Author: Thomas Mitchell

Gun Law Backers Too Wily for Their Own Good

The backers of a 2016 ballot initiative to create a state law requiring criminal background checks for all private party gun sales — something not required by federal law — are asking the courts to fix a fatal flaw that they themselves created. Failure to comply with the Background Check Act requirement would carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine — if it were enforceable. The measure, Question 1 on the November ballot, passed with a mere 50.45 percent of the vote, failing in every county except Clark. The initiative backers —...

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Good Riddance to EPA’s Clean Power Plan

President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has pulled the plug on the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which called for power plants in every state to reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 — a not so thinly veiled plan to destroy the coal industry. It was a senseless and futile gesture that would have cost Americans dearly while doing nearly nothing to protect the planet from global warming. The U.S. Supreme Court had already blocked enforcement of the plan after 29 states filed suit saying the plan violated the law and the concept of federalism. Nevada filed an amicus brief with the court agreeing with those claims. According to a Heritage Foundation report, Obama’s plan by 2030 would have cost an annual average employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs with a peak employment shortfall of more than 1 million jobs. It also would have created a loss of more than $2.5 trillion (inflation-adjusted) in aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) and reduced total income per capita by more than $7,000 (inflation-adjusted). According to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the EPA proposal would increase the price of electricity in Nevada an average of 18 percent between 2020 and 2029. Nevada’s friend-of-the-court brief noted, “EPA’s expensive economic experiment, imposed by fiat, will increase electricity prices for consumers and may well compromise the reliability of electric power...

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Commerce Tax is Unnecessary and Burdensome

Gov. Brian Sandoval has been crying about a paper cut as though it were an amputation. Ever since Attorney General Adam Laxalt stated that he would run for governor next year and one of his platform positions would be the repeal of the 2015 commerce tax, Sandoval has been lobbying brickbats, even though Laxalt suspended his campaign announcement just hours after the Mandalay Bay shooting massacre that left 58 dead and about 500 injured at an outdoor country music concert. “Anyone supporting a repeal of the Commerce Tax must explain to Nevada’s children, families and businesses which education initiatives will be cut if it is eliminated,” Sandoval wailed in a statement reported by the website Nevada Independent. “Will they cut gifted and talented programs, end all-day kindergarten, eliminate special education resources, decrease literacy programs that help students read by third grade, cut autism funding, stop career and technical education, and get rid of technology in schools grants? Any discussion of eliminating this revenue source must include answers about where in the budget they will cut.” The commerce tax is a tax on gross receipts on all businesses grossing more than $4 million a year. It has different tax tables for 27 different industries — ranging from a low of 0.056 percent for mining to a high of 0.362 percent for rail transportation — and there are 67 different tax...

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Bill Would Limit Power to Create National Monuments

The House Committee on Natural Resources this past week approved a bill sponsored by Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop to rein in the powers granted by the Antiquities Act of 1906 that allow a president to unilaterally create huge national monuments. The bill advanced on a party-line vote of 27-13, with Democrats in opposition. The bill, H.R. 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act, amend the Antiquities Act to limit the size of future monuments and specifically grants the sitting president the power to reduce the size of existing monuments — a power Democrats have argued President Trump...

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Jobs And Wildlife Can Coexist

In 2015 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that years of science-based protections by federal and state land use plans had substantially reduced risks to more than 90 percent of the greater sage grouse’s breeding habitats across its 173 million-acre range. Thus, its extinction no longer imminent, the breed was removed as a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Despite this finding the Obama administration unilaterally instituted draconian land use restrictions across 10 Western states intended to prevent any presence of the non-native, invasive species known as mankind. But the Interior Department under Montanan Ryan Zinke...

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