Posts Tagged ‘Sen. Steven Horsford’

Nevada Among States With Lowest Energy Consumption Per Capita, Gets C+ For Renewable Energy Efforts

By Sean Whaley | 1:17 pm July 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada ranks 40th among the states for the amount of energy consumed per person, according to the nonprofit website EnergyTrends.org.

The state rankings were released on Wednesday and show Nevadans consumed 239 million Btu per capita in 2010 compared to 303 Btu per capita in 2007.

First among the states in energy consumption was Wyoming, followed by Alaska and Louisiana. Rhode Island ranked 50th.

Photo by Tom Harpel via Wikimedia Commons.

The website, created by the Lexington Institute, has also graded the states on renewable energy efforts. Nevada received a C+ in the analysis, which was 11th best. Three states, California, Massachusetts and Colorado, received B grades, the highest awarded in the review.

Nevada ranked 17th in net renewable energy generation in 2010 with 4.444 gigawatt hours (GWh). The growth in renewable energy generation was up 35 percent from 2007 to 2010.

Nevada’s renewable portfolio standards require 25 percent of the state’s electricity to be supplied by renewable resources by 2025.

“It is our hope that the information on EnergyTrends.org will be useful for everyone from schools to elected officials to keep track of their state’s critical energy consumption and generation patterns,” said Don Soifer, executive vice president of the Lexington Institute.

Soifer said the research is based on 2010 energy data which was recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is the most recent data available. The website tracks vital indicators for energy and electricity use, as well as which fuels (like coal, natural gas or renewables) are used to generate electricity, and ranks states in each category. It also analyzes data from recent years, providing easy-to-read indicators to show overall trends.

Renewable energy, and tax incentives to support its development, has become a major political topic in Nevada and around the nation this presidential election year.

Earlier this month, the solar manufacturing company Amonix closed its manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas 14 months after opening.

President Obama in July 2010 praised the solar manufacturing tax credits that generated $6 million to help build the facility, which was under construction at the time. Obama’s support of the facility was recently used as fodder for criticism by the Mitt Romney campaign. But a news article in Politico noted that the Bush Administration first backed the project in 2007.

The company also issued a statement saying it never utilized the tax credit for the Las Vegas facility.

“The only federal incentive Amonix received for the North Las Vegas facility was a $5.9 million federal manufacturing incentive tax credit that was never utilized,” the statement said. “Tax credits can only be used to offset taxable income, and Amonix has not realized taxable income to utilize the tax credits. Thus, those tax credits have not been claimed and have had no cost to U.S. taxpayers.”

It also became a campaign issue in the Nevada Senate race between U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Las Vegas. Heller called the closing proof of the failure of federal stimulus spending supported by Berkley. Berkley in turn criticized Heller for failing to show any concern for the Nevadans who lost their jobs because of the closing.

State Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, a candidate for the 4th Congressional District, defended the use of clean energy incentives in an interview last week on the Face to Face television program.

“This sector of renewable energy should not be based on the success or failure of one company alone,” he said. “There was tremendous subsidies for traditional energy, coal and other energy sources, for decades so it isn’t like this is some new thing, that the government helps subsidize a growing and emerging industry.”

But a recent report has questioned the value of tax incentives and regulations approved by many states around the country, including Nevada, to create “green jobs,” noting that subsidies used for such programs can take away revenue for other needs such as public education.

Nevada was identified as having seven separate financial incentives for green jobs, three of which are property tax exemptions in the report.

“States face a hard and fast budget constraint; they cannot deficit spend or take on debt for general operating expenses,” said Bryan Leonard of State Budget Solutions in his report, “Green Jobs Don’t Grow on Trees.”

“This means that every dollar spent by states on green job training programs, grants to green firms, or subsidies for renewable energy producers is a dollar that cannot be spent on teachers’ salaries, educational tools, or social safety nets,” he said.

Soifer said the Lexington Institute supports renewable energy, “but realizes that if renewables are really going to take hold in the United States, and particularly solar and wind are the two that everybody talks about most, they are going to need to stand on their own without having to depend on government subsidy.”

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Audio clips:

Don Soifer, executive vice president of the Lexington Institute, says Nevada ranked 11th best for its renewable energy efforts:

072612Soifer1 :28 the whole country.”

Soifer says the Lexington Institute supports renewables but that they will need to stand on their own:

072612Soifer2 :25 the United States.”

