Background Check Initiative

The Background Check Initiative is a common-sense proposal that will close loopholes in Nevada law that make it all too easy for felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill to buy guns. We have the right to bear arms, but with rights come responsibilities. The Background Check Initiative will improve public safety in Nevada by requiring background checks for all gun sales, with reasonable exceptions for family, hunting, and self-defense.

VoteYes

This November, Nevadans will vote on Question 1, the Background Check Initiative
Current federal law requires criminal background checks on gun sales at licensed dealers.
However, no background check is required in the unlicensed sales conducted online, at gun
shows, or even between strangers in parking lots. These sales typically occur with no
background check, no questions asked – and thus, make it far too easy for criminals to get
guns.

Background Checks Save Lives
91 Americans lose their lives every day to gun violence. There is no single solution to the
gun violence crisis facing our country, but we should do everything we can and the fact is,
background checks help save lives.

In the 18 states that have enacted comprehensive background checks:

  • 46 percent fewer women are shot and killed by intimate partners
  • 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are killed with handguns
  • 48 percent fewer people commit suicide with guns

About the Campaign
Since 2014 supporters and volunteers have been preparing for the Background Check
Initiative to ensure a victory. In order to qualify for the ballot, over 250,000 Nevadans
signed their names, breaking records in Nevada for most signatures gathered.

Today the campaign has thousands of volunteers and donors from across the state, and an
advisory board of over 50 Nevadans including faith leaders, business owners, veterans and
law enforcement officers.

  • Nevadans for Background Checks Endorsements
  • Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers
  • Service Employees International Union of Nevada (SEIU)
  • Nevada State Education Association (NSEA)
  • Nevada State Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  • The Council for a Better Nevada
  • The Fraternal Order of Police

We count among our proud and active supporters moms, veterans, doctors, survivors of
gun violence, gun owners and NRA members, and Nevadans from all walks of life who are
committed to creating safer communities and helping to save lives. Please learn more and
join us at www.SafeNevada.org.

NV Secretary of State’s Office Certifies Sufficiency of 3 Petitions

(Carson City, NV; July 12, 2016) – Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, in her capacity as Nevada’s chief elections officer, today certified that the petitions returned for The Energy Choice Initiative, Medical Patient Tax Relief Act, and Referendum on Certain Provisions Related to Net Metering Set Forth in 2015 Statutes of Nevada, Chapter 379 are sufficient and will appear on the 2016 general election ballot. In addition, pursuant to NAC 293.090, Secretary of State Cegavske has designated the three petitions as Question Number 3, Question Number 4, and Question Number 5, respectively. A legal challenge against Question Number 5 (the net metering referendum) is still pending before the Nevada Supreme Court.

PetitionPetitioners were required to collect and submit 55,234 valid signatures from registered Nevada voters, including at least 13,809 signatures in each of the four petition districts, for each petition. Only registered voters of the county and petition district where the petition Initiats were circulated were qualified to sign the petitions. The breakdown of the signature examinations conducted by the local election officials can be found by clicking on the following links:

The text and status of various initiatives and referendum being proposed for the 2016 general election can be found in the “Election Center” of the Nevada Secretary of State’s website, www.nvsos.gov, or by clicking here.

The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office will now be appointing people to serve on ballot question committees and develop the arguments for and against all three ballot questions. These arguments, as well as other relevant information, will be printed in the sample ballots delivered to all registered voters before the general election on November 8, 2016.

New Protections: A Big Deal for Retirement Security : U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Are you worried about having enough money in retirement? You have a lot of company if you are. And like most people, you probably want to make good decisions about your retirement money, and would …

Source: New Protections: A Big Deal for Retirement Security : U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Do You Need A Reason to Vote for Catherine Cortez Masto?

Do you need a reason to get off your couch and head to the polls this fall to cast your vote for Catherine Cortez Masto for U.S. Senate?  Well here’s a good one:

Mitch McConnell told Fox News that he believes the NRA must approve of our next US Supreme Court justice nominee to receive any consideration by a Republican Senate.  The NRA disapproves of Judge Garland’s nomination, therefore, the current Republican majority will not allow his nomination to be brought to the Senate floor for a vote on confirmation.

