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September 3, 2015

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Gibbons wants AG’s answer on health bill suit by next week

Gov. Jim Gibbons said Thursday he wants a decision by early next week from Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto on whether she'll pursue a lawsuit against federal health reform.

The Republican governor has joined with other attorneys general and GOP critics who argue the law signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama includes unfunded mandates that will cost Nevada taxpayers and is unconstitutional because it requires people to buy health insurance.

"This is a critical issue, an issue which defines fundamental rights under the constitution," Gibbons said in a telephone interview. "This bill has been passed since Sunday. It's available, you can read it, and it's time to move quickly."

The Democratic attorney general on Wednesday rebuffed the governor's directive to immediately join at least a dozen other states that have filed suit. Gibbons cited a state law that says the governor has authority to direct legal action be taken "to protect and secure the interest" of the state.

Masto in response said as the state's chief legal officer, she has a responsibility to ensure a case has legal merit before a lawsuit is filed. She said her office was conducting a "thorough legal analysis" of the law for potential constitutional flaws.

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