 

State Lawmaker Says Action To Delay Tourism Contract Exceeds Legislative Authority

By Sean Whaley | 1:12 pm June 22nd, 2012

CARSON CITY – State lawmakers have put a new tourism contract to promote Nevada on hold despite the concerns of one lawmaker that the move exceeds legislative authority.

Concerns have been raised by Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, about the intent to award the two-year, $3.2 million contract to an out-of-state firm.

Burson-Marsteller, one of the largest public relations firms in the country, was selected by a state agency to handle the promotion of Nevada for the next two years.

“We haven’t had a bad tourism plan in the past, so I have some real reservations,” Horsford said during Thursday’s Interim Finance Committee meeting. “And to bring in a national firm, that I think is based out of New York, to come in here in our state and promote rural communities, that they don’t even know where they are, let alone what they do; I have some real questions and reservations about that.”

Horsford is running for the 4th Congressional seat, which includes a large swath of rural Nevada in addition to parts of Clark County.

Ultimately lawmakers decided to hold off on approving budgetary changes sought by Claudia Vecchio, director of the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, that would allow the contract to go forward, citing several questions they wanted answered first.

Tourism Director Claudia Vecchio. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

That decision was opposed by Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, who said lawmakers are exceeding their constitutional authority by intervening in an Executive Branch function.

“The fact of the matter is that some people didn’t like the contract so now they’re not going to appropriate the funding,” he said. “That’s going backwards and that’s not our job.”

The Legislature appropriates revenue and authorizes expenditures, but it is up to the Executive Branch to implement those decisions, Kieckhefer said. The decision was an attempt to do a de facto denial of the contract and it overstepped legislative authority, he said.

“I totally understand the concern that we’re spending a significant amount of money on a big contract with an out-of-state vendor,” Kieckhefer said. “But the simple fact of the matter is that no Nevada company was in the top five in this (Request for Proposals).

“I wish we would spend money in Nevada and we do as much as we can,” he said. “But this bid process followed every law that we have in statute, followed every policy set by the Legislature in terms of bidder preference and things like that, and the simple fact of the matter is that this was the best company to do the job. And their job is to drive more traffic to Nevada to enhance our economy, to enhance our biggest industry, which is still hospitality and tourism and gaming.”

Delaying a contract that will help the state’s economy grow is ludicrous, Kieckhefer said.

Vecchio defended the contract and selection process at the meeting. Nineteen companies submitted proposals, but none of the four finalists were from Nevada, a fact which generated comment from at least one Nevada public relations firm.

Burson-Marsteller, which is actually based in Los Angeles, was the unanimous selection of an evaluation committee made up of Nevada tourism professionals, Vecchio said. The company will be working with Red Rock Strategies out of Las Vegas, she said.

The contract has been drawn up and signed by both parties, but it remains contingent upon approval of state officials.

Vecchio said the firm will provide national and international contacts that will benefit the state.

“The value that you get back, and the value that comes back to a destination by working with the best in the business, is tenfold, twentyfold over what it is with somebody who just has that local perspective,” she said.

Burson-Marsteller has proposed an idea for a smart phone application that will provide a way for visitors to craft itineraries and access to services in both cellular telephone service and non-service areas, Vecchio said. Much of rural Nevada does not have cellular phone service, but the information will be downloaded to the phone and so will be available to visitors, she said.

“That’s a game changer for this state,” Vecchio said. “So it is the understanding of our visitor needs that is so important to our success.”

Vecchio, appointed in October 2011 by Gov. Brian Sandoval to the tourism job,has previously worked for Burson-Marsteller in Dallas as well as for the Edelman public relations firm in Chicago.

Horsford said he is certain that there are firms in Nevada with the regional and national experience that could perform the work although he said he did not know the identities of all 19 applicants.

“The Legislature set a policy that 5 percent preference should be given to Nevada-based businesses,” he said. “So this is a policy that the Legislature and the governor believe was important, particularly at this time when so many business, and advertising and PR is no exception, need the work.”

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Audio clips:

Sen. Steven Horsford says the company picked for the tourism contract does not know Nevada:

062212Horsford1 :25 reservations about that.”

Horsford says Nevada has a policy to give a preference to state firms:

062212Horsford2 :21 need the work.”

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer says the IFC vote exceeded its authority:

062212Kieckhefer1 :27 implements those things.”

