Like 2003, the Nevada Supreme Court broke a legislative impasse, this time by barring the governor and his fellow moonhowlers from skimming millions in bond money from cities, counties and school districts. Some localities got so spooked by the state’s horse thievery that they blew their cash reserves before they needed to do so.
“What compromise?” an insider groused. “All they ended up doing was pretty much passing the governor’s budget.”
Liberal lobbyists are much more angry at Democrats than Republicans. You don’t expect your friends to throw you under the bus.
“None of us believe the Democrats should have gone to the Republicans to negotiate after the supreme court decision. The governor had to balance his budget and the only way was to extend the sunsets, so why negotiate?”
In exchange for their support, former Reno GOP Sens. Randolph Townsend and Bill Raggio required that 2009 tax hikes “sunset” (expire) as of next month. Their legislative swan song became a figurative and literal funeral dirge. For the former, death by a thousand cuts of whatever progress Nevada has made toward becoming a civilized society.
For the latter, Carson City’s inaction will literally kill lots of people. As I write this, Assembly Bill 571 is slithering its toxic way thru the halls of the legislature. It would overturn the 2006 statewide initiative to ban smoking in bars that serve food.
In order to buy the neutrality of the gambling-industrial complex, proponents conceded an exception to the casino industry.
Like good drug dealers everywhere, the gamblers know their customers. The bedrock casino denizen, the gambler who will lose his paycheck and his house, is afflicted with an addictive personality. All available addictions must be assuaged in order to keep such sick people coming back for more. On March 2, 1990, I printed that fact as the real story behind the failure of Nevada’s first non-smoking casino, Reno’s Ponderosa. It will be linked to the web edition of this column at NevadaLabor.com.
Now, despite substantial evidence that cancer and heart disease have dropped because of the ban, our lawmakers are processing “emergency legislation” to loosen the law. Sure, employees can choose to work elsewhere. But what if you need the job?
Indentured servitude by another name doesn’t stop there on the High Desert Plantation.
Gov. Brian the Brutal vetoed a couple of consensus bills developed by business, government and labor after publication of a damning Occupational Safety and Health Administration report about Nevada’s failure to protect workers from dangerous conditions.
The Las Vegas Sun won a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for its exposé of construction deaths and injuries on the Las Vegas Strip.
Under Gov. Dudley Do-Right and his successor, Jim the Dim, Nevada’s worker safety apparatus was so deficient that the feds were about to take over. AB 253 and 254, vetoed by El Bruté, were attempts to remedy the shortcomings. But who cares? Workers are cheap and disposable. You can always get more for less.
The rumble in Carson is that Sandoval will scuttle anything with union fingerprints on it, no matter if the chamber of commerce also supports it. He may yet accrue the dubious distinction of eclipsing Jim the Dim’s execrable record for veto volume.
Roll in budget cuts on dozens of programs keeping people alive and this legislative session should be indicted for voluntary manslaughter. If you like institutionalized bad health and ignorance, Nevada’s your little slice of the seventh circle of hell.
As cartoonist Walt Kelly’s Porkypine told Pogo in the comics of long ago, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” We elect these clowns, often because we are given about as much choice as paper or plastic.
Nevada union leaders are so spitting mad they are not only talking about an initiative petition on taxes but also abandoning some Democratic lawmakers. One told me that the needless compromise after the supreme court decision echoed the congressional sellout on health care.
With a Donkeyite president, a filibuster-proof senate and a huge majority in the house, the Dems criminalized health care by forcing penniless people to buy insurance from the usual bandidos with no regulation of the industry. A license to steal and kill.
“It’s driving our trust fund costs through the roof,” one union man seethed.
Pimps and thieves
Last Friday, a legislative report rubbed salt into labor’s wounds. Auditors pretty much concluded that Joe Conforte would have been a better labor commissioner than current appointee Mike Tanchek. At least Joe made sure his girls got paid.
Assisted by creative neglect from Democratic Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, Mr. Tanchek and local governments (including Sparks and Reno) have intentionally failed to enforce labor law and wage standards. Tanchek has refused to collect about $3.9 million in fines and back pay owed to Nevadans.
Time to form a new political party if anybody’s got the guts.
Not ready for
Barbwire e-list subscribers already know that last week’s TV program was banned from network prime time because some corporate censor termed it “political,” not “public affairs.” Somebody explain the difference to me. Watch NevadaLabor.com or get on my mailing list for rerun times and webstreaming links.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.