Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

Currently: 52° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the readers:

Setting priorities

Dear reader: What should the Legislature do this year?

More resources

More resources

• You can read a story about Sandoval’s State of the State speech, along with the Democratic response, at http://tinyurl.com/NVgovspeech2013. There are links to both speeches there as well.

• Lawmakers, the governor and various agencies have also filed bill drafts. You can find those online at http://tinyrul.com/NVbills13.

• You can find the governor’s proposed budget at http://budget.nv.gov/. For information about state spending, go to http://open.nv.gov/.

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

Dear reader,

The 2013 session of the state Legislature officially starts in a week, although lawmakers have already been busy reviewing Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed budget.

As the Legislature goes through its session, there will be no shortage of things to consider. In addition to the budget and all of the programs it covers, there will be proposed laws, committee hearings and debates. Also, lawmakers will weigh conflicting priorities and plans.

There isn’t much time to get it all done. The Nevada Constitution gives the Legislature 120 days every other year for a regular session. It goes by so quickly that the Legislature often finds itself called into a special session to finish work or deal with other business. (There have been 10 special sessions since 2000.)

So, the Legislature faces a significant amount of work in a short amount of time. Here’s a question for you: What should be the Legislature’s priorities?

We want to know your thoughts. What do you want to see the Legislature do this session? What would you tell lawmakers if you could?

Before you respond, here is a quick list of topics you might want to consider. It is by no means a full list, just something to get the discussion started, so feel free to let us know what we should add. (For other thoughts and ideas, see the box to the upper right labeled "More resources.")

Education (K-12): The Legislature is expected to consider a new funding formula, academic achievement, all-day kindergarten and various reform measures, including teacher evaluations.

Higher education: Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich has proposed a new funding formula, and that will come up this year. The university system’s role in the economy, including the community colleges, surely will be discussed. UNLV’s proposed mega-events center also will be on the agenda.

Public safety: Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie is asking the Legislature for a half-cent sales tax increase, which was previously approved by voters, to help boost police budgets. There also are several proposals to fight human trafficking.

Social services: Sandoval proposed boosting mental health care in Southern Nevada and increasing services for the disabled and senior citizens.

Health care: The governor has proposed expanding Medicaid. Other issues will include considering how Clark County’s public hospital, UMC, is governed.

Economic development: The state changed the way it approaches economic development last session, and the governor plans to add money to the Knowledge Fund, which would help spur research and development.

Transportation: There has been a push to develop Interstate 11, the newly designated route that leads from Las Vegas to Phoenix. Also expect other issues, including high-speed trains and light rail to be discussed.

Local governments: Cities and counties have clamored for more home rule, the ability to make decisions, for years and certainly will ask again. North Las Vegas’ financial situation is sure to be discussed.

Taxes: There is always discussion about taxes. The governor has proposed rolling back a business tax. There also has been discussion about implementing a service tax and reducing the sales tax.

Send us your thoughts: Via email (subject line “Priorities”) to [email protected]. Regular mail: Priorities c/o Editorial Page, Las Vegas Sun, 2360 Corporate Circle, Third Floor, Henderson, NV 89074. Fax: (702) 383-7264.

We’ll look forward to your thoughts and publish a sampling of them next weekend.

Best,

Matt

Matt Hufman is the editor of the Sun’s editorial and opinion pages.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 6 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The biggest problem Nevada has our state legislature can't really do anything about: Senator Harry Reid. He needs to go. Sooner rather than later.

    On Inauguration Day, life on national television, Reid tried to steal one of the pens that President Obama used to sign his proposed cabinet nominations. Reid, and consequently Nevada, was the laughing stock of President and those around him. Shame on you Harry Reid. Shame on you.

    CarmineD

  2. Commenter CarmineD, brings up a good point. It probably should be asked, "Is Senator Harry Reid doing Nevada and Nevadans more good or more harm by being/remaining in office?