Kieckhefer says the selection process followed all the rules:

062212Kieckhefer2 :23 in this RFP.”:

Tourism Director Claudia Vecchio says a national firm will provide major benefits to the state:

062212Vecchio :17 that local perspective.”

 

 

 

 

State Lawmakers Call For Review Of 20-Year Solar Contract

By Sean Whaley | 5:01 pm April 24th, 2012

CARSON CITY – State lawmakers today approved $46,284 from a legislative contingency fund to help the Nevada Office of the Military cover a budget shortfall due to high energy costs resulting from a solar project built at three of its sites around the state.

But lawmakers also asked for an attorney general review of the 20-year deal with Sierra Solar to see if the 15 cent per kilowatt hour charge for the electricity can be modified. The rate is now higher than what the agency could get buying power directly from NV Energy.

The contract was entered into in December of 2010, before Gov. Brian Sandoval began his term.

Photo by Fernando Tomás via Wikimedia Commons.

Jennifer McEntee, administrative services officer for the agency, said the energy costs to the state are higher at the three sites because the facilities receive more state general fund support than other facilities operated by the agency. The budget shortfall is the result of this higher state share of the energy costs, she said.

State Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp told lawmakers, meeting as the Interim Finance Committee, that future solar projects will not go forward without a guarantee that they will be at least cost neutral to the state.

“I do think that there is still some really good opportunities for solar, however it really has to be dialed in in order for it to pencil out,” he said.

Keys to successful projects are obtaining both federal tax credits and rebates from NV Energy, Mohlenkamp said.

Lt. Col. Rick Blower said when the contract was approved, electricity rates were expected to rise. Rates have come down instead, however. But it is yet to be determined if the 20-year contract is a bad deal for the state, he said.

Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, asked if there is an opportunity to renegotiate the contract.

Mohlenkamp said any such effort would be difficult, given the investment by the company in the equipment at the three facilities.

Horsford asked that the attorney general’s office review the agreement anyway.

“It’s not that the technology or the approach on renewables is the problem, it’s the fact that someone negotiated a bad deal on behalf of this department,” he said. “We can’t pay for something at a higher rate per kilowatt hour than what we can get in the market from other competing resources.”

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Audio clips:

State Budget Director Jeff Mohlenkamp says the state will be careful moving forward with solar projects to ensure they are at least cost neutral:

042412Mohlenkamp1 :10 normal commercial terms.”

Mohlenkamp says some solar projects are expected to be worth pursuing:

042412Mohlenkamp2 :08 to pencil out.”

Sen. Steven Horsford says the issue is someone negotiated a bad deal:

042412Horsford1 :25 of this department.”

Horsford says an attorney general review of the contract is needed:

042412Horsford2 :09 other competing resources.”

 

 

Legislative Commission OKs Laughlin Incorporation Vote But Lawmakers Could Reject Cityhood In 2013

By Sean Whaley | 3:42 pm March 29th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Legislative Commission voted today to let the residents of Laughlin decide in June on whether they will become Nevada’s next incorporated city.

The 10-2 vote by the panel imposed several conditions, however, including a review by the 2013 Legislature that could delay any incorporation from the July 1, 2013 target date or overrule a favorable vote entirely if it determines it is not financially feasible. Two studies have presented conflicting data on whether it would be financially feasible for the town of about 7,500 on the Colorado River to become a city.

Laughlin. / Photo by Stan Shebs via Wikimedia Commons.

Laughlin is much larger in population than Mesquite, the last city to incorporate in Southern Nevada, in 1984. Mesquite had about 1,200 residents when it incorporated.

The last city to incorporate in Nevada was Fernley, east of Reno, in 2001.

The vote for moving the process forward was 10-2, with Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, and Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, voting no.

The additional conditions were included to ensure there would be enough votes on the 12-member commission, comprised of six Republicans and six Democrats, to support moving the incorporation process forward.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, said during a discussion of the issue that it was the only way she would support a vote in Laughlin on incorporation.

“I don’t know why for once we can’t do something in a bipartisan manner to help the process move along but yet have a fallback so that we can put that horse back in the gate,” she said.

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, who heard the Laughlin incorporation bill in his Government Affairs Committee in the 2011 session and supports giving residents the chance to vote on the issue, said the additional protections would allow the vote to go forward. He presented them to the commission as a way to gain support for a vote by Laughlin residents.

