NRS 293.463 and Nevada Voters

The Desert Beacon put together a nice piece on Nevada’s voting regulations. Take a moment or two and take a read through her great article.

Desert Beacon

Ballot BoxWith all the recent discussion of vote suppression strategies and tactics emanating from the right wing of our national politics, there’s at least one aspect of the issue that isn’t getting much attention.  What is the economic impact of suggestions to curtail voting, especially those ideas put forward which would eliminate early voting, voting by mail, and other such concepts?

A Time and Distance Problem?

The crux of the issue for employers is that “Employees in Nevada are entitled to a sufficient period of time off to vote, without penalty, if there is not sufficient time outside working hours when the polls are open.”  [BizTK] The entire framework is set forth in NRS 293.463:

 NRS 293.463 Employees may absent themselves from employment to vote: Procedure; penalty. 1.Any registered voter may be absent from his or her place of employment at a time to be designated…

View original post 2,432 more words

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Advocacy: Tell Congress to Strengthen National Ocean Fish Law, Not Break It

A major threat to our nation’s fishing stocks is growing as Congress begins the process of reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act.

This Act, the principal law governing U.S. fishery management, has helped 34 fish populations recover from overfishing since 2000—bringing sustainable jobs to coastal communities.

Sadly, not everyone likes strong regulations. Many industrial fishing companies and some recreational fishing businesses would prefer to go back to a “flexible” application of the law, policies that existed in the 1980s and 90s, when many important fish stocks collapsed.

Representative Doc Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, recently circulated his proposal to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act that would:

  • Allow overfishing of depleted fish populations
  • Cripple the rebuilding of overfished stocks with loopholes and excuses for inaction
  • Reducing the role of science in setting annual catch limits
  • Exempt fisheries management from broader environmental review
  • Limit the public’s access to fishery data (even data collected with taxpayer dollars)

The committee now wants your reaction to Representative Hasting’s draft bill.

Our nation’s fishery management law has resulted in rebounding fish populations.  Tell Congress America’s ocean fish law is working.  Reauthorization should build on our success, not create loopholes for special interests.

Heller Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act

U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) yesterday announced that he is cosponsoring the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014. The bill, which was introduced by Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) yesterday, includes policies to enhance opportunities for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation. It would also make it easier for businesses involved in outdoor recreation to grow and hire.

The House of Representatives passed similar legislation this afternoon.

“Nevadans have a long history of hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and other activities. Outdoor recreation is an important economic driver in the Silver State, and this bipartisan legislation ensures continued opportunities. I appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in collaborating on this and look forward to working with my Senate colleagues in order to move the bill forward,” said Senator Dean Heller.

The bill has ten cosponsors: Senators Mark Begich (AK), John Boozman (AR), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (ND), Mary Landrieu (LA), Joe Manchin (WV), Rob Portman (OH), Mark Pryor (AR), Jon Tester (MT) and David Vitter (LA).

Measures Heller has previously supported included in the Sportsmen’s Act:

  • Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization (S.368) reauthorizes FLTFA, a program that enables the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell public land to private owners, counties, companies and others for ranching, community development and other projects. This “Land for Land” approach creates jobs and generates funding for Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Forest Service (USFS), National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (USFWS) to acquire critical in-holdings from willing sellers. Nevada has benefited from the FLTFA more than any other state, with over $88 million in BLM land sales and $35 million in Secretarial approvals for conservation projects since FLTFA’s enactment in 2000.
  • Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act (S.170) requires the BLM and the Forest Service to keep their lands open to hunting, recreational fishing, and shooting, and facilitate the use of and access to federal public lands and waters for these activities.
  • Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act (S.1212) enables states to allocate a greater proportion of federal funding to create and maintain shooting ranges on federal and non-federal lands. The bill also encourages federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain shooting ranges.

College Kickstart

by Kate Marshall, NV State Treasurer

KateMarshallIf you have not already heard the news, yesterday, I announced the statewide launch of Nevada’s College Kick Start program!

The Nevada College Kick Start program establishes $50 in a college savings account for every kindergarten child in Nevada’s public schools.  This year approximately 35,000 accounts will be opened with the goal of creating a college bound culture here in Nevada.

Studies have shown that children who have a college savings account in their name are 7 times more likely to attend an institution of higher learning. It is important to note that even a small account improves a child’s determination and preparedness for college and higher education, regardless of family income, ethnicity, or the educational attainment of the child’s parents.

The accounts (funded without tax payer dollars) will accrue interest for 13 years and can only be used for qualified higher education expenses at any institution in the United States.  The Nevada College Kickstart program will also encourage families to begin saving for college earlier rather than later.

