March 3, 2011

Transparency Review (2/28 - 3/4)

• Clark County firefighter sick leave use has plummeted in the two pay periods following an arbitrator's finding of widespread abuse of the sick leave system, the Las Vegas Sun reports. Firefighters at McCarran International used 83 percent less sick leave, Laughlin firefighters used 63 percent less and Clark County firefighters used 43 percent less.

• Should concealed carry permits be a public record? David Bobzien (D-Reno) says no and has introduced a bill to block the public's access to CCW permit records. Supporters of the bill argue that public CCW permit information paints a target on their home for potential burglars. The bill has drawn support from conservative groups as well as the ACLU but opposition from the Nevada Press Association.

The Supreme Court
• The Nevada Ethics Commission has submitted its opening brief to the United States Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn a Nevada Supreme Court ruling, which ruled that a law governing when a politician must recuse themselves from voting was unconstitutional. The Commission argues the Nevada Supreme Court decision "is not only contrary to centuries of practices; it would be calamitous as a practical matter." You can read about the background of the case here.

• Shelia Leslie (D-Reno) has introduced a bill in the State Senate which would require lobbyists to report how much they spend wining and dining lawmakers year-round. Current law only requires lobbyists to submit reports during the legislative session.

Sen. John Ensign
• The Senate probe of Sen. John Ensign heats up as Politico reports investigators have interviewed Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) about the scandal. Coburn -- who shared a home in Washington with Ensign -- reportedly knew about the affair for over a year and has already turned over 1,200 emails to investigators.

• The Reno Gazette-Journal takes a look at the lobbying industry operating up in Carson City. Some highlights? Six hundred lobbyists have already registered with the state, and Legislative Counsel Bureau director Lorne Malkiewich predicts it'll be 900 by the end of the session. The lobbyist-to-legislator ratio is currently 10 to 1 and expected to inch even higher by the end of the session.

• Secretary of State Ross Miller has called on state lawmakers to make Nevada elections more transparent. In particular, Miller has sponsored proposals that would make campaign filings electronic, change the filing deadlines so voters could be more informed prior to voting and have his office be the clearinghouse for election information.

• NPRI's Karen Gray takes a look at a proposed Assembly bill which would force violators of the state's open-meeting law to pay a $500 fine and how it could allow Attorney General Masto to appear tough on open-meeting violators, while also evading the the state's stricter remedy -- "undoing an action."