Wednesday, December 5, 2012

All Shook Up

Last night, Jon Ralston had State Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis (D-North Las Vegas) and State Senator Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas) on his show to discuss yesterday's startling turn of events. Believe it or not, we've seen even more twists and turns in the past 18 hours.

(Skip to 19:30 to start the Denis/Kihuen segment.)

Just as I had expected earlier, someone else is quickly jumping on this bandwagon. All of a sudden, State Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) also wants "driver's privilege cards" for undocumented immigrants. And he may even introduce his own bill for it!

On Tuesday, Roberson voiced strong support for a Utah-style driver’s privilege card for undocumented immigrants, adding that the Republican caucus may come out with its own proposal soon.

“A lot of immigrants in Nevada are on the roads now, whether it’s to get back and forth to school or get children back and forth to school or to go to work,” Roberson said. “The fact that these immigrants may be driving without a license or card and without insurance, I think we can do better than that as a state.”

So there's now bipartisan consensus here. So is all well? Not for Nevada Republicans. Chuck Muth eviscerated Roberson (again) on his blog last weekend for "Hispandering" (nice one, Chuckie) already, so he probably isn't liking this. And so far, other top Republicans in Carson City may be more inclined to side with Muth.

Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Reno, one of the Legislature’s most conservative Republicans, was dismayed by the idea of granting driving privileges to undocumented immigrants.

“I would not be supportive just letting people come in the country illegally and giving them a driver’s license. No!” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to allow them to come in the country illegally then give permission to drive legally.”

As we had discussed yesterday, the "tea party" base of the Republican Party has no interest in moderation. Hell, Chuck Muth is now vitriolically referring to it as "Hispandering"! And the likes of Don Gustavson and Pat Hickey seem eager to fight Roberson on this.

And speaking of Hickey, he stirred the pot some more yesterday by continuing his false equivalency argument for voter ID. As Mo Denis said above, there is a huge difference between utilizing resources to solve a serious problem (uninsured and unlicensed drivers on the road) and spending money to "solve" a nonexistent problem (as in the great "VOTER FRAUD!!!" hoax). But shortly after saying this, Denis announced something that probably won't sound like music to Ross Miller's ears. So now, both incoming Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D-North Las Vegas) and incoming State Senate Majority Mo Denis have announced opposition to Ross Miller's election reform bill!

While Republicans are split over tackling legal status for immigrant drivers, Democrats are now split over election reform. And thanks to Pat Hickey stirring the pit, both issues are starting to look like a tangled mess. At least Denis and Roberson won't need Assembly Republican votes to pass some sort of legislation clearing the way for some sort of driver's licenses for immigrant drivers. However, Ross Miller will definitely need more Democratic support to pass his election reform legislation. And so far, top Democrats just don't see the need for it... And Republican meddling may very well be harming Miller's chances of coalescing Democratic support for it.

So far, the Nevada Legislature is looking increasingly "all shook up"... And it isn't even in session yet!

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