According to The Future Ready Project,

“81% percent of U.S. jobs are middle- or high-skilled – and require at least some postsecondary education, be it a two-year or four-year degree, technical certification,  apprenticeship or another training program.”

Yet, only 30% of Nevadans have a postsecondary education according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce.

With the costs of a college education escalating it is important to reachout to Nevada’s hard working families and offer a path for their children’s future. Nevada families that open a college savings account are also eligible to receive matching funds up to $300 a year.

The Nevada College Kickstart is just one step in a series in our progress towards making Nevada a premier state to learn, live, and play.

Thank you for letting me take time to share with you this important program. And — if you would like to learn more here is the Washington Post write up on my program or visit collegekickstart.nv.gov

Dear Secretary John Kerry

As someone concerned with climate change, I want to thank you for your years of climate leadership as a Senator. As Secretary of State, you have the opportunity to have an even greater impact on combating climate change. One of the main ways you can do that now is by telling President Obama that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is not in our national interest and should be rejected.

Climate action starts at home, and one of the first and clearest actions you could take would be to recognize that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a climate issue. The evidence is clear that Keystone XL could increase production levels of tar sands oil in Alberta, and therefore significantly add to carbon emissions. Moreover, the massive investment would lock us into dependence on this dirty fuel for decades, exacerbating carbon pollution just when we have to move quickly and decisively in the other direction.

Beyond the effects on our climate, activities to remove those toxic materials have already had a serious impact on wildlife who call that area home.  Plus, the dangerous pipeline would put the water supply and the bread basket we use to feed millions of Americans at risk. After a year in which many communities across the USA were harmed by spills from existing pipelines, we cannot allow any more of the dirtiest, most toxic tar sands immersed in solvents that NO ONE knows how to clean up, to spill and permanently contaminate our farm lands, our aquifers and our waterways.

President Obama will have the final say on the Presidential Permit for Keystone XL, but your department, as the lead agency, will point the way. Although the State Department’s environmental impact statement underestimated the likelihood that Keystone XL pipeline would fuel climate change, you can set the record straight in your National Interest Determination.

At a minimum, you could say that Keystone XL is not in our national interest. But to be totally blunt, this pipeline would be an absolute disaster not only for our country, but also for our planet! Not only is there is no available “Planet B” within migrating distance, we have no viable means to get there even if there were a likely “Planet B.”

All we ask is that you get your facts right and support our fight against climate change in your decision on Keystone XL. We’re sure that once you have studied the issue carefully, you will see that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a significant climate issue, and must be stopped.


The final comment period is open for 30 days.  Send your own letter to Secretary Kerry asking him to “reject the Keystone XL pipeline.”

The NRCC Stoops to New Fraudulent Lows

The National Republican Congressional Committee is tricking would-be Democratic campaign donors into making donations to defeat the candidates they support — with Republican websites that look like they could easily be the campaign pages of Democratic candidates.  Unless site visitors read the fine print on the landing pages and the donation forms, it’s very easy to see how they could think these web sites were those of the Democratic candidates.

As ThinkProgress reported on Monday:

“Ray Bellamy of Florida says he was tricked by the page and accidentally made a donation to the NRCC. “It looked legitimate and had a smiling face of Sink and all the trappings of a legitimate site,” Bellamy told the Tampa Bay Times. The look-alike page uses the same colors as Florida candidate Alex Sink’s campaign, with the URL sinkrocongress2014.com. Once entering information, the person is redirected to an NRCC thank-you page.”

The NRCC launched the mock sites to target Democratic candidates they say are “frauds,” but if this is some sort of lame attempt at satire it’s way off the mark. It’s nothing more than a dirty trick and it’s reprehensible.

The NRCC is making a mockery of democracy and they’re swindling people.  As this year progresses, be extremely careful not to be duped by fraudulent activities committed by members of the Republican party.

NOTE: PFAW (People for the American Way) has started a petition demanding that the NRCC take down their fraudulent campaign sites AND refund any and all donations that have been received via those sites.  You can sign their petition here:

Sign-the-Petition-blu.fw

Start your own CREDO-style campaign

One year ago, CREDO decided to try something different. In January 2013, they beta launched CREDOMobilize.com — a digital campaign platform designed to put the power of grassroots organizing directly into the hands of folks like you.

The thinking behind the platform was based on a simple assumption: By providing CREDO’s millions of activists with digital campaign tools and hands-on help from CREDO staff, they’d be able to execute and win more campaigns for progressive change all around the country.  The results to date have been amazing! Together, in the past year, much has been accomplished. Thousands of progressive activist-led campaigns have generated more than 6 million petition signatures, leading to dozens of campaign victories nationwide.

