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September 2, 2015

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J. Patrick Coolican

Story Archive

Play taps for these pieces of legislation
Verdicts: Assembly says no to fish pedicures, inmate teleconferences
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The deadline to push legislation out of the Assembly passed Tuesday, which left fatigued legislators with a satisfyingly slow day Wednesday. A good time, then, to take stock of some of the more eccentric and arcane legislative proposals that died on the Assembly side this week.
Dems want change — in how president is elected
Assembly majority signals support for altering the Electoral College system to enact a popular vote
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Democrats apparently don’t like the fact that Nevada is a presidential battleground state or that Barack Obama was here 20 times in two years to campaign for the presidency.

Activism 101: Gays show how it’s done
They and their allies are among the few inspired by the Obama campaign still involved in politics
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
When 100,000 Nevada Democrats showed up for the presidential caucus last year, nearly everyone in Nevada’s small political class — except Sen. Harry Reid — was a little shocked.

Three professors bidding Boyd adieu
Specter of budget cuts is a reason cited by departing law school educators
Sunday, April 19, 2009
UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law is losing three highly regarded professors, and faculty sources said several others are looking elsewhere. Two of them question Nevada’s commitment to education in the face of a proposed 36 percent cut in higher education in Gov. Jim Gibbons’ budget.
Redevelopment staff had role in independent study
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Correspondence, obtained by the Las Vegas Sun through an open records request, reveals a tight relationship between city staff and Applied Analysis as the firm worked on the study.
Deadlines looming, decisions stay secret
As legislative session wanes, public has less of a chance to influence budget talks
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
A tax increase is coming. The questions now are: Who pays, and how much? High-level talks occur twice a week between legislative leaders from both parties, from both houses.
Nevada Constitution in need of repairs?
UNLV law professor points to flaws in legislative process as symptoms of state’s faulty foundation
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Picture this scenario: Nevada’s governor is incompetent and corrupt, failing to lead in a time of crisis while bringing disrepute on the state with his various embarrassments. What could be done? If the Legislature is in session, as it is every other year for 120 days, lawmakers could impeach the governor. But for the other 83 percent of the time, the Legislature would have no recourse.
Autism bill shows how politics can trump policy
Sunday, April 12, 2009
A bill forcing some private insurance companies to cover treatment of autistic children won an Assembly committee’s approval last week, and it’s almost certainly on its way to becoming law.
State senator calls Las Vegas prostitution policing a sham
Friday, April 10, 2009
During a debate about taxing legal prostitution, state Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, committed what is known in politics as a “Kinsley Gaffe,” named for the witty writer who said a gaffe in Washington, D.C., is when someone tells the truth.
Group: Mining industry not paying its share of taxes
Thursday, April 9, 2009
A liberal group held an event in front of the legislative building today, matching tax deductions for the mining industry with unmet social service needs in Nevada.
Senator: You break roads, you buy ’em
With Democrats in power, tax mostly on truckers on the table
Thursday, April 9, 2009
During the 2007 Legislature, state Sen. Bob Coffin stood in the well of the upper chamber and made a memorable speech condemning the Senate for not taxing the trucking industry to build and fix roads.
Democrats’ reforms favor employees
Bill would restore workers’ right to sue, put burden of proof on employer
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Elections matter, and there was no clearer sign than an Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee hearing this week dealing with workers’ compensation insurance law.
How did so many experts get their forecasts so wrong?
Difficulty, missed signs and lingering boom-time euphoria all contributed to inaccurate predictions
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Many in Nevada’s relatively small ranks of economic analysts saw conditions as much sunnier than they were, including a prominent economic forecaster, a leading UNLV economist and gaming industry analysts.
Crumbling finances cast pall over capital
Reality sinks in: Agonizing, unpopular actions must be taken
Sunday, April 5, 2009
A feeling of despair settled on Carson City last week. It was like fine desert dust, perceptible and sullying to everything it touched.
No time like later to clue public in on crisis budget
Friday, April 3, 2009
Nevada legislators are busy deliberating and being deliberative, so don’t ask them how much money they need or where they’re going to get it.
Debate on home defect law heats up
Builders welcome proposed bill; lawyers for homeowners slam it
Thursday, April 2, 2009
A fierce dispute over the way Nevada resolves homeowners’ claims of construction defects broke open before a legislative committee Wednesday. Legislation being considered pits builders and subcontractors against attorneys for plaintiffs.
Poor expected to be tapped for bigger part of their incomes
Sunday, March 29, 2009
A family of three making $25,000 a year in Las Vegas pays about 10 percent of its income in state and local taxes. A family of three making $150,000 a year in Las Vegas pays about 4 percent of its income in taxes.
Foes under defects law unite to push for its change
Builders, subcontractors agree assured plaintiffs’ attorneys fees spur suits against them
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Another day, another construction defect notice. That’s the routine for Jack Ramsay, a founding partner and vice president of Sierra Air Conditioning, which installs AC units in new homes.
The definition of torture
UNLV colleagues of man who advised Bush on interrogation techniques agonize as they try to reconcile that work with the legal scholar they knew
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Jay S. Bybee, now a judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is described as a gentle soul. So how could he sign his name to a legal document that seemed to sanction the use of torture?
All signs point to an enduring Democratic shift
Demographic trends ought to alarm GOP
Friday, March 20, 2009
Ruy Teixeira co-wrote a book published in 2002 called “The Emerging Democratic Majority.” When the Democrats got trounced in elections that year and again in 2004, the book seemed like one of those unfortunate bargain binners.
Horsford seeking education overhaul
Incentives, standards for teachers may be resisted by fellow Democrats
Sunday, March 15, 2009
State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford will propose a sweeping overhaul of Nevada’s education system this week, with reforms that offer a sharp critique of the state’s education establishment.
Teachers union blasts Horsford on education
War of words points to fraying of coalition to stanch budget cuts
Friday, March 13, 2009
The president of the state teachers union lashed out Thursday at state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, exposing an apparent divide in the Democratic coalition, which had been expected to work together to restore money cut from education.
How an alliance against scrap theft came together
Friday, March 13, 2009
The Assembly Judiciary Committee agenda couldn’t be more vague, or bland sounding: “AB233. Makes various changes concerning scrap metal.”
This time, Clark County tops state list for road projects
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Clark County will receive a majority of transportation stimulus spending under a list of proposed projects the state Transportation Board will consider today.
Room tax hike: Sun’s winners and losers
How battle over 3-point increase shakes out
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The state Senate passed a 3 percentage point increase in the hotel room tax Tuesday, which current projections show will raise about $230 million, making it one of the largest tax increases in Nevada history.