“I think it’s going to be one of the more remarkable pieces of legislation for the whole state of Nevada,” he said in testifying before the panel. “But if it doesn’t work this will fall under its own weight, and it’s just the way it’s going to be. And you and I will decertify this community.”

The commission also wants voters to know that there is the potential for their taxes to rise if incorporation moves forward, and so sought to have the pro and con arguments that will be published with the ballot language include that information. The ballot information would also be published in the newspaper to ensure transparency.

Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said Laughlin residents are likely already aware of the potential tax implications of incorporation.

“I get the idea, although I don’t necessarily agree with it; I understand the concerns that we need to publish so that the folks in Laughlin understand this may require a tax increase,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, who also serves as chairman of the commission, said the panel has a fiduciary duty to ensure incorporation is feasible because if a city fails, the financial consequences could be borne by the state as a whole.

The conditions will tighten the process and provide greater guarantees to the public and the state, he said.

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Audio clips:

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said the additional requirements would ensure transparency and gain lawmaker support for a Laughlin vote:

032912Kirkpatrick :12 in the gate.”

Sen. John Lee said the 2013 Legislature will decertify a Laughlin incorporation if necessary:

032912Lee :15 decertify this community.”

Sen. Michael Roberson said Laughlin residents already know their taxes could go up under incorporation:

032912Roberson :15 aware of that.”

Sen. Steven Horsford said lawmakers have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure Laughlin can succeed as a city:

032912Horsford :21 those local governments.”

 

 

Legislative Commission Sets Thursday Vote For Laughlin Incorporation Question

By Sean Whaley | 11:53 am March 26th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Legislative Commission has scheduled a meeting Thursday to consider the question of whether Laughlin residents should get the chance to vote on incorporating their community.

A number of Laughlin residents have asked the commission to support allowing a vote to go forward on the question in June.

Laughlin. / Photo by Stan Shebs via Wikimedia Commons.

Several state lawmakers, including the three Republican state senators who are members of the commission, asked Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, to take up the incorporation matter after it was tabled at a commission meeting last month.

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, also asked the commission to take up the issue.

In an interview earlier this month, Lee said Laughlin is much larger in population than Mesquite, the last city to incorporate in Nevada in 1984. Mesquite had about 1,200 residents when it incorporated, while Laughlin’s population is about 7,500.

“I feel they have every right to pick up their flag and charge forward,” he said. “They’ve jumped through all the hurdles, and even if they get a vote to incorporate, if they financially cannot do it they just won’t be able to. But at least this moves it forward to give these patriots down there a chance to build their own community.”

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, who sponsored the legislation allowing for consideration of incorporation, said earlier this month he supports giving Laughlin residents a chance to decide their future.

“Myself, I think it is fiscally feasible and I think that the citizens of Laughlin deserve to have the right to have that presented to them in such a way that they say, ‘we want to have this level of service and pay this much money in taxes’ and present it that way and say, OK, we want it or we don’t,” he said. “And that is what this is about.”

Dave Floodman, president of the nonprofit Laughlin Economic Development Corporation, said there was bipartisan support in the Nevada Legislature in 2011 to allow consideration of the incorporation question. SB262 passed unanimously in the Assembly and by a 16-5 vote in the Senate.

While a feasibility study of the incorporation prepared by the Nevada Department of Taxation found incorporation was not feasible, a separate study by a reputable California company and commissioned by his group found that it would be feasible, he said.

The two reviews differed on the cost of providing police and fire protection, Floodman said.

“Our position is that the two different scenarios should be decided by the people in Laughlin,” he said.

There was some suggestion by Hardy that the Laughlin question was tied to a completely separate issue involving a regulation sought by Secretary of State Ross Miller to allow him to assess a $200 annual fee on many home-based businesses that was also in front of the Legislative Commission on Feb. 15.

An official close to Senate Democrats denied there was any link.

But the issue became moot with approval of the Miller regulation by the Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Review Regulations earlier this month. The panel voted 4-2 on party lines with Democrats in support, to approve the regulation, which has now taken effect.

The Clark County Commission previously voted to reject a vote on the Laughlin city hood question.

Democrat State Sen. John Lee Calls For Legislative Commission Vote On Laughlin Incorporation

By Sean Whaley | 3:46 pm March 9th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada state Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, has added his voice to the chorus asking the Legislative Commission to take up the issue of whether the residents of Laughlin should have a chance to vote on incorporation.