Here are some highlights of what we have accomplished together in the past year on CREDOMobilize.com:

  • Thousands of CREDO activists have launched petitions — generating more than 6 million petition signatures on campaigns fighting to protect workers’ rights and holding big polluters accountable, among other issues.
  • Several of the most progressive U.S. senators and members of Congress — including Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Jeff Merkley, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Keith Ellison — have launched their own petitions.
  • Major media outlets including United Press International, the Washington Post, Today.com, the Huffington Post, CNN Money and the Guardian have cited and linked to CREDOMobilize.com petitions.
  • CREDO activists have won dozens of campaigns with CREDO Mobilize petitions, ranging from pressuring Pennsylvania Governor Corbett to stop withholding money from public schools to stopping the FEC from allowing the Tea Party Leadership Fund to hide its donors and expenditures.

While there have been many successes, work is only beginning. CREDO’s hoping you will build on this momentum by running your own campaign to fight for progressive change. Launching a petition on CREDOMobilize.com gives you the power to run a hard-hitting campaign that advances progressive priorities or holds politicians, corporations and public figures accountable for supporting regressive policies.

Credo-Petition

By launching a campaign that explains an issue clearly, provides adequate context and background information, and takes a strong stand to fight for progressive values, you can use CREDOMobilize.com to build your own base and grow a movement.

Ready to get started? Click here to launch your petition now.

Notice of Offices for 2014 Election — Humboldt County, NV

STATE OF NEVADA
ss.
COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT

I, TAMI RAE SPERO, the duly elected, qualified and acting County Clerk of the County of Humboldt, State of Nevada, do hereby certify that the following State, District and County Offices are the offices for which candidates are to be nominated at the Primary Election to be held on the 10th day of June, 2014.

  • Filing for District and County offices commences Monday, March 3, 2014 and ends Friday, March 14, 2014.
  • Filing for Judicial offices commences on Monday, January 6, 2014 and ends Friday, January 17, 2014.

STATEWIDE OFFICES

  • Supreme Court Justice, Seat B – 6 year term
  • Supreme Court Justice, Seat D – 6 year term
  • Governor – 4 year term
  • Lt. Governor – 4 year term
  • Secretary of State – 4 year term
  • State Treasurer – 4 year term
  • State Controller – 4 year term
  • Attorney General – 4 year term

DISTRICT OFFICES

  • One Representative in Congress, District 2 (representing: Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Pershing, Storey, Washoe, & a portion of Lyon) – 2 year term
  • State Senate, District 14 (Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lander, Mineral, Pershing & portions of Nye & Washoe) -4 year term
  • State Assembly, District 32 (Esmeralda, Humboldt, Lander, Mineral, Pershing, & portions of Nye & Washoe) -2 year term
  • District Court Judges, District 6 (Humboldt, Lander, Pershing) Departments 1 & 2 – 6 year term

COUNTY OFFICES

  • County Commissioner, Seat C – 4 year term
  • County Commissioner, Seat E – 4 year term
  • County Assessor – 4 year term
  • County Clerk – 4 year term
  • District Attorney – 4 year term
  • County Recorder – 4 year term
  • County Sheriff – 4 year term
  • County Treasurer – 4 year term
  • Hospital District Board Trustee, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Hospital District Board Trustee, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Hospital District Board Trustee, Seat E – 4 year term
  • School District Board Trustee, Seat A – 4 year term
  • School District Board Trustee, Seat B – 4 year term
  • School District Board Trustee, Seat D – 2 year unexpired term
  • School District Board Trustee, Seat F – 4 year term
  • School District Board Trustee, Seat G – 4 year term

GENERAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT OFFICES

  • Denio Television Maintenance District, Seat A – 2 year unexpired term
  • Denio Television Maintenance District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Denio Television Maintenance District, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Denio Television Maintenance District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Denio Television Maintenance District, Seat E – 2 year unexpired term
  • Golconda Fire District, Seat A – 2 year unexpired term
  • Golconda Fire District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Golconda Fire District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Golconda Water District, Seat A – 2 year unexpired term
  • Golconda Water District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Golconda Water District, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Golconda Water District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Golconda Water District, Seat E – 2 year unexpired term
  • Kings River General Improvement District, Seat A – 2 year unexpired term
  • Kings River General Improvement District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Kings River General Improvement District, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Kings River General Improvement District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Kings River General Improvement District, Seat E – 2 year unexpired term
  • McDermitt Fire District, Seat A – 2 year unexpired term
  • McDermitt Fire District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • McDermitt General Improvement District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • McDermitt General Improvement District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Orovada Community Service District, Seat A – 2 year unexpired
  • Orovada Community Service District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Orovada Community Service District, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Orovada Community Service District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Orovada General Improvement District, Seat E – 2 year unexpired term
  • Paradise Valley Fire District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Paradise Valley Fire District, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Paradise Valley Sewer District, Seat A – 2 year unexpired term
  • Paradise Valley Sewer District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Paradise Valley Sewer District, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Paradise Valley Sewer District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Paradise Valley Sewer District, Seat E – 2 year unexpired term
  • Pueblo Fire District, Seat A – 2 year unexpired term
  • Pueblo Fire District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Pueblo Fire District, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Pueblo Fire District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Pueblo Fire District, Seat E – 2 year unexpired term
  • Quinn River TV Maintenance District, Seat B – 4 year term
  • Quinn River TV Maintenance District, Seat C – 2 year unexpired term
  • Quinn River TV Maintenance District, Seat D – 4 year term
  • Quinn River TV Maintenance District, Seat E – 2 year unexpired term
  • Winnemucca Rural Fire District, Seat B – 4 year term

