Nevadans owe state Republican Senators a debt of gratitude. In case you missed it, last month the state’s Supreme Court ruled the power grab by democrats during the 2019 legislative session was unconstitutional.
By way of background, in 1994 the people of Nevada voted to change the constitution to require any bill that raises taxes to have a super majority vote in both houses before it becomes law. However Democrats, during the 2019 session, chose to ignore the will of the people and push through two bills that created revenue with a simple majority. One bill enacted a two year extension to a Department of Motor Vehicles technology fee (SB542), and the other (SB551) indefinitely extended a payroll tax that was slated to sunset.
As both bills generate public revenue, clearly they were subjected to the two-thirds majority rule. Frustrated that not one of the eight Republican Senators voted in favor, Democrats knowingly broke the law and moved the bill to the Governor’s office who, of course, signed it into law.
Not only did the Democrats underestimate the solidarity of the eight (see adjacent) during the session, they underestimated their tenacity as the Republican Senators filed a lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of the laws. A District Court judge agreed, and Nevada’s Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision supporting the lower court.
Chief Justice James Hardesty, who wrote the opinion said, “Because both bills create, generate or increase public revenue such that the plain language of the super majority provision applies, the district court correctly determined they were unconstitutionally passed.”
Now what? Since the funds generated (well over $100 million) from the time the law went into effect until the court ruling, were collected illegally, those funds must be returned. Political observers speculate that, instead of returning the money to its rightful owners, taxpayers will be offered credits. If that happens, you can be sure businesses that overpaid will rightfully file a claim against the state. After all, it is their money.
There’s so many things wrong with our lawmakers circumventing the law. But perhaps the most disturbing is that it was done intentionally by our elected officials, many of whom are attorneys. As lawyers, they are educated to understand the constitution and should be held to a higher standard. They knowingly broke the law and should be removed from office. At the very least those attorneys that willfully voted to ignore the constitution should be disbarred.
The original intention of SB551, which was introduced by Senator Cannizzaro, was to provide education funding. Nevada’s windfall from the feds should more than cover any additional funding needed for our schools. The Cares Act pumped $900 million into the state, followed by “Biden Bucks” with an additional $2.9 billion.
We can expect a special session to be called this summer for lawmakers to determine how best to spend the additional funds. It will be interesting to see how much support education receives from the Democrats as they allocate the funds.
Call to Action: “The government you elect is the government you deserve,” – Thomas Jefferson.
I urge all Nevadans to pay attention to what’s going on in Carson City, and in Washington. Our lawmakers are elected to represent us and we need to trust those we put in office will uphold the will of the people. When they attempt to circumvent the constitution, we must hold them accountable. The power grab in 2019, and subsequent court ruling should be a wake up call to Nevadans. I’m thankful to the eight Republican Senators that challenged the lawbreakers in court. And I appreciate the judges that rightfully ruled in this case. Now let’s not forget to discipline those that broke the law.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.