You may recall, during Nevada’s Legislative Session last year, two bills were passed that extended taxes that were scheduled to sunset. What makes these two bills unique is that they both were unlawfully passed. The Nevada Constitution requires a two-third supermajority of both houses to pass any tax increase. While Democrats had a supermajority in the Assembly, they were one vote shy in the Senate. In fact, every single Republican Senator held firm on not voting for the extension. Regardless, Democrats declared the tax hikes to be passed and the Governor, in turn, illegally signed them into law.
Senate Bills 551 and 542 were examples of blatant disregards of the law and the will of “We the People”. By passing both bills, Democrats showed their contempt for the people they serve and the process that defines our democracy. To further exacerbate the issue, the Legislative Council Bureau (LCB), a supposedly non-partisan organization meant to advise legislators in the creation of laws, supported the bills, showing that they clearly had an agenda and were biased toward Democrats.
As a result, Republican state Senators had to take the extreme step of suing to have the tax hikes thrown out for violating the Constitution. You read that correctly, one party had to sue in order to ensure the other party upheld the Constitution they were all hired by us to protect. Democrats, and the LCB, for their part, argued that the two bills should not be considered tax increases because they were simple extensions of previous tax hikes and so didn’t require a supermajority. Here’s the rub. What the Nevada Constitution clearly says is that a two-thirds supermajority is required to pass any bill which, “creates, generates or increases public revenue in ANY form.”
I’m still waiting to hear an argument that is any kind of logical explaining how extending tax hikes doesn’t increase public revenue. Fortunately, the Nevada District Court agreed and both bills were thrown out.
In issuing his ruling, Judge James Todd Russell pointed out this was an open and shut case. Basing his ruling on the intent of the 1994 passage of the initiative requiring the two-thirds supermajority, Judge Russell said, “The intent of this particular provision of the Constitution is clear and the language is clear. It clearly states an affirmative vote of not fewer than two thirds of the members elected to each house is necessary to pass a bill or joint resolution which creates, generates or increases any public revenue.”
Of course, the Democrats plan to appeal the ruling, ignoring the will of the people that hired them and the rules they are bound by as Nevada Legislators. It boggles my mind that these individuals continue to be elected each year when they so clearly have no respect for the people they serve. They are wasting time and revenue to chase down rabbit holes to get their way and unlawfully pass bills while Nevadans suffer from their bad choices.
Call to Action: This case is further proof of how much our voice matters in governing. The election season comes to a close this month and I hope you voted. It is vital we exercise the rights granted to us in this democracy. When Republican Legislators saw an injustice that went outside the will of the people, they spoke up. They fought it and, ultimately, they were able to stop that injustice. We must do no less. Speak up! Your voice matters.
By Whose Authority?
For more information on my Commentary and to see some of my backup research, or if you wonder why I take the position I take, go to www.LyleBrennan.com.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”