The GOP’s historic takeover of the Nevada Legislature should have meant, at the very least, a budget without tax hikes and passage of gun rights bills that have been bottled up by anti-gun Democrats for years.
Instead, Senate Republicans have been pushing for the largest tax increase in Nevada’s history — including a new gross receipts tax that’s even worse than the one 80 percent of Nevadans rejected at the ballot box last November.
And living up to the GOP’s well-deserved reputation for never blowing an opportunity to blow an opportunity, Senate Republicans are blocking the most important, hard-fought gun rights bill instead of greasing it through with flying colors.
Amanda’s Law would allow adults with a concealed carry permit to carry their weapons on a university campus for self-protection rather than risk becoming a disarmed victim, the way Amanda Collins was in 2007 when she was brutally raped on the parking garage floor at University of Nevada, Reno.
Collins came forward in 2011 and painfully recounted her nightmarish experience to the Legislature in an effort to pass the campus carry law. Amanda’s Law was approved with bipartisan support in the Senate. However, it was then killed by Assembly Democrats who refused to even give the bill a hearing, let alone an up-or-down vote.
Ditto 2013 when the bill was reintroduced. Again, Assembly Democrats killed the bill without giving it a vote.
But this year, with Republicans in charge, Amanda’s Law (Assembly Bill 148) passed easily in the lower chamber 25-15, with every Republican voting “yea.”
It then moved over to the Senate, where nine senators from both parties who voted for Amanda’s Law in 2011 are still serving.
So Republicans should only need two new votes to pass Amanda’s Law and send it to the governor’s desk for a signature. And there are five GOP senators who weren’t there in 2011. So this should be a no-brainer.
Alas, “brainless” appears to be the GOP’s middle name.
Amanda’s Law is suffering the same fate at the hands of Senate Republicans as it did at the hands of Assembly Democrats. Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Brower, who voted for Amanda’s Law in 2011, has refused to give the bill a hearing, claiming it doesn’t have the votes to pass.
If that’s true, it’s outrageous considering the GOP majority. But the truth is, we really don’t know if it’s true or not. One can never be 100 percent sure how someone will vote until they, you know, actually vote.
If those five new GOP senators — Becky Harris, Patricia Farley, Scott Hammond, Mark Lipparelli and Pete Goicoechea — are all anti-gun and oppose Amanda’s Law, fine. But their opposition should be put on the public record so Amanda Collins and all Nevada voters can see exactly who shot down campus carry in 2015.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass-roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.