Governor vetoes measure to automatically register drivers to vote

May there be many more.

Gov. Brian Sandoval issued his first veto of the legislative session Tuesday, rejecting Initiative Petition 1 that would have required the Department of Motor Vehicles to send information about anyone obtaining a driver’s license to voting registrars to facilitate voter registration.

Since the measure cleared the Legislature on party line votes, there is no way Democrats can muster enough votes to override the veto. So now it goes to the voters in November 2018 election.
IP1 would have changed the current DMV voter registration from an opt-in to an opt-out. Sandoval said this substantive change would create the unnecessary risk that people who are not qualified to vote could unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally?) apply to vote, thus subjecting themselves to a fine of up to $20,000.
“IP1 fails to account for substantial differences between differences between the qualifications to vote the qualifications to obtain driving privileges or identification cards,” the governor writes. “For instance, one must to 18 years old to to be eligible to vote, but one can be 16 years old to drive (and even younger to drive with an instructional permit). Non-citizens, some ex-felons and others may obtain driving privileges and identification cards, even though they cannot apply to register to vote.”
The current procedures applicants must swear they are eligible to vote, under penalty of perjury, and attest that they are citizens.

Assembly bill would dilute the voting power of Nevadans

There is a bill pending in the Legislature that would — and we are not making this up — dilute the voting power of every Nevadan in presidential elections.

A passel of Democrats have hatched Assembly Bill 274 that would rope Nevada into the conspiracy to subvert the Constitution and deny the wisdom of the Founders by joining an “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.” The change would take place when enough states join to constitute a majority of electoral votes.

The bill is to go before the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections at 1:30 p.m. today.

Currently the president and vice president team that wins the majority of votes in Nevada gets the state’s six electoral votes, one for each representative and senator in Congress. AB274 would have those six votes go to whoever wins the national popular vote. This essentially cuts Nevada’s votes from six to four, since the votes nationwide would be proportional to population and exclude the power of our two senators.

Why would any sane person want to do that and let California and New York elect every president?

Yes, Hillary Clinton won more popular votes than Donald Trump, but he won more state electors, which is what the Founders envisioned, because ours is a federalist system, not a democracy. The Electoral College provides more power to the states. (Trump won the Electoral College vote by 304 to 227. Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million. She won California by 4 million votes. So Trump won the combined popular vote in the 49 other states. What about that California secession movement?)

Former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid has joined the fray, calling the Electoral College undemocratic.

“I believe that focusing on the Electoral College is important no matter how you do it, because what’s happened this decade, these last several elections, where we have clearly two elections, the Gore election and this election. In this election Hillary Clinton will wind up getting almost 3 million votes more than Trump. It’s time the system goes away. It is very undemocratic,” Reid said in an interview. “And we have a number of states that have taken care of this. It doesn’t have to be done with a constitutional amendment. And I think people should join together and get rid of this. It is unfair that presidential elections are focused on seven states. It’s wrong.”

Pay no attention to the fact Reid served in the Senate for 30 years, where each state gets two votes no matter the size of its population. Most undemocratic.



Congress should slow the slide down ObamaCare’s slippery slope

Darn you, Charles Krauthammer. Why do you have to write what I was going to write just before I write and say it so much better than I ever would?

Take the lede on today’s column in the local newspaper, which is actually his Friday column in the Washington Post:

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but for governments it’s not that easy. Once something is given — say, health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans — you take it away at your peril. This is true for any government benefit, but especially for health care. There’s a reason not one Western democracy with some system of national health care has ever abolished it.

I’ve already protested that RyanCare contains too many of the market manipulating machinations of ObamaCare, lamented the efforts to make sure no one ever has any handout taken away.

But I’m getting hoarse from screaming at the TV and printed page over the reporting that millions will “lose” health insurance cover, when in reality many of those millions will be gladly “throwing” away that pathetic and nearly useless coverage due to sky high deductibles. (Never mind that the CBO estimates of the uninsured under RyanCare are probably just as inflated as its estimate of the newly insured under ObamaCare.) And just what were those able-bodied millions added to Medicaid doing before the Democrats charity?

But, as the astute Krauthammer notes:

There is no free lunch. GOP hard-liners must accept that Americans have become accustomed to some new health-care benefits, just as moderates have to brace themselves for stories about the inevitable losers in any reform. That’s the political price for fulfilling the seven-year promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare.

Retrenching is better than leaving ObamaCare in place and letting it evolve in the single payer system Obama and Harry Reid wanted to begin with.