This utter nonsense has to end.  We need to take the Senate back!  To do that, we need to make sure that Catherine Cortez Masto is elected to replace retiring Senator Harry Reid.  We cannot allow Republican Joe Heck to become Nevada’s next Senator and allow him to rubber stamp replacement of potentially FOUR retiring Supreme Court justices with “Scalia clones.”

Congress Passes Puerto Rico Debt Legislation, President Obama Signs Sill into Law

Puerto-Rico-Flag-Crest-Clip-Art_3Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) into law, just one day before the July 1st deadline where Puerto Rico is expected to default on $2 billion of debt, including $800 million of Constitutionally backed general obligation debt.

Watch bill signing on C-SPAN.

Under Puerto Rico’s Constitution, these Constitutionally backed general obligation debts should receive priority over government resources, including those needed to keep hospitals and schools open. Earlier this month, U.S. hedge funds filed law suits against a local debt-moratorium law to ensure that they received priority, suggesting future lawsuits if Congress did not intervene.

PROMESA is the result of bipartisan compromises, Congressional leadership support, and the backing of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The bill passed the House on June 9th by 297-127 vote [voting AYE: Amodei and Titus; voting NAY:  Heck and Hardy]  and passed the Senate this Wednesday with a vote of 68-30 [voting YEA: Reid; Voting NAY: Heller]. Senate approval was uncertain due to the unexpected early House recess, forcing the Senate to adopt the bill as is because amendments would have necessitated a House vote after the July 1st deadline.

What Will PROMESA Do?
Although PROMESA was passed before July 1st, Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Puerto Rico does not have the money nor time to meet the debt payments due today.

Though PROMESA will not help Puerto Rico make today’s $2 billion debt payment, it will prevent lawsuits from creditors, create a financial oversight board that will control Puerto Rico’s budget and can reorder the priority of creditors, and allow federal minimum wage to be lowered to $4.25 for workers under 24 years old. The oversight board will operate independently of the Puerto Rican government and restructure its finances, similar to the oversight boards created in Detroit and New York City. Additionally, PROMESA prevents a taxpayer bailout of Puerto Rico’s debt.

IRS Opens Up Form 990 Data, Ushering Nonprofit Sector into the Age of Transparency

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Making meaningful improvements to how the federal government uses the internet can take years, new laws, regulations, demonstration projects, testimony and dogged persistence by public interest advocates and reformers in the pursuit of change. Then, all at once, a dam breaks and a new resource blossoms into a commons online. June 15, 2016 was such a day, when the IRS has begun publishing electronic nonprofit tax returns online in a machine-readable format on Amazon Web Services.

Sunlight has long held that nonprofit e-file data should be open. Now it is.

“This is a huge victory for the IRS,” open government advocate Carl Malamud said in an email. “The service stepped up to the plate and has squarely faced the issue of privacy breaches in public nonprofit returns and are now releasing machine-processable XML data for those returns. This is a huge release: 1.4 million e-file returns dating back to 2011 available for free and a commitment to update the data store on a monthly basis.”

Over the past decade, however, the IRS has not embraced publishing the tax returns of charities — called Form 990s — as open data with joy and enthusiasm, despite the clear value of opening the $1.6 trillion nonprofit sector to transparency and innovation. In fact, Malamud had to win a federal lawsuit to get the tax agency to do what it should have been doing anyway.

After a federal court ordered the IRS to disclose Form 990s as open data in 2015, however, the agency subsequently announced that it would begin working to release all of the data from electronically filed nonprofit tax returns available in a machine-readable format online by early 2016.

In the months since, the agency has worked diligently to ensure that the privacy issues Malamud had found in the millions of files the IRS disclosed to Public.Resource.org. As of June 2016, the public can now access Form 990 data on Amazon Web Services for free. Notably, the datasets are hosted in Amazon’s public cloud instead of IRS.gov, offloading demand to a private sector company that’s become a global leader in hosting apps, services and data.

It’s also worth noting that this release also fulfills an element of one of the commitments in the third U.S. National Action Plan for Open Government, modernizing administration of the Freedom of Information Act, to “Proactively Release Nonprofit Tax Filings.”

