Monday, June 3, 2013

Lives on the Line

As #NVLeg #77 finally comes to a close today, we're monitoring all the insane, nonsensical drama surrounding what should be the common sense of SB 221. Last we checked this morning, it was drowning in committee. But moments ago, it finally got a life preserver at the very last minute.

The intense lobbying on the gun bill paid off a short time ago when the background checks measure, SB 221, got out of Assembly Judiciary with Olivia Diaz, who had been waffling, voting yes to get it to the floor. It will now likely pass the Assembly and be vetoed by the governor. And then we will see what Mayors Against Illegal Guns does in 2014.

Yet with that being said, Assembly Members James Ohrenschall (D-Sunrise Manor) and Richard Carrillo (D-Paradise) joined all the Republicans on the Assembly Judiciary Committee in voting against the bill. We discussed earlier Ohrenschall's excuse for opposing the bill. And now, ProgressNow Nevada is responding.

“As with any new law there would have to be some public education,” said Brian Fadie, Executive Director of ProgressNow Nevada, “however SB 221 is unique in that the issue and the bill itself has been extensively covered by media outlets throughout Nevada and in different languages.”

Spanish media specifically has covered SB 221 almost weekly and just last week both Telemundo and Univision in Las Vegas ran stories on Nevada’s gun laws. Telemundo Las Vegas was even present at the bill’s hearing last Tuesday in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

“There are multiple bills that have passed through the Nevada Legislature that are more difficult to understand than SB221 and have not had anywhere near the coverage and attention this bill has received,” said Brian Fadie. “86 percent of Nevadans want expanded background checks and they deserve a vote from the members of the Nevada Assembly.”

And I personally saw the cameras at last week's SB 221 hearing. English and Spanish language media have been covering this issue relentlessly. Perhaps that's why Assembly Member Olivia Diaz (D-North Las Vegas) finally came around to pass the bill out of committee?

Meanwhile, Assembly Members Carrillo and Ohrenschall actually sided with Michele Fiore (R-Las Vegas) in rejecting expansion of background checks to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous criminals. Is the NRA's seal of approval (and blood money campaign cash) truly that much more important than saving lives? Really? Is a $250 check worth more than saving innocent people's lives?

Even though it's now out of committee, SB 221 still faces a rocky road ahead. It will likely pass the Assembly, but Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NRA) continues his veto threats. And the lives of many Nevadans remain on the line. The lives of many Nevadans of many ethnicities in many communities throughout the state remain on the line. And yet, the Governor and several legislators who are supposed to be representing and serving these people don't seem to care about that.

Yep, this is how we're ending the 77th session of the Nevada Legislature.

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