full responsibility for it. I have directed my staff to discontinue the program. It was never our intent to send a message that in order to gain access to our chairs that people needed to make donations, but clearly the optics show that, and at a time when we need confidence and responsibility among our elected officials, I pulled the plug.”

“I just thought it was inappropriate, offensive,” Raggio said. “It’s a very poor way to campaign. This is really strong-arming.”

Raggio said he has also been told by Republican candidates that their efforts to raise money for their campaigns are being hampered by intimidation tactics aimed at lobbyists.

“I’m told there is a lot of intimidation out there,” he said. “My GOP candidates are being told by lobbyists that if they contribute to their campaigns, they won’t get anything done in the session.”

The Nevada News Bureau has been unable to confirm with any lobbyists directly that such tactics are being employed by Democratic legislative leadership.

Neither Horsford or Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, returned calls seeking comment on the claims.

Horsford has a 12-9 majority in the Senate but is seeking a veto-proof 14-seat majority.

Oceguera is seeking to hold on to his current 28-14 veto proof majority. The Assembly 40 seat is a key race in that effort. Incumbent Democrat Bonnie Parnell is not seeking re-election.

Both Pete Livermore, a Republican candidate for the Assembly 40 seat in Carson City, and Michael Roberson, the Republican candidate challenging Democrat incumbent Joyce Woodhouse in Clark District 5, say they have been told the same story by lobbyists.

“The bulk of the lobbyists I talk to tell me the same thing,” Roberson said. “He (Horsford) is definitely playing hardball.”

Nevada State Republican Party Chairman Mark Amodei said he too is aware of the effort by Democrats to prevent campaign donations to GOP candidates.

“It’s not even an if or a maybe,” Amodei said. “Lobbyists have been told that if you contribute against my candidate, don’t bother showing up. I absolutely believe it to be true.”

Amodei, a former state Senator from Carson City, said in an interview Tuesday that such an edict borders on an infringement of constitutionally protected free speech rights.

“I don’t know if it is illegal or not but it sends a clear message about the ability of people to participate in the process,” he said.

No such edicts came from Republicans when they were the majority in the Senate, Amodei said.

“I think it falls under the category of a sad state of affairs for Nevada politics,” he said.