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The REAL Difference Between Vouchers and ESAs

Contrary to what the teachers’ unions and others who are scared to death of losing their political clout, ESAs are NOT vouchers.  They are the best way to give parents — the people who should be directing the education of their children — the most control over that education.  Please read the excellent analysis below.

Quoted from “…a Phoenix group is working to get a measure on this November’s ballot that, if approved by voters, would kill recently enacted legislation supported by Gov. Doug Ducey (R) that would bring about “private school voucher expansion.” According to the report, Ducey’s law will give Arizona “one of the broadest voucher programs in the nation.”

“The problem with that story is the program discussed has nothing to do with vouchers; it is a law that expands the availability of education savings accounts (ESAs).

“For clarification, here is brief primer paraphrasing an excellent up-to-date guide on the subject, “The ABCs of School Choice” (2017 edition), available for free at A voucher is a piece of paper parents can present to a participating private school, religious or non-religious, to pay partial or full tuition for their child with the aid of public funding. An ESA is a publicly funded account from which parents can draw (typically using a debit card) to pay for a variety of educational expenses for their child.

“The difference is much more profound than paper or plastic. A voucher provides entrée to a private school. That’s it. By contrast, the ESA empowers parents to use a significant portion (usually 90 percent) of their child’s per-pupil share of state funding to select from a wide range of permitted educational services—not just tuition, but the likes of online instruction, therapies, community college classes, tutoring, dual enrollment, and other state-approved customized services.

“In short, vouchers are about selection of a school, and ESAs are designed to provide educational choice in full measure. They have the potential to revolutionize education by putting parents completely in charge. That no doubt terrifies the teachers unions and other entrenched special interests within the education establishment. Currently, only about 11,000 children nationally are able to benefit from ESAs, but the number of states setting up such programs (five since 2011, with numerous others under legislative consideration) is growing.”

“….Sure enough, in a 2013 decision (Niehaus v. Huppenthal) the state Supreme Court let stand, an appellate court held that an ESA is not impermissibly aiding private or sectarian schools because “none of the ESA funds were pre-ordained for a particular destination.”

From Who’s Afraid of the Demonized ‘V-Word’ in Education?
by Robert Holland |Posted: May 30, 2017 11:55 AM

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ESA in trouble! Only a few days left in 2017 session!

The fight over Education Savings Accounts (ESA) passed in 2015 may result in an extended session of the Nevada Legislature.  After meeting on Monday, a compromise acceptable to both sides seemed in the offing, until the Democrat majority introduced amendments that queered the deal.  The Republican minority in the State Senate walked out of session rather than vote on a budget bill that did not included funding for ESAs.

The Democrat majority is flexing its muscles and spitting in the collective eye of Nevada taxpayers by their disingenuous actions on this bill.  One unnamed legislator actually told a concerned parent that “payback is a bitch.”  Imagine that.  They are proving, once again, that they are all about power and control and could care less about what is good for Nevada taxpayers and families.  Oddly, negotiated funding for the ESA program depended on a tax on medical marijuana and that’s where things got interesting“…a short-notice hearing Monday and Thursday’s pot vote look like efforts by Frierson and Ford to undermine negotiating sessions that had been too successful….To politicize it further, Ford brought the Senate back into session without Republicans present and proceeded to pass the education budget. One insider told me that maneuver went far beyond typical end-of-session posturing and showed Democrats had made it about politics, not policy.” (Victor Joecks writing in the Review-Journal)

The Nevada Policy Research Institute ( is leading the effort to educate the public about ESAs.  Learn how you can make your voice heard in the last days of the legislative session:  Links to all of the key legislators are on that page.  Write them, and don’t forget to tell the Governor how you feel!

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Trump’s proposed budget could revive Yucca Mountain

After almost two decades and billions of taxpayer dollars, Yucca Mountain may get another chance.  President Donald Trump’s budget proposal includes $120 million to restart licensing for the project.  Fifteen billion dollars were spent to build the repository, but the cost doesn’t stop there.  For 34 years, the government has been collecting fees from the nuclear power utilities to pay for storage of their waste at the facility.  This money would have to be returned if Yucca Mountain is closed for good.  In 2013, the estimate of the cost of inaction was estimated to be $23 billion.  The State of Texas has filed suit against the Federal Government for its failure to provide nuclear waste facilities, specifically Yucca Mountain.

