October 24, 2018

Ballot Measures: Nevada

Nevada Early Voting runs from October 20 to November 2

by Chris Thomas

Photo by William Recinos

Nevada has six ballot measures for its voters to consider this year. While issues related to taxation and energy make up the majority of these, Question 5 changes the rules for voter registration and could impact future elections.

Elections etc…

Question 5

If approved, Question 5 will institute automatic, opt-out voter-registration when citizens apply for IDs or changes of address with the DMV.

Impact: Moderate — Automatic registration leads to more accurate voter roles, lowers costs, and may boost turnout in elections. Studies suggest that it especially boosts participation among young people.
Support: Democratic — Every Republican in Nevada voted against the measure and Gov Sandoval (R) vetoed it as legislation, which is why it’s on the ballot.

Other Questions…

Question 1

If approved, Question 1 would instate “Marsy’s Law,” which is a collection of “rights of the victim” not previously recognized in the Nevada Constitution.

Impact: Low — Nevada is one of six states considering Marsy’s law this year and the law faces significant judicial challenges as it risks conflict with the 6th amendment.
Support: Unanimous — All members of both houses of the Nevada Legislature voted in support of Question 1.

Question 2

If approved, Question 2 would exempt feminine hygiene products from state and local sales taxes.

Impact: Low — This neither costs the state much money nor changes life very much for the women of Nevada; it’s literally the least the state can do.
Support: Bipartisan — All but three members of the Nevada State Assembly voted for Question 2.

Andrew Smith

Question 3

Right now Nevada’s electrical needs are met by a state sanctioned monopolies, most especially by NV Energy, a Berkshire Hathaway company. Question 3, if passed, would open up Nevada’s power generation market to competition. This kind of deregulation can be great for an investment in renewable power but it’s also what made it possible for Enron to plunge millions of Californians into darkness and swindle the state out of tens of billions of dollars.

Impact: **Unclear **— The actual implementation of Question 3 would fall to the Nevada legislature after the measure is passed.
Support: **Divided **— Democrats and Republicans are divided on Question 3. The question makes for odd political bedfellows: Harry Reid (D) and Walmart support the measure while both Teamsters and Warren Buffet’s NV Energy oppose it.

John Rogers

Question 4

If passed, Question 4 would make certain medical equipment, especially equipment for people who are on oxygen, constitutionally exempt from sales tax.

Impact: Minor — The legislature can already pass these exemptions and the hit to Nevada finances is not likely to be significant.
Support: Special Interest — The amendment was filed by Douglas Bennett, who owns a medical services company and very little has been said about the issue since then.

Question 6

If passed, Question 6 would require Nevada’s electrical distribution utilities to get 50% of their energy from renewables by 2030. Under current law, Nevada mandates 25% renewable energy by 2030 (and 20% today).

Impact: Low — The plummeting price of solar energy makes it very likely that market pressures will drive up renewable energy use much faster than Question 6 will.
Support: Varied — A minority of Republicans calling themselves the “Coalition of Energy Users” oppose Question 6 but pretty much everyone else seems to be for it.

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