Senate passes hotel room tax hike
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
CARSON CITY -- The state Senate passed a significant tax increase for the first time since 2003, approving a 3 percentage point hotel room tax increase in Clark County and a smaller increase in Washoe.
Nevada's government among the smallest
Before any cuts, state spends less, employs fewer than almost all others
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Is Nevada state government too big, too small or just right? That’s the question legislators must confront. All else is noise.
State cuffed by money: A case in point
Sunday, March 8, 2009
A bill in the Legislature would make it easier for the disabled to get treatment, and for their health care providers to get paid. But the state has no money to get it started, so, sorry.
Sponsor of bill is also a beneficiary: Ho hum
Conflict in lawmaker’s light rail proposal not unusual in Nevada
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Sen. Mike Schneider, chairman of the committee on energy, transportation and infrastructure, has proposed a bill to begin the process of bringing light rail to Southern Nevada. But Schneider, who will hear testimony on the bill today, has more at stake than just sound long-term public policy.
Stephanopoulos: Obama 'surreally confident' amid crisis
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
George Stephanopoulos, chief Washington correspondent for ABC News and former key adviser to President Bill Clinton, laid out the political dynamics of the moment and surveyed the future in a speech at UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall Tuesday night.
Suddenly, lobbyists on outside, unable to see in
They complain of less influence, access with Democrats in control
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
State legislators, in a major shift in the way business is done in Carson City, are cutting some formerly influential lobbyists out of their deliberations over the state budget, among other issues, lobbyists say.
A little late, foreclosure crisis addressed
Monday, March 2, 2009
There’s often a horse-out-of-the-barn quality to the work of Nevada’s Legislature, as it is often forced to react to problems months or even years after the original effects are felt.
How we'll live post-sprawl
End of construction boom will reshape valley in ways good and bad
Monday, March 2, 2009
The disco days are dead, that much is certain. No more brokers driving Mercedes, no more crane skyline, no more developments popping up around the desert like toast from a toaster. Construction and real estate, Southern Nevada’s second most important industry, have crashed, and there likely will be little building here for several years. Start with the bad: All those half-empty neighborhoods on the edge of town become exurban ghettoes. These neighborhoods share the worst aspects of suburban life.
Tax stance is tactic as well as substance
Strong stand gives GOP upper hand in bargaining
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Conservatives launched a brutal attack last week on seven Assembly Republicans who voted for a voter-approved hotel room tax increase.
Sig Rogich, influential in the GOP, endorses Reid
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009
Sig Rogich, the longtime Republican operative with decades of experience in national politics, offered a robust endorsement Wednesday of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Chamber, unions clash on government pay, perks
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009
The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is like the kid who taunts the barking, chained-up dogs in the neighborhood.
7 GOP votes for a tax hike: A trend?
Room tax splits Assembly caucus, draws immediate conservative ire
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009
The key number in the Assembly vote Tuesday to increase the hotel room tax, mostly in Clark County, was seven. Why? Because that’s the number of Republicans who voted for it.
Art of the deal: Get inside head, not heart
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009
Legislators in Carson City are steeling themselves for what are expected to be tough negotiations this spring.
Legislature pressed into action on ‘revenue enhancement’
Lawmakers face deadline to hike room tax in this session
Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009
Nevada seems poised to enact its first significant tax increase since 2003, with the Assembly likely to approve a 3 percentage point hotel room tax increase today.