Tax filings for nonprofit organizations contain data that is legally required to be publicly released. Accessing the filings generally requires a request from the public, which can include a FOIA request, and results in more than 40 million pages provided in a non-machine-readable format. The Internal Revenue Service will launch a new process that will remove personally identifiable information before releasing the public information within electronically filed nonprofit tax filings. The electronically filed tax filings will be released as open, machine- readable data, allowing the public to review the finances and other information of more than 340,000 American nonprofit and charitable organizations.

In our correspondence, Malamud hailed the work of many others to bring this moment to pass, from professor Beth Noveck, the former director of the White House Open Government Initiative who co-authored “Information for Impact: Liberating Nonprofit Sector Data,” to the pro bono work of Thomas R. Burke of Davis Wright Tremaine on the FOIA lawsuit, to the work of Scott Klein’s team on ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer and the Internet Archive.

“Nonprofit tax returns contain tremendous amounts of information about the activities of this important sector of our economy,” Noveck said via email. She continued:

With the raw data of nonprofit tax returns, it will become possible, for example, to see who is providing social services to whom and where and more easily spot the overlaps and gaps so that government and the social sector know where more investment is needed. It will become possible to build the tools to spot waste, fraud and abuse more easily than we can today. There’s rich and useful information, which can be visualized to help donors know more about where to give. When the sector itself has better business intelligence about its own activities, it can operate more effectively.

Many thanks to everyone who has collaborated to help bring the IRS further into the 21st century, not least the staff at the agency who we need to be trustworthy stewards of our private data. Protecting privacy when releasing open data is essential, and we commend the nation’s tax collector and regulator for its due diligence.

This is far from the first time Malamud’s determined efforts has led to a watershed in useful government data going online. Back in 1993, he used a grant from the National Science Foundation to obtain and publish Securities and Exchange Commission data online. In 1995, the SEC decided to publish the data itself. Two decades later, Malamud spent years buying, processing and publishing millions of nonprofit tax filings, converting scanned images and then making the bulk data available to the public.

“This is exactly analogous to the SEC and the EDGAR database,” Malamud said in an phone interview in 2013. “If you make the data available, you will get innovation.”

I expect that to be the case, given the track record of his predictions. For instance, journalists, auditors and congressional investigators will now be able to analyze the data to look for trends and patterns, finding and flagging issues. It’s also going to empower officials and watchdogs to track and reveal influence in the nonprofit world.

“This is useful information to track nonprofits,” Malamud said. “A state attorney general could just search for all executives that received loans from their employer.

More broadly, opening Form 990 data will not only improve how services like Guidestar and Charity Navigator work, but also provide the public with more equitable access and insight insight into how well their donations are being spent.

“My hope is that this will enable us to grow the nonprofit sector by enabling people to target their donations, to help the sector know better whom to serve and how, and, ultimately, to help the people who are the recipients of the good works of those in nonprofit organizations,” said Noveck.


CC-BY-SAThis work by Sunlight Foundation, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Save the Date for Gun Violence Prevention

by Holly Scala, Northern Nevada Gun Violence Prevention Organizer, Battle Born Progress 

HollyScalaHi!  My name is Holly Scala, and I am so pleased to introduce myself as the new Northern Nevada Gun Violence Prevention Organizer! I am so honored and excited to be joining Battle Born Progress and be a part of such a forward-thinking organization.

I recently graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, where I majored in International Affairs and Philosophy, and completed a minor in Holocaust, Genocide and Peace Studies. During college I worked for the Tutoring Center on campus as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for a philosophy course, and subsequently as a Senior Supplemental Instruction Leader, in which I got to manage a group of seven other Supplemental Instruction Leaders as well as contribute to the expansion of the Supplemental Instruction Program itself. My time in college heavily fueled my passion for studying political violence and non-violent resistance movements and solutions. Hence, coming into this position is literally a dream come true.