In his letter sent to the Legislative Commission this week, Lee also said he supports the right of Laughlin residents to vote on the question in June.

In the letter, Lee said the panel is legally obligated to make a determination as to whether the incorporation of Laughlin is fiscally feasible.

State Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas.

“As you undertake your statutory mandate I urge you to respect the will of the people of Laughlin and give them the right to vote on incorporation, he said. “Smaller communities than Laughlin has become thriving cities and Laughlin should be given the right to decide their own future.”

Lee said today Laughlin is much larger in population than Mesquite, the last city to incorporate in Nevada in 1984. Mesquite had about 1,200 residents when it incorporated, while Laughlin’s population is about 7,500.

“I feel they have every right to pick up their flag and charge forward,” he said. “They’ve jumped through all the hurdles, and even if they get a vote to incorporate, if they financially cannot do it they just won’t be able to. But at least this moves it forward to give these patriots down there a chance to build their own community.”

Lee’s letter comes a few days after the three Republican state senators who serve on the Legislative Commission sent a letter to commission Chairman Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, asking that the panel take up the issue.

“Since the Legislative Commission failed to take action on this matter at the last meeting this would mean that the citizens of the city of Laughlin will not be able to weigh in on this matter in the upcoming election. A meeting should be scheduled as soon as possible so the citizens are not denied that right,” said the letter from Sens. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, and James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville.

The Laughlin incorporation question was on a Feb. 15 agenda of the commission but Horsford did not allow a vote to be held.

The question then went to the Clark County Commission, which found in a unanimous vote that incorporation was not financially feasible for the community.

The Legislative Commission now needs to act within the next couple of weeks on the issue or Laughlin residents will not have a chance to vote on the matter in June.

Senate Bill 262 sponsored by Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, was heard by the Senate Government Affairs Committee in the 2011 session. Lee is chairman of the committee and said he has an obligation to follow up on legislation passed by his committee.

There was a suggestion by Hardy that the Laughlin question was tied to getting GOP support for a completely separate issue involving a regulation sought by Secretary of State Ross Miller to allow him to assess a $200 annual fee on many home-based businesses that was also in front of the Legislative Commission on Feb. 15.

An official close to Senate Democrats denied there was any link.

But the issue is moot with Thursday’s approval of the Miller regulation by the Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Review Regulations. The panel voted 4-2 on party lines to approve the regulation, which will now take effect.

Dave Floodman, president of the nonprofit Laughlin Economic Development Corporation, said in an interview earlier this week that there was bipartisan support in the Nevada Legislature in 2011 to allow consideration of the incorporation question. SB262 passed unanimously in the Assembly and by a 16-5 vote in the Senate.

While a feasibility study of the incorporation prepared by the Nevada Department of Taxation found incorporation was not feasible, a separate study by a reputable California company and commissioned by his group found that it would be feasible, he said.

The two reviews differed on the cost of providing police and fire protection, Floodman said.

“Our position is that the two different scenarios should be decided by the people in Laughlin,” he said.

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Audio clips:

Sen. John Lee says Laughlin residents should have the chance to vote on incorporation:

030912Lee1 :16 when it incorporated.”

Lee says a vote will give residents a chance to build their own community:

030912Lee2 :18 their own community.”

 

Trio Of GOP Lawmakers Ask Democrat Sen. Steven Horsford To Allow Vote On Laughlin Incorporation

By Sean Whaley | 6:14 pm March 7th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Three Republican state senators, all members of the Legislative Commission, have asked Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, to call a meeting of the panel as soon as possible to vote on the feasibility of the incorporation of Laughlin.

In a letter dated Feb. 28, Sens. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, and James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, asked Horsford to allow a vote of the commission on whether the residents of Laughlin should be able to vote in June on whether to become Nevada’s newest city.

Consideration of the determination of feasibility of incorporation for Laughlin had been scheduled for a Feb. 15 meeting of the commission, but Horsford, who is also serving as chairman of the 12-member panel, tabled the issue. The commission is comprised of six state senators, three of each party, and six members of the Assembly, again divided equally between Republicans and Democrats.

A favorable vote from the commission would pave the way for a vote by Laughlin residents on their future.

Laughlin. / Photo by Stan Shebs via Wikimedia Commons.

“The Senate Republicans on the Legislative Commission request a meeting of the Legislative Commission be scheduled, to vote on the City of Laughlin issue,” the letter said. “Recently the Clark County commissioners voted to not put the city of Laughlin incorporation on the ballot.