Hopes lowered for workers’ comp overhaul
Labor-friendly legislature aside, business will press recessionary concerns
Monday, Feb. 23, 2009
To hear the leader of the Nevada AFL-CIO tell it, the workers’ compensation system in Nevada is a crime, cheating employees out of treatment for legitimate injuries and all but encouraging employers to fire injured workers.

Sen. Care’s dual role is typical Nevada
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009
We don’t just have relationships with legislators, we have one on our payroll. That was subtext — even if unintentional — of newspaper ads bought by McDonald Carano Wilson, a law and lobbying firm.
Trapped by lawsuits, subcontractors seek relief
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009
In the fourth quarter alone, Pete King Nevada Corporation received 110 notices of alleged construction defect. The company, like other subcontractors, is a victim of the state’s system for dealing with defects.
Democrats have edge, but GOP holds key to budget deal
As minority presses demands, outlines of an agreement begin to take shape
Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009
Even in the early days of this legislative session, the contours of a deal to confront the state’s budget crisis are taking shape. Though it’s not clear what the final tax plan will look like because all parties are being silent about it, some consensus is emerging about what Republicans will try to extract.
Gibbons shunned by state lawmakers
Unpopularity, disengagement bring lame-duck treatment
Friday, Feb. 13, 2009
One of the worst-kept secrets in the early days of the 2009 Nevada Legislature is the near perfect isolation of Gov. Jim Gibbons. Most legislators and lobbyists, Republicans and Democrats, don’t expect Gibbons to serve a second term.
Gibbons’ adviser trying to broker truce between governor, chancellor
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
A close adviser to Gov. Jim Gibbons reached out to a senior deputy to Jim Rogers, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, and proposed working together to craft a new proposal for funding higher education to present to the Legislature, Rogers told the Sun on Thursday.
They did what in the ’07 legislative session?
Undoing damage wrought by previous Legislatures is all in 120 days’ work
Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
The Nevada Legislature follows a tradition when it meets every two years: Cleaning up the messes it made in the previous session.
Insurers likely to get bill for autism
Preventive care leads to lower costs, better lives, many say
Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009
Democrats in the state Assembly will unveil legislation this week to force insurance companies to provide coverage for the treatment of autism.

Seeking a boost in regulatory power
Big business aligns against Cortez Masto’s idea
Monday, Feb. 9, 2009
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, stung that her office had little authority last year to review the biggest health insurance company merger in state history, is seeking new authority to review such cases for potential abuse of market power.
Week 1: Money, or the lack thereof
Price of gold rising; might it become a source of revenue?
Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009
Here’s your Legislature, week one, wrapped up and summed up, jamming on some Comma Coffee espresso (that’s the coffeehouse across the street from the Legislature, next to the — yes, it’s true — hookah bar.)
A candid Senate showman takes the gavel
Bob Coffin, head of tax panel, unafraid to tell a joke or a truth
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009
Sen. Bob Coffin said that despite his new role of chairman, “I’m not gonna stop being Bob,” which, to the several lobbyists gathered in the room, must have seemed as much like a threat as it did reassurance. The new chairman of the Senate tax committee is quite blunt about the direction the committee will move in the next two months.

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