By Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R-AD19)
The 2017 Legislative Session has roughly three weeks remaining to finish Nevada’s business. I think it’s going to be a mad frenzy to do so because the Democrats in charge have squandered much time on low priorities and issues that didn’t need to be worked. Needless to say, the 2017 legislative session is very different from the prior session.
I returned to Carson City expecting to work on programs and policies that would help the middle class and businesses that were both hurt so badly in the awful recession. I aimed to build upon our educational reforms from the 2015 session and strengthen vocational training and workforce development, increase government accountability, protect the property tax cap, and help seniors and veterans.
Sadly, the majority party has put forth a very different, and very partisan, agenda. The Democratic leaders bogged down the legislative processes by working on meritless resolutions and proclamations that don’t help our constituents. For example, they passed a resolution to urge the Federal government to keep the Affordable Care Act, despite the obvious problems with it. Additionally, they passed the Equal Rights Amendment even though the deadline was 35 years ago. Instead of working on bipartisan issues, they chose to spend time on ultra-partisan liberal social agenda issues that don’t help move Nevada forward. Rather than encouraging greater access to our public lands, they passed a resolution thanking the federal government for shutting down 1.3 Million acres of our state.
Rather than hearing bills to improve the education system, they don’t even assign them to committee. Indeed, they still haven’t had a committee hearing on the much desired Education Savings Accounts that would help thousands of Nevada families that need school choice for their children. Rather than building upon Republican education reforms from the 2015 session that are working for our families, Democrats are focused on watering down teacher accountability and labor friendly policies. Even worse, they put forth legislation to repeal and weaken education reforms such as the Read by Grade Three program, the Achievement School District, and Silver State Opportunity Grants. Instead of respecting parents’ values, they injected legislation to implement a radical sex education curricula that is neither age appropriate nor educational.
The majority party continues to spend time doing other people’s jobs rather than acting like a State Legislature. Even though the Governor and our Federal representatives made Nevada’s case about Yucca Mountain clear, the legislature pushed an unnecessary resolution. Then they focused on School Board issues like what training should School Board Trustees have and when should school counselors mentor students? Then the Democrat leadership strayed again from legislative duties by involving themselves in a Reno cemetery controversy. If they want to work those issues, they should run for those offices. It is frustrating being dragged into non-state-legislature arenas.
I have spent considerable time and effort fighting the majority party’s liberal agenda in committee and on the Assembly floor. I have had success in blunting the anti-family and anti-religion bills. I vehemently opposed them in committee and pressed bill sponsors to moderate the extreme nature of their bills and ensure protections for families and people of faith. I have had to spend more time fighting their bad policies that would hurt you than working on the issues important to you.
It is true Democrats have enough votes to move their liberal social agenda; however, it is also true that Republicans are sticking together to stop it when we can, moderate what we can and make the case against them so that Governor Sandoval is encouraged to veto such detrimental policies.
So, in the final three weeks, what can we expect?
I anticipate liberal legislation to continue to flow into the Legislature and many more attempts to roll back the accomplishments of the 2015 legislative session. It remains uncertain if they will tinker with the property tax caps, But if they try, I and my Republican colleagues are ready for the fight. I expect the Democrats will waste the additional $100 million available in the budget. I also expect the Democrats will fight against Education Savings Accounts, but we Republicans, with help from Governor Sandoval, will make sure the thousands of Nevadan families get them.
Despite their efforts, you can be assured that I and the rest of my Republican colleagues will do everything to stop left-wing policies that will only hurt Nevada families. Under commonsense policies Nevada’s economy is prospering and on the right path to lead the nation in job creation. We cannot afford to move backwards and you can be assured I will never stop fighting for you.