Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 | 2 a.m.
The Sun's opinion page provides a wide range of opinion about the start of the 2013 Legislature.
From the Sun:
The Sun's editorial Break the status quo.
Brian Greenspun's "Where I Stand" column.
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We asked five Nevada political journalists to answer five questions about this session of the Legislature. Here are the answers of TV host and commentator Jon Ralston.
1. What do you think are the top three issues for the Legislature?
1. The budget. Always is, always will be. They will not deviate from the governor’s number very much.
2. Taxes. The Democrats already are lamenting a lack of funding, especially in education. Only one way to change that unless they make cuts (not gonna happen). I think there will be a proposal, but it will either not pass the Legislature or be vetoed.
3. Health care. It’s not just the Affordable Care Act, but burgeoning Medicaid rolls, needs of UMC and much more. I doubt much new will happen, but I hope I am wrong.
2. Any outlier issues or things people aren’t talking about now but could quickly demand attention?
The teachers tax will require something be done within 40 days. Even not doing anything is action in this case. I think there are some business issues — collective bargaining reform, construction defects, prevailing wage — that are percolating.
3. What are the main political themes going into this session?
Four new leaders. Hasn’t happened in decades, so the theme of inexperience will be there. It’s also, as all sessions are, the table-setter for the next campaign cycle. That will affect all decisions, from the governor to the Gang of 63. How much will it affect decisions? I’ll tell you in June.
4. What do you think we’ll see regarding Nevada’s “geopolitics” (north vs. south) this year?
Three of four leaders are from the south; three-quarters of the Legislature is southern. So south should crush the north, finally. But other than some school funding issues — and this will hurt the rurals the most — and some ornaments on the end-of-session Christmas tree, I don’t think there will be much. Flare-ups, not a conflagration.
5. How would you summarize this session to a neighbor not terribly familiar with Nevada politics?
Same as all sessions: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. But, seriously, this session, with two very good human beings as leaders of both houses, has a lot of potential. So I, as usual, actually do have hope. Before it starts, that is.