“Since the Legislative Commission failed to take action on this matter at the last meeting this would mean that the citizens of the city of Laughlin will not be able to weigh in on this matter in the upcoming election. A meeting should be scheduled as soon as possible so the citizens are not denied that right.

“Furthermore section 4 of Senate Bill 262 (Chapter 481, Statutes of Nevada 2011) states that the Legislative Commission shall review the report and make a determination. The commission has failed in that respect and is in violation of the Statutes of Nevada,” the brief letter said in conclusion.

The vote needs to come within about two weeks or Laughlin residents will not have the chance to vote on the incorporation question this year.

The Legislative Commission is scheduled to meet March 15 but an agenda has not yet been finalized for the meeting.

Concerns have been raised by at least one Republican lawmaker that the Laughlin incorporation issue has been held up by Democrats as part of a deal to get a separate regulation sought by Secretary of State Ross Miller approved. Miller, a Democrat, has been thwarted in his efforts to get a regulation approved that would allow his office to collect a $200 business license fee from companies that claim they are exempt from the assessment.

Republicans have opposed the regulation, arguing the issue should  be considered by the full Legislature in 2013.

The Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Review Regulations is scheduled to meet Thursday to consider the business license fee collection regulation. The subcommittee is comprised of four Democrats and only two Republicans. If the regulation is approved at the subcommittee meeting, it will take effect without needing a vote from the full commission.

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, who sought the bill in the 2011 legislative session allowing for Laughlin to vote on incorporation, suggested a link between the two distinct issues in a story published Feb. 26 in the Mohave Daily News. Hardy was quoted as saying Democrats wanted GOP support for Miller’s regulation in exchange for a vote on the Laughlin incorporation issue.

Hardy said today there is a perception by some lawmakers that the two issues are linked.

“I think they were emotionally linked, if nothing else,” he said. “And the legislative process is certainly not a bland process.”

An individual close to the Senate Democrat Caucus rejected the notion that the two issues are linked, saying Hardy’s comments are conjecture only. The individual, who spoke on background, said the claim is “absolutely false.”

When the Legislative Commission did not vote on the incorporation issue, it went to the Clark County Commission, comprised of all Democrats, who voted unanimously Feb. 21 that incorporation was not feasible for the community 100 miles south of Las Vegas.

Dave Floodman, president of the nonprofit Laughlin Economic Development Corporation, said today that there was bipartisan support in the Nevada Legislature in 2011 to allow consideration of the incorporation question. SB262 passed unanimously in the Assembly and by a 16-5 vote in the Senate.

While a feasibility study of the incorporation prepared by the Nevada Department of Taxation found incorporation was not feasible, a separate study by a reputable California company and commissioned by his group found that it would be feasible, he said.

The two reviews differed on the cost of providing police and fire protection, Floodman said.

“Our position is that the two different scenarios should be decided by the people in Laughlin,” he said.

Hardy said he believes incorporation is viable and that Laughlin residents should have the chance to vote on their future.

“Myself, I think it is fiscally feasible and I think that the citizens of Laughlin deserve to have the right to have that presented to them in such a way that they say, ‘we want to have this level of service and pay this much money in taxes’ and present it that way and say, OK, we want it or we don’t,” he said. “And that is what this is about.”

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Audio clips:

Sen. Joe Hardy says the proposed Ross Miller regulation and the Laughlin incorporation issue are emotionally linked at a minimum:

030712Hardy3 :16 a bland process.”

Hardy says he believes incorporation is viable and that Laughlin residents should have the right to vote on the issue:

030712Hardy2 :34 this is about.”

 

State Senate Will See Large Turnover, Many New Faces In 2013

By Sean Whaley | 3:49 pm February 20th, 2012

CARSON CITY – For years the Nevada state Senate was a pretty stable place, with many lawmakers serving for decades.

From one election cycle to the next, the names and faces in the 21-member body didn’t change very often.

That reality was altered in a big way when term limits finally began to have an impact on the state Legislature starting in 2010.

And in this election cycle, already it appears that a minimum of nine incumbents, or more than 42 percent of the Senate, will be gone as of Election Day on Nov. 6.

Term limits, redistricting and personal decisions by lawmakers not to seek re-election are all playing a role in the significant turnover.