I am a Reno, Nevada native and, aside from the year that I spent living as an exchange student in Bonn, Germany, I have lived here all of my life. I am head over heels with Nevada, especially the Reno-Tahoe area, due to its immense natural beauty and the special kind of people that live in our pretty state. All other waking hours of my life are spent playing guitar or running silly amounts of miles throughout Nevada’s beautiful trails.

Join me in Reno on July 13th at 6:00 p.m. for a get-together to learn more about me and the work we are going to be doing in Northern Nevada. RSVP with me for the location: hscala@battlebornprogress.org

I am so thankful and pumped up to be joining this amazing team, and I look forward to working with you all and seeing how much of a better place we can make our state within the upcoming months!

Another Exercise in Wasting One’s Time

Quite some time ago now, I sat down at my computer and composed a letter to my Representative in Congress. Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV2).  I have no clue why I continue to waste my time, as (1) I don’t believe Mr. Amodei ever bothers to read what I write, (2) some staffer who clearly hasn’t read nor understand what I’ve written selects some canned statement that in no way speaks to the concern I’ve taken MY precious time to communicate, and (3) whoever sends the response must believe females are incapable of writing a letter (even though I check  the “MS.” box on his email my office webform) because they almost always get my gender wrong (today’s email just used M. as though I must have no gender whatsoever) ….. but then, I digress …..

As I started to say, I took the time to write to Mr. Amodei asking him to support the new FCC rules designed to protect the net neutrality of ordinary consumers of the internet.  Those rules are designed to ensure that the relatively few big telecom corporations are not allowed to create fast lanes for their favored few, slow lanes for most others and relatively no lanes whatsoever for even others.

NetNeutrality

Video Explanation:
https://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000003569336

Since I wrote my letter, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit,  in a 2-to-1 decision from a three-judge panel on June 14,  upheld the F.C.C. rules declaring broadband as a utility.  Clearly, Rep. Mark Amodei’s staff must not have read that New York Times article announcing the ruling, because today, I got this email from his office which clearly indicates HE thinks the FCC rules of regulatory overreach.

NetNeutrality

I’d love to be able to “connect” with my Congressman on Facebook or Twitter, but that’s NOT possible as he’s blocked me from being able to follow him on Twitter and block me from commenting on his Facebook content.  I guess we’ll have to just disagree yet again, just as we disagree regarding the collection of sales taxes on internet sales. Sales taxes support our local community infrastructure. Failure to have a mechanism in place, to ensure they’re collected on all internet sales, means local merchants are left at competitive disadvantage and our community infrastructure suffers when those taxes aren’t collected and remitted. But that was another letter, on a previous day, where we achieved no meeting of the minds, and Rep. Amodei sided with his corporate benefactors, and not his  constituents.

There is, however, hope on the horizon. We have a strong Democratic candidate on the ticket this fall — Chip Evans. He could use our help. I’ve “chipped in” to help Chip become the first Democrat to ever hold the CD2 seat. I certainly hope you’ll do the same so we can bring a progressive candidate to the US House from Nevada’s Congressional District 2.


On April 16, Rep. Amodei voted “AYE” for passage of H.Res 672 dealing with this issue:

Resolved, That at any time after adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2666) to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from regulating the rates charged for broadband Internet access service. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. It shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on Energy and Commerce now printed in the bill. The committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. All points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. No amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution. Each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the House or in the Committee of the Whole. All points of order against such amendments are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. Any Member may demand a separate vote in the House on any amendment adopted in the Committee of the Whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions.


On 4/15/2016. Rep. Amodei voted “AYE” for passage of HR 2666.  While this bill has been passed by the U.S. House, it has not yet been set for a vote in the U.S. Senate.

Summary of HR 2666:

No Rate Regulation of Broadband Internet Access Act

(Sec. 2) This bill prohibits the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from regulating the rates charged for broadband Internet access service.

(Sec. 3) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to affect the FCC’s authority to: (1) condition receipt of universal service support by a provider of broadband Internet access service on the regulation of the rates charged by such provider for the supported service, or (2) enforce regulations relating to truth-in-billing requirements or paid prioritization.

(Sec. 4) Broadband Internet access service shall not be construed to include data roaming or interconnection for purposes of this Act.