Nevada Republican Priorities a Mixed Message

A lot has been said about the priorities being set by the Nevada Republican Party in the  coming year now that they have won control of the state government, but the messages are getting to be a mixed bag. In a recent interview with MSNBC, Secretary of State-Elect Barbara Cegavske made the announcement that It would be one of the first priorities for state legislators in February to pass voter ID bills to make picture identification necessary when voting. An interview with Assembly Speaker-designate Ira Hansen last week revealed that his caucus had the intention of taking the lead for their agenda from Governor Brian Sandoval. Among the measures apparently being drafted for the new Republican-controlled Nevada legislature are a re-visiting of a collective bargaining bill similar to one that failed to pass in 2011. In addition, other reported initiatives involve education reform, possibly even including revisiting prayer in schools, the return of Federal Nevada lands to the state, and an initiative to allow concealed weapons on college campuses. In all, a pretty mixed bag of an agenda.

With respect to the claim that Sandoval will take the lead with the Republican priorities, there may be less unity in practice than in theory with that prospect. In particular, the school choice issue has come up more than once in the past with little success. It seems unlikely that instant consensus will be achieved just because of a simple majority and a profession of unity. The issue of carrying concealed on campus is one which has not met with success when raised by Democrats or Republicans in Nevada, and the level of resistance to the idea is still very high in may quarters. With respect to the Nevada voter ID law, it gets even more complicated, as messages coming out of Governor Sandoval’s office appear to be confused about what their position actually is.

A Guardian Liberty Voice editorial published on Saturday which discussed the voter ID bill, and mentioned Governor Sandoval’s stated support for a similar measure proposed in 2012, prompted a message to the editor from his communications director, Mari St Martinm. In the editorial, it was stated that Sandoval was unlikely to reverse his stand on the voter ID bill, being already on the record in support. The message from his communications director stated that she was unfamiliar with any stand previously taken by the Governor. Given that the statement, made to Jon Ralston and published in the Ralston Reports in 2012 said that he thought “the idea of a voter ID law is a good one,” there seems to be clear enough indication of a position. There is clearly either a change of heart or a lack of communication somewhere within the office. This was a simple statement of support, and not the announcement of a major policy initiative. Even a change of heart would not represent a major problem politically for the Governor. It may illustrate a simple truth, however, that no matter what position any member of the caucus might be expected to take based on this purported unity of purpose as a result of the new majority, nothing is sure.

Editorial By Jim Malone


Image courtesy of DeLaMare Science and Technology Library – Flickr License