So in addition to the political ramifications for Democrats, who are trying to hold on to their one-seat majority, and Republicans, who are seeking to retake the majority, the Senate will have to face the reality of multiple new members when the 2013 session begins Feb. 4.

Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said the new reality with term limits and resulting turnover can be viewed as both a challenge and opportunity.

State Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas.

“I think that it makes the work of caucuses a little bit more . . .; you do more work because you want to make sure you get good people that can move up and work and do the things that need to be done,” he said.

“I think the candidate recruitment is an important part of that, that you’re trying to get good people that can step up,” Denis said. “And at the same time, training people and getting them up to speed. That means you have to do more work in the interim, that kind of thing, so people are up to speed.”

There is a loss of legislative institutional memory when long-time lawmakers leave, but it also provides a chance for new people with fresh ideas to participate, he said.

The Legislative staff has helped by adding more training so new lawmakers are ready to get to work as soon as the session begins, which is also limited to 120 days, he said.

Denis was speaking by phone from Oregon, where Nevada lawmakers serving on an interim study looking at how the Legislature conducts its business in-between sessions were visiting to see how the process works in another state.

The Nevada Legislature only meets every other year and Denis said the panel is looking at ways to improve the legislative process and make it more responsive to the public.

Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, said the turnover is not a major issue for Republicans because of the quality of candidates being recruited to fill the 12 seats in play.

State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas.

“It’s more of a problem for the Democrats,” he said. “I think their caucus is a little chaotic at this point. And so their bench is pretty thin. They lost a lot of experienced state senators. We only lost a couple, frankly, from this past session. So from our perspective we’re fine with the turnover. Not so sure the Democrats should feel the same way.”

There were worries going into last session that the large amount of turnover in both the Assembly and Senate due primarily to term limits would negatively affect the performance of the Legislature, Roberson said. But a number of new lawmakers in both parties and in both houses stepped up to make a major contribution, he said.

The same scenario is expected in 2013, Roberson said.

“So we’re going to have a lot of smart people, a lot of very capable people, in our caucus in the Senate next session.

“The key thing is, whether you’ve been there 20 years or two, we’ve got to work together to solve the problems of the state of Nevada,” he said. “And we’ve got to get past excessive partisanship and figure out a way to work with each other. That’s what the people want. That’s what I’m committed to do, that’s what our Senate caucus is committed to do.”

Term limits continues to take its toll on the ranks of lawmakers. Four state senators, Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, and Valerie Wiener and Mike Schneider, both D-Las Vegas, are all leaving office this year due to term limits. The four lawmakers combined have more than 70 years of service in the Senate.

Two other senators who are completing their first terms, Shirley Breeden, D-Henderson, and Allison Copening, D-Las Vegas, have both announced they will not run for new terms.

Another, Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, is running for the house in Nevada’s new 4th Congressional District. Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, is a candidate for the house seat as well, and would make the turnover numbers even higher if she wins.

In a surprise move last week, Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, resigned from her seat in mid-term because she is moving into the district represented by Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, where she plans to run for election. One of the two lawmakers will be out of a job on Election Day.

And in another move in what was a busy week for the state Senate last week, Sen. Elizabeth Halseth, R-Las Vegas, announced she was resigning in mid-term for personal reasons.

Both Leslie’s and Halseth’s Senate seats will be filled in the 2012 election as well. Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, has already announced her plans to run for Leslie’s seat.

The turnover doesn’t only mean new faces, but new leadership as well. Both Roberson and Denis, the expected caucus leaders for next session, are in the middle of their first terms in the Senate, although Denis also served for a time in the Assembly.

Eight current members of the Senate who are in mid-term and are expected to return in 2013 are freshman, having been elected in 2010. In the 2013 session, three or fewer of the 21 members will have served more than one legislative session in the Senate, although quite a few members do have prior experience serving in the Assembly.

Assembly experience will likely be a factor in the 2013 Senate as well, with a number of Assembly members of both parties seeking Senate seats.

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Audio clips:

Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, says term limits and turnover makes the work of the caucus even more critical:

022012Denis1 :26 to be done.”

Denis says candidate recruitment is important:

022012Denis2 :22 up to speed.”

Sen. Michael Roberson says Republicans are not as affected by the turnover as Democrats:

022012Roberson1 :26 the same way.”

Roberson says the key is for lawmakers of both parties to work together:

022012Roberson2 :23 committed to do.”