    My priority list begins with looking at the Mining industry and how it has been taxed, and changing that dynamic so that they are at the very least, paying an average of what the other 49 states are paying back to those states (Nevada is paid at the bottom for over a century now). Nevada needs to adequately fund its infrastructure, and has not been able to for decades upon decades,and that should tell you something where the root of the problem lies. Mining does support most career politicians campaigns, so follow the money to discover the kind of care and attention mining receives here in Nevada.

    Also high on the list is helping those who are making payments and possess under water homes. Little is done, and it is still a major problem in our economic recovery.

    After listening to Clark County Superintendent Dwight D. Jones speak about the state of our schools, I tended to agree with the spirit of what he is saying, "It is like running a marathon." Being in the trenches, I have the unique opportunity of not only participating in this "marathon", but also observing what is going on around me. From my point of view, Nevada Lawmakers must now make the UNcomfortable shift in their attention focused at educators, and now deal with the taboo that has plagued, and even thwarted any meaningful progress with education and obtaining successful outcomes: making parents and students accountable and responsible for doing their parts. The yearly signed, "PARENT/TEACHER/STUDENT INVOLVEMENT ACCORD" tells all parties the expectations, and believe me, educators are held accountable, but next to nothing goes beyond reading, discussing, and signing this legal document with the parents/caregivers and the students. THAT must change, and only our Nevada Lawmakers can put enforcement teeth in that ACCORD. Until this happens, we continue to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Not the most productive and effective thing to do, is it?

    Nevada MUST assure that those in our state, have the right to be here. Lawmakers must provide that ALL employers are utilizing E-Verify, so that all workers are legally here while working here. Lawmakers must insist that immigration laws are ENFORCED, and that if there is a hangup in the process, that problem is fixed (by encouraging our Federal Lawmakers). Nevada has become a haven for all sorts of criminality. Going after those who enslave others through human trafficking also can fall into enforcing laws already on the books.

    While there are more to list, these above mentioned are the glaring top of my list, as well as many others. Time to do the work of governance on behalf of the People of Nevada.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  3. This Legislature needs to Review and reject LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGETS to the cities and counties and refuse to approve the budgets until they CUT COMPENSATION down to reasonable levels.--at least 10% cuts overall to parallel part of the private-sector pay cuts. We have need of ESSENTIAL services and must stop OVER FUNDING K-12 and higher ed. We should not be spending taxpayer revenue on gifts to scholarships when we cannot pay our essential State employees. The Legislature really doesn't have to get an early start--little is done until the Economic Forum does the projections around May. Why are we paying them to entertain Scouts and special interest groups. Gee maybe they could review and REVISE how LCB operates--extremely highly paid technicians with rather poor results based on the non-enforceability of previous legislation.

  4. Energy: Reverse the law that allows NV Energy to charge ratepayers for loss of profits due to energy conservation by customers.

  5. Revise the way sales and use taxes are ADMINISTERED. Eliminate exemptions generated by the Nevada Tax Commission inappropriately favoring some industries / businesses over others. Media says six states are "enhancing" revenues by eliminating exemptions to SUT. Eliminate the collection allowance and red tape. CHANGE the DISTRIBUTION FORMULA so more goes to the State's General Fund and LESS TO CCRT AND LSST. Clearly the cities, counties and school districts are wasting multi-millions to billions in EXCESSIVE EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION. PROHIBIT tax revenues used to fund scholarships of any kind. Prohibit funding of discriminatory K-12 programs for ELL. Prohibit any and every agency from assisting, aiding, abetting illegal invaders. INSIST on ENGLISH LANGUAGE ONLY in all government transactions and communications.

  6. First: Public safety, Crime isn't good for any tourist based economy. Plus, I don't want anything bad to happen to me or my love ones. Second; Make those out of state mining companies pay their fair share of taxes, then maybe we wouldn't need a 1/2 cent increase in sales tax to pay for my...I mean the public's safety.