In the 2009 and 2011 Legislative sessions, John authored bills to protect our children from sex trafficking and to significantly increase the financial penalties those criminals face. Signed into law and taking effect on October 1, 2009, AB 380 allows the court to impose substantial fines of up to $500,000 on any person convicted of pandering or of prostitution of a child. The law designates that 100% of the money will go to help the victims of such crimes. Because of John’s hard work and powers of persuasion, the very criminals who prey on our youth will now be funding the programs to help get them off the street. Signed into law and taking effect on October 1, 2011, AB 6 allows victims of trafficking to petition the court to have their judgments of conviction vacated, giving them a second chance at a normal life. John is already formulating further legislation he plans to introduce in the next session to continue to clamp down on these “worst of the worst” criminals who prey on our innocent youth.
While these new law are a great start, for the past few years, the number of children who have fallen through the cracks has increased. They have been poorly served by the very professionals who are supposed to safeguard and care for these most vulnerable members of our community. John will continue the effort during the 2013 session to reform oversight of youth services being offered by state, counties and cities.
Throughout the 2009 and 2011 Legislative Sessions, John stood firm in his support for Nevada’s citizens during these trying economic times. He voted against raising payroll taxes on small businesses and stood against increasing fees to register vehicles. He was keenly aware that the taxes proposed by the Democrats would have a big impact on seniors and lower income Nevadans. He worked to reduce the state budget, insisting that the State Government needed to tighten its belt just as Nevada’s families were doing.
Developing the biennial budget is the most daunting challenge legislators face. With your home budget, you are pretty certain what your income will be, so you figure your spending and savings accordingly to match the amount you earn each week or month. Government budgeting doesn’t work that way. The State must base its income on projections of revenue from taxes and other sources, and the legislators determine how to spend those projected revenues. For most of the past sessions, the Legislature’s budget has allocated every penny of those projected revenues. As long as the actual revenue matched or exceeded the projected one, things were fine. However, that hasn’t happened for the last two sessions. Due to these tough economic times, actual revenues fell far short of the projections. That has required the legislators to either cut the budget or raise taxes. Spending based on inaccurate projections in the budget causes turmoil in state programs and puts excess burdens on our citizens. Constantly spending to the limit of the budget has to stop.
Instead of spending every penny of the projected revenue, John will continue fight for a budget that leaves a cushion. That way, if actual revenues don’t meet expectations, the government will be better able to deal with the shortfall. If actual revenues equal or exceed projections, we can put that money in the bank to cover our State when there are future “rainy days.” This is very similar to how many of you take care of your own finances. There is no reason the Government can’t do that same thing.
Education issues in Nevada, and specifically in Clark County, have been a challenge for years. The problem is not with the teachers we employ but rather with the overwhelming amount of money that is spent outside the classroom on high paid administrators and numerous programs that don’t directly support student learning. Despite efforts by reformers, this money never makes it to the classroom where it is desperately needed.
John’s work for the children of Nevada will include increased efforts in education reform in the next session. John will work to hold the Clark County School District accountable for every penny they spend. Every session, the Clark County School District screams for increased funding to pay for more programs that never seem to solve their problems. John has a different approach. He will work with the school boards and administrators across the state, and especially here in Clark County, to have them explain why they need increased funding, what the funding will be used for, and what results they expect to see as a result of that increased funding. This will force them to provide details of how your tax dollars are being spent and will also provide the standard the legislature will use for holding those officials accountable for the results.
Only by closely watching the school districts and making sure they are held accountable, not only for spending but also for the results they get from that spending, will we ever see any significant improvement in our graduation rates and test scores.