From Wikipedia: The project was approved in 2002 by the United States Congress, but Federal funding for the site ended in 2011 under the Obama Administration via amendment to the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, passed on April 14, 2011.[2] The project has had many difficulties and was highly contested by the general public, the Western Shoshone peoples, and many politicians.[3] The Government Accountability Office stated that the closure was for political, not technical or safety reasons.[2]

This leaves the US government and utilities without any designated long-term storage site for the high-level radioactive waste stored on-site at various nuclear facilities around the country. The US government disposes of transuranic waste at WIPP in New Mexico, in rooms 2,150 feet (660 m) underground.[4]

The Department of Energy (DOE) is reviewing other options for a high-level waste repository and the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, established by the Secretary of Energy, released its final report in January 2012. It expressed urgency to find a consolidated, geological repository, and said that any future facility should be developed by a new independent organization with direct access to the Nuclear Waste Fund, which is not subject to political and financial control as is the cabinet department of the Department of Energy.[5] In the meantime, most nuclear power plants in the United States have resorted to the indefinite on-site dry cask storage of waste in nearly impervious steel and concrete casks.[6]

Former Senator Harry Reid was the biggest obstacle to Yucca Mountain: On July 18, 2006 the DOE proposed March 31, 2017 as the date to open the facility and begin accepting waste based on full funding. On September 8, 2006 Ward (Edward) Sproat, a nuclear industry executive formerly of PECO energy in Pennsylvania, was nominated by President Bush to lead the Yucca Mountain Project. Following the 2006 mid-term Congressional elections, Democratic Nevada Senator Harry Reid, a longtime opponent of the repository, became the Senate Majority Leader, putting him in a position to greatly affect the future of the project. Reid has said that he would continue to work to block completion of the project, and is quoted as having said: “Yucca Mountain is dead. It’ll never happen.”[13]

Sorry, Harry.  Maybe it’s not dead after all.

More background reading here.


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Testimony Against AB43

On behalf of the Las Vegas Valley Tea Party, NevadansCAN, and myself, I testified before the Taxation Committee in opposition to AB43 on Thursday, March 9, because I believe Nevada’s counties should economize and do more with less, not pay for their inflated budgets on the backs of hardworking and retired homeowners.  Government should learn to live within its means and stop punishing the rest of the populace because they have made very disadvantageous agreements with public sector labor unions.  This situation is unsustainable and must be reversed.

See our testimony on YouTube.

Download the letter written to the Committee Members: Opposition Letter March 13, 2017.

AB43 – Joecks: Stability is guise for ever-increasing property taxes

Thursday’s legislative hearing on property tax increases showed exactly why you can’t trust politicians.

Local governments are desperate to raise your property taxes, and to do that, the Nevada Association of Counties has proposed AB43. It would create a path to set the floor on property tax increases at 3 percent a year. This year, the cap limited property tax increases in Clark County to double the rate of inflation. Because inflation was 0.1 percent, the cap limited your property tax increases to 0.2 percent.

Instead of telling the public that AB43 will increase your property taxes by eventually raising the floor to 3 percent, “stability” was the word of the hearing.

“This is about stability,” said Jeff Fontaine, executive director of Nevada Association of Counties. “This is about fixing a broken system. This is not again about creating a windfall by getting new revenues for counties or other local government.”

 “This is not raising, but keeping stable,” said Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas.

“We’re actually just providing stability so we can plan around our needs, our goals. We may not get growth, but we will get stability,” said Assembly Tax Chairwoman Dina Neal, D-North Las Vegas.

 Merriam-Webster’s defines stable as “firmly established” and “not changing or fluctuating.” For a homeowner, a “stable” property tax bill would mean paying $1,000 last year and $1,000 this year. If politicians really wanted “stability” they’d propose setting the floor and ceiling at zero percent.

Boom. Complete stability. Read more

Joecks – No Civil Right to “Free” Birth Control

We’ve been misreading the Declaration of Independence for centuries. Turns out it says people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and birth control someone else pays for.”

That’s the impression supporters of AB249 and SB233 left after testifying Monday. Both bills would require that all Nevada insurance companies provide birth control with no co-pays or other point-of-delivery costs. Supporters lavishly praised those mandates.

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IP1 Update – Automatic Voter Registration at DMV

Senate committee to vote on DMV registration proposal



CARSON CITY — Supporters of a measure to automatically submit voter registration applications when people conduct certain transactions at the Department of Motor Vehicles said the change would modernize Nevada’s election system and make registering to vote easier.

But others raised potential conflicts with the Automatic Voter Registration Initiative, or IP1, should a person “opt out” of registering but then fill out the application.

During testimony Monday before the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections, Nevada DMV Director Terri Albertson questioned whether IP1 conflicts with federal law. Federal law gives a person the option to register to vote at DMV offices, while IP1 automatically sends information to election officials unless someone specifically declines.

But Kevin Powers, constitutional lawyer for the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said the state measure is not prohibited under federal law.

State Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas and chairwoman of the committee, scheduled a vote on the measure Wednesday. It would then go to the Senate floor.

The measure would amend Nevada law to require the Department of Motor Vehicles to transmit information to the secretary of state’s office and county clerks to register people who obtain, renew or change an address on a driver’s license or identification card.

People would have to “opt out” of registering by checking a box saying they do not want to register to vote.

Proponents last year gathered enough signatures to send the initiative to lawmakers, who have 40 days to act or it automatically will be on the 2018 ballot.

