In November, Nevadans entrusted Republicans with historic majorities in the Assembly and the state Senate, and re-elected Gov. Brian Sandoval with more than 70 percent of the vote. The Legislature has reached the deadline of first house passage, and we have accomplished much.
You sent us to Carson City to work together, both Democrats and Republicans, to make Nevada as strong as it can be — and we are doing just that. To date, the Nevada Senate has passed landmark legislation to reform the way we teach our kids, to reform and modernize state government and to strengthen laws protecting women.
Equal pay for equal work is an issue that affects all Nevada families. Senate Republicans and Democrats worked together to support a bipartisan bill that allows the Nevada Equal Rights Commission to award up to three years of back pay to victims of discrimination. Also, we worked together to craft a bipartisan bill to keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers. Protecting women from workplace discrimination and domestic abuse has been a top priority, and I am proud of our results.
In addition, as stewards of the public trust, we realize you deserve an open and transparent government. We have passed legislation that increases transparency in local government collective bargaining agreements; bans gifts from lobbyists to legislators; and makes structural changes to our public retirement system that will save billions of dollars in taxpayer money. While we realize that government should be small and efficient, it should also be responsive to those who need it most. That is why we worked with small businesses to find common ground and pass a minimum wage increase for those workers who need it most.
Finally, we have worked hand-in-hand with Gov. Sandoval to pass legislation that will transform our education system into a model for the country. Our diverse and growing student population has many needs. The Senate Education Committee has passed legislation that ends social promotion and ensures our children can read by grade three. We are reducing class sizes by passing legislation that enables school districts to build more schools at a lower cost to taxpayers. This will get our children out of portable trailers and into classrooms. Also, we realize that lower- and middle-class families want to send their children to the best schools but many times, financial restraints make this impossible. That is why we passed an opportunity scholarship bill that allows lower- and middle-income families to receive a scholarship for their child to attend a school that may best meet their educational needs. This bill has been signed into law, and Nevada families will be able to take advantage of it next school year.
And while we continue to debate about how best to fund additional necessary improvements in our schools, a majority of us stand together to pass further reforms and revenues designed to prepare our schools for the new Nevada. We will not leave until the job is done.
Gov. Sandoval laid out a bold agenda in his State of the State address about his vision for a “New Nevada.” I share his belief that we must do our level best this session to enact reforms that make Nevada a better place for everyone to live. Nevada families expect their representatives to work together, and while that doesn’t often happen in Washington, D.C., in Carson City, Democrats and Republicans are determined to find solutions.
During the remaining weeks of the legislative session, I pledge to you our continued commitment to improving the lives of Nevadans and to ensure our children have a world-class education system. You deserve nothing less than our best effort.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson represents Henderson’s District 20.
By: Michael Roberson – April 28, 2015