(Michele Fiore) – There has been a lot of talk this session about big changes coming to college campuses across Nevada. First, the spotlight was on Assembly Bill 148, which would allow CCW holders to carry on college campuses, and other public buildings. Now, the focus is on the Nevada Board of Regents creating a 100% tobacco-free environment on all of Nevada’s public college, university and research campuses.
In a perfect world this policy could do some good for Nevada, but when you look at the facts it is completely hypocritical. In 2014 alone the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) received $100 million from tobacco taxes alone.
Marc Johnson, University of Nevada, Reno President, had this to say in an article by Nevada Today.
“Throughout the past several years, the University has made important progress in linking the ‘mind, body and spirit’ of our students by developing programming and physical infrastructure that emphasizes health and well-being.”
NSHE is sending mixed messages to the public by taking these “sin tax” dollars, and then banning the products from their campuses. What this policy is really doing is taking away peoples personal freedoms and their right to make a choice for themselves.
Recently CNN reported on another very controversial program that also infringes on our rights, the Civil Asset Forfeiture. The program was started in the 1980’s, and was intended to allow authorities to take money they believed was connected to crimes. It has since developed into a convoluted way for law enforcers to rob drivers without ever charging them of a crime.
Humboldt County Sheriff, Lee Dove, has reportedly been responsible for more than a dozen cash seizures in 2014. The sheriff is so proud of his cash seizures that he has even gone as far as to start signing autographs of himself with his K-9 dog and a few bundles of money. Not only are these officers not being punished, but in some ways they are encouraged to seize money because the department gets to keep 25% of the reported amount seized to use as they see fit. This includes buying new cars, throwing office parties, paying for building maintenance, and anything else they can dream up.
You can see the whole story here.
One of the bills I’ve cosponsored deals with this issue. SB138 will establish a standard procedure for use of property obtained in a seizure. I believe creating a uniform policy for law enforcement to follow will ensure that the few bad seeds out there do not find loopholes to take advantage of innocent people.
Tune in Saturday 9am-10am on KDWN 720 for “Walk the Talk with Michele Fiore”. Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton, her Policy Director and husband Tony Shelton and one of my policy directors, Brian Wilson will be joining me. This week we are taking a deeper look at these issues, bringing some heated discussions to the table and asking some important questions that affect you, the taxpayers of Nevada. Why are bad law enforcement officers not punished? How should Reno spend its $11 million surplus? Is it right for companies to capitalize on someone who is going through a financial rough patch? You won’t want to miss this exciting show!
With only 32 days left in the regular session I am more dedicated than ever to protecting Nevadans from bad legislation, and standing behind the values I was voted into office with.
Fiore is the Republican representative for Assembly District 4 in Las Vegas and also the Chairman of the Assembly Policy Committee. You can reach her at Michele.Fiore@asm.state.nv.us.