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I hereunto set my hand and affixed the County Seal this 18th day of November, A.D. 2013.
(COUNTY SEAL)
TAMI RAE SPERO, Humboldt County Clerk and Ex-Officio Registrar of Voters

IRS Finally Taking a Stand Against Citizens United by Fixing Their Interpretive Error

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have announced they will issue initial guidance regarding qualification requirements for tax-exemption as a social welfare organization under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.  This proposed guidance defines the term “candidate-related political activity,” and would amend current regulations by indicating that the promotion of social welfare does not include this type of activity. The proposed guidance also seeks initial comments on other aspects of the qualification requirements, including what proportion of a 501(c)(4) organization’s activities must promote social welfare.

There are a number of steps in the regulatory process that must be taken before any final guidance can be issued.  Given the significant public interest in these and related issues, Treasury and the IRS expect to receive a large number of comments.  Treasury and the IRS are committed to carefully and comprehensively considering all of the comments received before issuing additional proposed guidance or final rules.

“This proposed guidance is a first critical step toward creating clear-cut definitions of political activity by tax-exempt social welfare organizations,” said Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur.  “We are committed to getting this right before issuing final guidance that may affect a broad group of organizations.  It will take time to work through the regulatory process and carefully consider all public feedback as we strive to ensure that the standards for tax-exemption are clear and can be applied consistently.”

“This is part of ongoing efforts within the IRS that are improving our work in the tax-exempt area,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel.  “Once final, this proposed guidance will continue moving us forward and provide clarity for this important segment of exempt organizations.”

TP501c4

Organizations may apply for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code if they operate to promote social welfare.  The IRS currently applies a “facts and circumstances” test to determine whether an organization is engaged in political campaign activities that do not promote social welfare.  Today’s proposed guidance would reduce the need to conduct fact-intensive inquiries by replacing this test with more definitive rules.

In defining the new term, “candidate-related political activity,” Treasury and the IRS drew upon existing definitions of political activity under federal and state campaign finance laws, other IRS provisions, as well as suggestions made in unsolicited public comments.

Under the proposed guidelines, candidate-related political activity includes:

  • Communications
  • Communications that expressly advocate for a clearly identified political candidate or candidates of a political party.
  • Communications that are made within 60 days of a general election (or within 30 days of a primary election) and clearly identify a candidate or political party.
  • Communications expenditures that must be reported to the Federal Election Commission.
  • Grants and Contributions
  • Any contribution that is recognized under campaign finance law as a reportable contribution.
  • Grants to section 527 political organizations and other tax-exempt organizations that conduct candidate-related political activities (note that a grantor can rely on a written certification from a grantee stating that it does not engage in, and will not use grant funds for, candidate-related political activity).
  • Activities Closely Related to Elections or Candidates
  • Voter registration drives and “get-out-the-vote” drives.
  • Distribution of any material prepared by or on behalf of a candidate or by a section 527 political organization.
  • Preparation or distribution of voter guides that refer to candidates (or, in a general election, to political parties).
  • Holding an event within 60 days of a general election (or within 30 days of a primary election) at which a candidate appears as part of the program.

These proposed rules reduce the need to conduct fact-intensive inquiries, including inquiries into whether activities or communications are neutral and unbiased.

Treasury and the IRS are planning to issue additional guidance that will address other issues relating to the standards for tax exemption under section 501(c)(4).  In particular, there has been considerable public focus regarding the proportion of a section 501(c)(4) organization’s activities that must promote social welfare.  Due to the importance of this aspect of the regulation, the proposed guidance requests initial comments on this issue.  The proposed guidance also seeks comments regarding whether standards similar to those proposed today should be adopted to define the political activities that do not further the tax-exempt purposes of other tax-exempt organizations and to promote consistent definitions across the tax-exempt sector.

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