Posts Tagged ‘Senate Republicans’

State Senate GOP Leaders Support Medicaid Expansion

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:56 pm December 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – State Senate Republican leaders today commended GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval’s decision to expand the state Medicaid program as a commitment to the health of all Nevadans and a boost for a critical sector of the state’s economy.

“Ensuring that poor Nevadans have access to primary health care through Medicaid is very simply the right thing to do, both for our citizens and our economy,” said Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson. “It will reduce our rate of uninsured and provide individuals with greater economic security.”

State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson.

“Nevada’s health care indicators continually trail its neighboring states and regularly rank among the worst in the nation,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno. “Expanding Medicaid to poor childless adults will help address this.”

“Nevada has higher-than-average rates of such things as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and asthma,” he said. “Access to primary health care is critical to both prevention and treatment of these diseases and conditions. Our citizens deserve this.”

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said expanding the program will allow Nevada to improve its return on federal tax dollars and ensure that money is reinvested into Nevada’s health care economy, which is in need of a boost.

“Fully implementing health care reform is expected to boost Nevada’s economy by up to $6.2 billion over the next six years,” he said. “Medicaid expansion could also result in the creation of up to 8,600 much-needed jobs in Nevada over that time. With the low state match over this period, that’s a solid return on investment.”

All three Republican Senate leaders said they look forward to working with their colleagues during the 2013 session to approve this expansion, but also believe it’s imperative that Nevada protect its economic future and require a sunset on the expansion should federal reimbursement rates drop below 90 percent for this population.

In addition, Republican Senate leadership supports the governor’s proposal to include a cost-sharing component in Medicaid and plans to pursue that initiative during the 2013 Legislative Session.

Sandoval announced yesterday that he will include 78,000 additional people in Nevada’s Medicaid program as provided for under the federal Affordable Care Act.

“Though I have never liked the Affordable Care Act because of the individual mandate it places on citizens, the increased burden on businesses and concerns about access to health care, the law has been upheld by the Supreme Court,” he said in a statement. “As such, I am forced to accept it as today’s reality and I have decided to expand Nevada’s Medicaid coverage.

“My fiscal year 2014-2015 budget will provide 78,000 additional Nevadans with health insurance coverage through Medicaid, which is estimated to save the state general fund approximately $17 million dollars in mental health savings,” Sandoval said. “My executive budget will also help Nevada businesses cope with the burden placed on them by decreasing the modified business tax. My decision to opt-in assists the neediest Nevadans and helps some avoid paying a health-care tax penalty. As part of my proposal, I will also call upon the Legislature to pass Medicaid patient responsibility cost-sharing measures.”

Federal funding will pay for 100 percent of the Medicaid expansion for the first three calendar years beginning in 2014, with the state required to pick up a percentage of the cost beginning in 2017. The first year state cost is 5 percent, in 2018 the state cost is 6 percent, in 2019 the state cost is 7 percent, and in 2020, the state cost is 10 percent.

The expansion in Nevada would mostly cover childless adults who are not covered by the state program now. The other expansion will come from parent caretakers of children who are covered at 75 percent of poverty now, according to Mike Willden, director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, who spoke on the subject earlier this year.

Willden said there are also administrative costs to the state that are not fully covered by the expansion but instead are shared between the federal government and the state at a 50-50 match. They include information technology costs and the cost to hire new eligibility workers, for example, he said.


State Senate GOP Leadership Endorses Drivers’ Licenses For Deferred Action Program

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 3:08 pm November 30th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s state  Senate Republican leadership today expressed support for a state policy that makes thousands of young immigrants living in Nevada eligible for a state-issued driver’s license or ID.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, with the support of Gov. Brian Sandoval, announced this week that its policy would be to honor the employment authorization card granted to successful applicants under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Deferred Action program.

Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, said he supports the DMV policy and hopes those eligible will take advantage of this opportunity.

State Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson.

“These young men and women are living, working and attending school here in Nevada, and are doing everything in their power to improve their lives and the lives of their families,” Roberson said. “A driver’s license from the state of Nevada will aid in their ability to commute to and from work and school; will afford a sense of self-sufficiency; and will provide greater opportunities for thousands of Nevada families.”

Deferred Action, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a directive from the secretary of the DHS that grants temporary permission to stay in the U.S. to certain undocumented young people. Individuals who receive deferred action may apply for and obtain employment authorization. It is estimated that more than 20,000 young immigrants could benefit from this program in Nevada.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, also applauded the policy: “This DMV policy allowing young immigrants living in our communities to obtain driver’s licenses will benefit not only the young people and families eligible for deferred action, but will also help strengthen Nevada’s education system and our economy at large.”

