State Things are back in the news. This is not surprising. Anytime state legislatures are in session, the public faces a threat from new State Things.
In the 1930s Walt Disney got into a wrangle with California state government and announced he was planning to move his studios to Nevada. There was great excitement in the Silver State.
In January, a man named George Gund died in Palm Springs, Calif. Gund was a resident of Lee in Elko County. He provided the funding for the very first Cowboy Poetry Gathering and sat on the board of Elko’s Western Folklife Center.
In the 19th century, a movement called “uniform state laws” became enormously influential. It involved getting states to write similar laws so that crossing a state border was not such a legally difficult process. Unfortunately, it has led to a one-size-fits-all philosophy and a belief that what works in Roanoke, Va., will work in Reno.
While covering the ongoing news over the busing of mental patients out of Nevada by a state hospital, I called former Nevada Gov. Richard Bryan to interview him on the impact these kinds of disputes have on the state’s ability to attract news businesses. Bryan created the economic development system that existed for three decades until Gov. Brian Sandoval dismantled it two years ago.
Last weekend I visited a Reno used bookstore that I often frequent. The owner told me that this is like no recession he has experienced. In previous recessions, he said, people have avoided buying new books so he benefited. Sales rose in hard times. Not this time.