> 2015 > May
“I must have a prodigious amount of mind;
it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up!”
We here at the Nevada Legislature don’t have that much time.
We have only five days left in the 78th Session to make up our minds about how we are going vote on a biennial budget for Nevada’s schools and government services.
There is a lot on the minds of most members–especially the freshmen. But at least most minds were momentarily at ease last night as lawmakers sat together on the Floor of the Assembly enjoying members of the press parody their peccadillos, just as Mark Twain and his pals once did.
Minus the usual defense mechanisms that come along with living in a political fishbowl, members at last night’s Third House (the Twain-initiated feast of mockery) were able to let their minds wander for one hour from the “taxing” problems of the session. Together, we enjoyed the simplest of all human pleasures–laughing at, and with, each other.
The obligatory Republican Caucus meeting that followed the evening’s festivities started out peacefully enough. Members’ minds seemed relaxed in the after-glow of the celebration of our humorous common humanity.
Acceptance of one another — and decorum — faded quickly, though, as it tends to do in our raucous caucus meetings and as conversation turned to what must be done in the few days remaining.
“To be, or not to be, that is the question,” was a line in Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy from Hamlet. To vote, or not to vote (for Governor Sandoval’s funding plan for education) is the question of this one act play.
In my opinion, intentions and efforts by some — like Ira Hansen — to force the Legislature into a Special Session is no more than political folly that will delay the inevitable.
No one promised it would be easy. And Nevada voters ultimately will not allow us to have it both ways—saying we are going to do something, and then doing nothing at all. In this age of instantaneous Internet communications, lawmakers will immediately hear from constituents if we protract (at taxpayer expense) our stay in Nevada’s Capitol city.
For Republicans who support Brian Sandoval’s call for a bold education reform package including School Choice, Charter School expansion and Read by Three programs, it’s time to take an educated gamble and double down on these policies that are proven elsewhere but have never been tried in Nevada before.
For those who don’t agree with the Governor and senior members of the Legislature who in addition to proposing reforms have approved budgets with cuts and recommendations, shaving and shifting spending in various ways… don’t push the green button when your moment comes.
Every elected member has the privilege of representing their constituents, and the responsibility of voting their conscience. No one can ask more of you. Members should ultimately respect one another’s decisions. That is what representative democracy is all about.
Yes, we have a lot on our minds and little time to make up our overloaded brains, as Twain reflected. As I’ve said before, history will surely soon forget “who” was in the Nevada Legislature, but it will long remember “what” we have done.
It is time.