Reid, asked on public radio a couple of years ago if the country will eventually work beyond private health insurance, Reid enthusiastically replied, “Yes. Absolutely, yes.”

He was later quoted by the Las Vegas Sun insert in a rare local article: “What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever. We had a real good run at the public option … don’t think we didn’t have a tremendous number of people who wanted a single-payer system,” but he could not get enough votes back then.

As Krauthammer points out, once that happens there will be no going back: “There’s a reason not one Western democracy with some system of national health care has ever abolished it.”

Nate Beeler, The Washington Examiner

Critique of Harry reminiscent of classic movie quip

You could have watched the testimony or read the Las Vegas newspaper account, but you needed to pick up the Elko paper to get the full content of the most salient and well reasoned argument as to why McCarran International Airport should not be renamed for Harry Reid.

Senate Bill 174 doesn’t denigrate former Sen. Pat McCarran — as some testimony did, calling him an anti-Semite — but it provides a recitation of former Sen. Harry Reid’s accomplishments — as did several people testifying for the bill did as well.

Several testified as to Reid’s record of political divisiveness, but afterward Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson released a statement that was the lede for the correspondent covering the event for the Elko Daily Free Press.

“While we have gotten used to the political theater perpetuated by the majority party, this is a whole new level of farcicality,” Anderson was quoted as saying and then adding “former Senator Harry Reid’s legacy is one of bitterness, anger, petulance, divisive political maneuvering, and pure partisanship.

“Nevada has a long history of electing statesmen from both sides of the aisle to the Governor’s office, the U.S. Senate, and Congress. From Kenny Guinn to Richard Bryan, and from Barbara Vucanovich to Alan Bible. These were people of great accomplishments, dedication to country, family, and God. It seems only fitting that if McCarran Airport is to be renamed, it’s renamed after someone who best exemplifies Nevada values.”

That bit calling Reid bitter, angry, petulant, divisive and pure partisan reminds me of the lines from the movie “The Front Page,” when Jack Lemmon asks his editor if he should write of the sheriff: “I’m calling the Sheriff a hyena. What do you like with it? Vile, corrupt, unscrupulous, depraved?”

Walter Matthau fires back: “Yeah. And in that order.”

I always wanted to say that to a reporter on deadline, but never got the right question.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom explains his bill to rename McCarran International for Harry Reid. (Victor Joecks pix for R-J)

A bill making libraries gun-free zones is a superfluous exercise

So, what is the point of this bill?

Now that the video has been posted from Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, we learn that Senate Bill 115 — which purportedly would add public libraries to the legislatively mandated gun-free zones — can be whisked away by a simple vote of any library district board.

The Legislative Counsel Bureau’s digest of the bill states: “This bill additionally prohibits a person from carrying or possessing certain weapons while on the property of a public library unless the person has written permission from the governing board of the public library to carry or possess the weapon.”

The bill amends current law which creates gun-free zones on the parking lots and in the buildings of universities, public and private schools and child care facilities by adding public libraries.

According to the LCB attorney present at the meeting, “written permission” need not be for every individual seeking to bring their weapons onto library grounds and into library buildings, but can be a sweeping policy to allow any any patron to openly or concealed carry.

As is pointed out in this week’s newspaper column, the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District already prohibits weapons in library buildings, and presumably any library district could do so as well, making SB115 a superfluous exercise in hoplophobia by nanny state lawmakers. One person joked that Eureka could allow patrons to bring their shotguns.

We still think someone should a amend the bill to add language from Assemblyman John Hambrick’s unsuccessful 2015 legislation that  would have allowed guns in vehicles at the aforementioned locales so long as the vehicle was locked or occupied.


Newspaper column: Lawmakers should narrow, not expand gun-free zones

Lawmakers in Carson City continue to exhibit rabid hoplophobia — fear of guns. A bill has been introduced to further extend gun-free zones to public libraries and their parking lots. Senate Bill 115, introduced by state Sen. Mo Denis of Las Vegas, would add public libraries to the current law, which already prohibits guns and other weapons in the buildings and parking lots of universities, public and private schools and childcare facilities. Now, we have no problem with the private owners of land and buildings demanding that visitors come unarmed, and the state is surely the owner or custodian of universities and public schools. Though why lawmakers should be allowed to dictate to private schools and private childcare facilities is beyond us.