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, commented on the safety aspects of the policy: “In order to secure a driver’s license, an individual must obtain the proper knowledge and skill level to pass a test to ensure they can safely drive on the streets. This policy will not only provide greater opportunity for so many young people in Nevada, it will also make our streets safer by ensuring training for those who may otherwise be driving without a license or adequate preparation.”

The Las Vegas Sun reported the drivers’ license policy earlier this week.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on June 15 announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria, would be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.

Napolitano said the deferred action program will offer the young immigrants two-year work permits and not deport them as a temporary measure until the country’s immigration policies could be changed with the adoption of the DREAM Act.


State GOP Cites Voter Gains In Four Key Senate Districts, Democrats Question Relevancy Of Analysis

By Sean Whaley | 3:33 pm April 6th, 2012

CARSON CITY – While Democrats registered more voters in March than Republicans, a GOP official noted this week that the party has made gains in four state Senate districts that are key to who will control the house in the 2013 legislative session.

A spokesman for Senate Democrats questioned the importance of the GOP analysis, however, noting that Democrats registered more voters than Republicans in two of the seats from February to March.

Democrats now hold an 11-10 edge in the 21 member Senate, and both parties agree that the five races that are in play among the 12 Senate seats on the November general election ballot are crucial to which party will hold the majority.

Secretary of State Ross Miller reported on Tuesday that Democrats registered 1,590 more voters statewide than Republicans in March.

Through March, Democrats have 452,219 active registered voters, while Republicans have 403,565 and nonpartisans total 175,992. The remainder of the 1,095,017 active voters belong to minor parties.

But Republicans made gains in four of five state Senate races considered competitive between the two major parties based on the number of active voters as tallied by the Clark County Election Department. All are in Clark County and all are open races with no incumbents.

The numbers of active voters as reported by Clark County are through April 5, and are different than those reported by the Secretary of State’s office through March 31.

The GOP improvement is based on Clark County voter registration numbers earlier this month, prior to an update that moved some voters to inactive status.

Inactive voter status includes voters who have moved. Inactive voters are eligible to vote so long as they have met all other legal requirements to vote.

The GOP analysis shows:

- In Senate District 5, where former Henderson city councilman Steve Kirk and Annette Teijeiro, both Republicans, face Democrat and former state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, Democrats now lead 40.5 percent to 37.4 percent, with the GOP closing the gap by 0.9 percent. Democrats now have a 1,677 vote lead.

Author: David Ball, via Wikimedia Commons.

- In Senate District 6, where GOP attorney Mark Hutchison is facing Benny Yerushalmi and Thomas Welsh, both Democrats, Democrats now lead 41.4 percent to 38.2 percent, with the GOP closing the gap by 1.2 percent. Democrats now have a 1,785 vote lead.

- In Senate District 9, where Republicans Mari Nakashima St. Martin and Brent Jones face Democrats Justin Jones and Frederick Conquest, Democrats now lead 39.6 percent to 35.3 percent, with Republicans closing the gap by 0.5 percent. Democrats have an 1,831 vote lead.

- In Senate District 18, where Republicans Scott Hammond, Richard McArthur and Conrad Vergara face Democrats Kelli Ross and Donna Schlemmer, Republicans now lead 40.7 percent to 37.7 percent, with Republicans adding to their advantage by 0.6 percent. Republicans now have a lead of 1,619 voters.

- In the Reno race in Senate District 15 between Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, and former state Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, Democrats added slightly more voters in March, 93, than Republicans, 32. Republicans have a voter lead of 1,430 votes, or 40.1 percent to 38 percent. These are based on the Secretary of State’s numbers through March 31.

Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, campaign chairman for the Senate Republican Caucus said: “Our primary advantage is the excellent candidates that will represent the GOP in every crucial state Senate race this election cycle – candidates that are 100 percent dedicated to improving Nevada’s education system and economy.

“Our candidates will work harder, have better campaign organizations, and will have all the resources they need to win in November,” he said. “Our confidence level is higher than ever that Senate Republicans will go into the next legislative session with a 12-9 majority.”

Michael Luce, executive director for the Nevada Senate Democrats, said the updated active voter rolls in Clark County leave Senate Democrats, “with a sizable advantage that will grow larger as we move closer to the election.”

“The numbers of inactive voters in these districts makes this issue irrelevant, as they were all less than 1 percent,” he said. “While Republicans appear to be celebrating what is essentially a routine recoding of some voters who did not update their addresses, our strategy is to continue ramping up our voter registration efforts as evidenced by Democrats outpacing Republicans last month in new registered voters.”

Luce also noted that over 30,000 voters classified as inactive voted in the 2010 election, according to the Secretary of State’s office.