It passed the Assembly on a 27-15 party-line vote, and passage by the Senate is expected. It would then go to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, whose actions will be key.

If Sandoval signs it, the measure will take effect Jan. 1 and could significantly increase the number of registered voters in Nevada before the 2018 election. If Sandoval vetoes it, it’s unlikely the Democratic majority in each house could muster the two-thirds required for an override.

In that case, it would not become a factor until the 2020 election, provided it is approved by voters next year.

Contact Sandra Chereb at or 775-461-3821. Follow@SandraChereb on Twitter.

Guest Article: Legislative Alert – SB210 for Wed., 3/8/17

by Annette Teijeiro, M.D.

We really need to pack the room at Grant Sawyer State Building on Wednesday at 8am in room 4412E if we want to keep a doctor at our side throughout surgery! SB210 if passed will replace our current anesthesiologists at the head of our surgery bed with assistants! We will not have our exclusive anesthesiologists 100% with us like we do now and we will still pay the same price for anesthesia services.

For those of you doing the math, a supervising anesthesiologist will collect the fees for up to 4 patients simultaneously, pay a small salary to the assistants and more than double his income without being at your side 100% in the surgery.

Make no mistake, we will lose anesthesiologists (doctors) as these assistants displace them. Why is that important? Surgical complications happen in seconds. Anesthesiologists have less than 4 minutes sometimes to save your life. If the assistant calls in an anesthesiologist and the anesthesiologist is just 5 minutes away, it may be fatal for the patient. Anesthesiologists can also take care of patients on a breathing machine, take care of women during baby deliveries for labor pain/emergency c-sections, treat challenging pain patients, place lifesaving invasive monitoring equipment in intensive care and treat chronic pain. Why would we want to lose our doctors?

In a state that has the highest standard of care in anesthesia but not in other areas, why would we want to pay more, get less and place ourselves and/or our loved ones at risk when unconscious? Think of Sunrise and UMC Trauma emergencies and 4 patients having assistants but sharing just one anesthesiologist. Anesthesia care is high risk care and there is no room for errors, delays or marginal care.

We have been successful in the past in keeping our doctors when we show up to oppose this bill so come and be victorious again!

Annette Teijeiro, M.D. is a Nevada licenced medical doctor (anesthesiologist) since 1993. Her family has lived in Nevada for over 41 years. After going to medical school in Nevada, she did her residency in the state of Washington at the world renowned University of Washington Anesthesia Department. She has been reviewing legislation that impacts our healthcare for over 17 years as a volunteer citizen/patient advocate. She is currently a member of Patient Advocates United for Safety & Excellence, a nonprofit giving our most vulnerable Nevadans a voice to counter profit driven Special Interests.

Legislature prepares for another land battle – LVRJ

Lawmakers revive debate over transferring federal acres to state jurisdiction



CARSON CITY— The decades-long battle over federal ownership of nearly 110,000 square miles of Nevada is about to be reengaged at the Nevada Legislature.

With about 85 percent of those acres under control of a variety of federal agencies — primarily the U.S. Bureau of Land Management — some Nevada political leaders want a transfer of as many as 7 million acres to state control in a first phase that could eventually see large tracts of land become state lands.

Economic development is the primary driver for the introduction of Senate Joint Resolution 7, but some proponents see it as the first step in a state takeover of much of the federal public land in Nevada.

U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., had a land transfer bill introduced in Congress in the last term, and though it died, the issue could come up again in this session. Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has supported a transfer of some federal lands, as has U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

R-J Editorial

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Related reading

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March 4 Trump in Las Vegas

Editor’s note: March 4 Trump gets very little press; more attention is paid in the media to anti-Trump demonstrators.  Attendees at Saturday’s rally said more than 200 people showed up, not the “handful” referenced in the R-J story.  The photo below was contributed by Julie Hereford, and not published in the newspaper.

Pro-Trump demonstrators rally

outside Las Vegas hotel

Demonstrators showed their support for President Donald Trump with a rally Saturday outside the Las Vegas hotel that bears his name.

Trump supporters rally in front of Trump International Hotel on Saturday, March 4

Trump supporters gathered at noon at Trump International, 2000 Fashion Show Drive, near the Strip, as part of a nationwide movement with one purpose: “Stop the fight. Let’s all unite.”

Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Grant Rogers didn’t have an estimated number of rally participants, but some estimates suggested 200 people turned out.

The nationwide rallies were coordinated by March4Trump, a grass-roots group started by Air Force veteran Vincent Haney.

 The movement was created to show support for Trump and “peacefully unite all people in honor of America,” Haney said last week when he announced plans for the rallies.

Rogers said a handful of Trump protesters were present at the Las Vegas rally.

No arrests were made and no citations given during the peaceful event, he said.

Review-Journal reporter Jessica Terrones contributed to this story.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

Note that all the related stories in the links published in the newspaper are anti-Trump
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