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Strange requests
by Joshua H. Silavent
Jan 04, 2011 | 1392 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nevada State Assemblywoman Debbie Smith
Nevada State Assemblywoman Debbie Smith
SPARKS — The 943 bill draft requests submitted to the Nevada Legislature for review and possible adoption into law during the 2011 general session might be fewer in sum than previous cycles. Nonetheless, there are several that have some officials scratching their heads.

While many requests deal with eliminating inefficiencies and streamlining prior legislation and others attest to some measure of significance, Assembly-woman Debbie Smith said “there are always a few” that seem silly and a waste of time.

For example, one request “resolves that there are two acceptable pronunciations for the name of the State of Nevada.”

That humorous if not contentious resolution, meant to appease those who prefer to say Ne-vah-duh, was submitted by Assemblyman Harry Mortenson last August. He has since termed out, but rules allow for his request to move forward with new sponsorship.

Smith said the Legislature would consider scrapping this loophole, as well as other changes to how resolutions are handled.

Though some bill draft requests are never heard, all resolutions must make it to the floor of state congress, Smith said, which can be time-consuming and frivolous.

“The public is cynical about what we do anyway and these things only compound that feeling,” Smith said.

Many resolutions are submitted to honor or memorialize certain individuals, and though perhaps noble sentiments, many wonder whether such acts should be a priority of legislators.

“It’s important to somebody,” Sparks Councilman Ron Schmitt said, “but not to most Nevadans.”

Requests for approval of vanity plates that read “Don’t Tread On Me” and another that indicates support for the Second Amendment strike Schmitt as little more than pet projects.

There also is concern that government overreaches in some of its bill draft requests.

A proposed sales tax on bottled water and required recycling of fluorescent light bulbs, despite whatever environmental importance might be associated with them, hardly seem the purview of government, critics say, particularly when the public is most evidently concerned with economic and budgetary issues.

Though many of the bill draft requests exist in name only, titles do not always reflect the true nature of the legislation, Schmitt said.

However, some feel it forgivable if the public chuckled at request 864: “Prohibits the taking of an excessive number of certain free publications under certain circumstances.”
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