Bill is an expensive sop to public employee unions

A bill introduced in Carson City by a Las Vegas assemblyman would wipe out much of the progress made in 2015 in public employee collective bargaining reforms.

Assembly Bill 121, sponsored by Assemblyman Steve Yeager, who also happens to be a Clark County public employee, would wipe out a provision in law that prohibits paying union officials from public coffers for time spent doing union business. It also negates a provision blocking pay increases after a union contract has expired and before a new one is inked. It further makes provisions of any new contract retroactive the time of expiration of the previous one — lessening incentives for union members to accept a lesser offer.

The bill is pure redistributionism. Taking from the taxpayers to line the pockets of public employee unions.

Assemblyman Yeager

Assemblyman Yeager

Yeager is employed by the Clark County Public Defenders Office, whose union contract expires in June.

As Las Vegas newspaper columnist Victor Joecks pointed out in a recent column, Yeager’s wearing of two hats — lawmaker and public employee — is not just a conflict of interest, but a blatant violation of the state Constitution.

Article 3 of that Constitution states: “The powers of the Government of the State of Nevada shall be divided into three separate departments, — the Legislative, — the Executive and the Judicial; and no persons charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any functions, appertaining to either of the others, except in the cases expressly directed or permitted in this constitution.”

Since local governments exist at the behest of the state government, Yeager could be considered an employee of the executive branch, and since he works in the court system he might also by seen as an employee of the judicial branch — a triple play!

The reforms this bill attempts to undo actually don’t go nearly far enough.

Even liberal icon and labor supporter Franklin D. Roosevelt said:

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.”


8 comments on “Bill is an expensive sop to public employee unions

  1. Bruce Kester says:

    Thanks Thomas for this. Few pieces of legislative largess are as egregiously bad as this. I guess the whole concept of legislators voting their own salary increases might be close.

  2. He should either quit his job or resign from the Assembly, this is dishonest and an outrage.

  3. Bill says:

    The issue of whether or not state employees, working for either one of three branches of government should be litigated. Anyone out there have the time and resources to do it?

  4. NPRI’s legal arm sued over Mo Denis being a lawmaker and employed by the PUC, but Denis quit the PUC job so the case was moot. He quit a full-time, well paying job for a poorly paid, part-time job. What does that tell you?

  5. Bill says:

    Excuse me. My fingers are faster than my brain. I should have written, “The issue of whether or not state employees, working for any branch of government can serve in the State Legislature? Not artfully phrased but it has long been my contention that public employees should not serve in the State Legislature and it is my belief that there is a Constitutional prohibition against it.

  6. Bill says:

    I would rather see NPRI sue some of the legislators who are employed by local governments rather than suing a legislator who is employed by the University Board of Regents. The Board of Regents is a separate entity created by the State Constitution. Is the Board of Regents a fourth branch of government separate and apart from the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of state government? It may be.

  7. Barbara says:

    How about State Senator Scott Hammond. He is a government teacher in the Clark County School district. When he first ran, I sent him an email asking him to explain how he could serve in both the executive branch as a teacher and in the legislative branch as a legislator given the separation of powers provisions. If I remember correctly he stated he was relying on an attorney general opinion that stated this in no way violated the separation of powers provision. I did not agree with it then, and I still don’t. Common sense would tell one there is a conflict of interest in a teacher voting to pass laws that clearly have bearing on his position as a teacher.

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