Additionally, this bill is a pointless endeavor that does nothing but add needless paperwork and wastes time, because every library district in the state has the power to control its own grounds and facilities. The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District already has a policy barring arms inside buildings and has guards who check to make sure that the holster on your belt holds a cellphone and not a handgun.

This law would require someone to get written permission to bring his or her weapon onto a library parking lot or into a library building.

During a recent committee meeting on the bill, Republican state Sen. Michael Roberson of Las Vegas, said, “I’m concerned that if these libraries don’t have adequate security that what we’re doing is we’re telling the public that we’re creating gun-free zones. And those here that want this bill can disagree with me but there have been studies that show gun-free zones are a magnet for criminal activity and mass shooters.”

He said the bill undermines law abiding Nevadans and actually endangers the public.

Republican state Sen. Don Gustavson — who represents all of Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lander, Mineral, Pershing and parts of Nye and Washoe counties — echoed Roberson’s concerns about creating gun-free zones. He asked rhetorically whether one would have a quicker response by pulling out a cellphone and calling 9-1-1 or pulling out a weapon. He said many in his district carry concealed weapons wherever they go.

According to the Nevada Firearms Coalition, since about 1950, more than 95 percent of all mass shootings in America have taken place where law-abiding citizens are banned from carrying guns.

Most puzzling is why it is a crime to have a gun in your car in the parking lot of these facilities. In fact, in the 2015 legislative session Assemblyman John Hambrick introduced a bill that would have allowed guns in vehicles at the aforementioned locales. A hearing on the bill was packed with proponents and opponents. A digest of the bill stated it would add an exception to the law so that a person would not be prohibited from possessing a weapon on those specific grounds if it were inside a locked or occupied motor vehicle. Seemed like a common sense approach, but it never got out of committee.

So people who are accustomed to keeping a pistol in the glove compartment or a rifle in a gun rack or the trunk are breaking the law if they drop their children off on school or daycare parking lots or visit a college campus. Now this bill would add public libraries, even if one is dropping a book at an outside collection box. Having a gun in the parking lot is not as good as having one on your person if the need arises. Just ask the vice principal of the Pearl, Miss., school who had to run a quarter mile to his vehicle to retrieve a gun to stop a shooter.

In October of 1997 a young man showed up on a school campus carrying a .30-30 rifle. He fatally shot two students. At the sound of gunshots, the vice principal ran a quarter of a mile to his truck, because the school was declared by law to be a gun-free zone, to recover and load his pistol before returning to campus, where he captured and disarmed the gunman and held him for four minutes until police could arrive. This could be an opportunity for an enterprising lawmaker to show some common sense for a change. Amend SB115 by adding the parking lot exception offered by Hambrick two years ago. That would not go far enough but would be a move in the right direction. Also, let library districts set their own policies.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Judge blocking Trump immigration order can read minds

That federal judge in Hawaii who issued a temporary restraining order blocking President Trump’s latest executive order on immigration from six Middle Eastern countries can read minds and knows Trump is a liar. He is not temporarily barring immigrants from those countries until proper vetting can take place because they might be terrorists. No, he is banning Muslims and that is religious discrimination and contrary the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment.

Judge Derrick Watson writes:

The Government appropriately cautions that, in determining purpose, courts should not look into the “veiled psyche” and “secret motives” of government decisionmakers and may not undertake a “judicial psychoanalysis of a drafter’s heart of hearts.” … The Government need not fear. The remarkable facts at issue here require no such impermissible inquiry. For instance, there is nothing “veiled” about this press release: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.[]”… Nor is there anything “secret” about the Executive’s motive specific to the issuance of the Executive Order …” (TRO on travel ban)

The judge then quotes Rudolph Giuliani as saying on television that Trump called him and said he wanted a “Muslim” ban and wanted him to help find a way do it legally.

Never mind that Trump and Giuliani may have actually found a way to protect Americans from potential terrorists by avoiding any religious test, it is the ulterior motive that counts and trumps anything else.

Never mind that Giuliani later said he and others focused on “instead of religion, danger. The areas of the world that create danger for us, which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible …” and “not based on religion. It’s based on places where there are substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”

It was what was in Trump’s heart that counts. Remarks from the campaign trail also were quoted in the ruling.

Never mind that the Establishment Clause was meant to protect Americans from religious discrimination and not everyone in the world, especially where they have a propensity to behead those not of their own religion. Never the fact the immigration order does not affect the countries in which 90 percent of Muslims actually live.

Trump signs new executive order on immigration.