In case you missed it...

Nevada’s 79th legislative session

Governor Sandoval closed out the session by vetoing a “Medicaid-for-everyone” proposal — a bill designed to use state government to greatly expand government-run health insurance. Considering the Governor’s previous record backing the ACA and then expanding of its Medicaid option in Nevada, the bill’s fate was uncertain until the last minute, when Sandoval issued his veto, criticizing the bill’s “lack of specifics.” But, as NPRI Communication Director Michael Schaus told Reason.com, “Until the political discussion about healthcare goes beyond a promise to make someone else pay for everyone else's healthcare, real progress simply cannot be made.” [Read more]

 

Government waste and abuse

According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority security officers do more than just protect the public — they also act as personal chauffeurs for CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and former Mayor Oscar Goodman. In one instance, a guard and his bomb-sniffing dog waited about an hour outside a doctor’s office near Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center to give Ralenkotter a ride. In fact, the taxpayer-funded shuttling rides have become so commonplace, that staff members dub them “Rossi runs” and “Oscar runs.” [Read more]

 

National healthcare policy

Senate Republicans unveiled their plan to “fix” the Affordable Care Act — but not everyone in the party is happy. At least four GOP Senators have said they plan on not voting for the bill, arguing that it does not even begin to “repeal” or “replace” Obamacare. And they’re not alone. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon was quick to warn that the bill is surprisingly void of any actual free-market solutions. “The Senate bill is not even a step in the right direction,” warns Cannon. [Read more]
 

Government spending

New York City’s subway has been sucking up taxpayer subsidies for decades — and yet, the quality of service continues to get worse. The reason why is pretty simple to understand: it’s run by government. For example, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has spent more than $100 billion since the 1980s on infrastructure upgrades, and yet the signal system — the system that governs the traffic of the subway cars themselves — has not been upgraded since the 1930s. The 1930s! [Read more]

 

Free speech

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing about free speech on campus, in light of recent protests over various “controversial” speakers. One of the panelists was a 21 year old self-described liberal Democrat, Zachary Wood, who is working to protect free speech on campus. “When speakers are barred,” noted Wood, “what happens is that you have certain preconceptions, certain assumptions about how people see the world that do not get challenged in any way. You lose sight of individual differences. It subsumes individuality, and you don’t appreciate people for the uniqueness of their own perspectives.” [Read more]

 

NPRI’s Policy success story for the week:

In 2015, a San Francisco BART janitor abused overtime rules — taking taxpayers for a ride as he managed to quadruple his base pay, bringing in more than $271,000, according to NPRI’s transparency website, TransparentCalifornia.com.

When we broke the story, it immediately spread all over the world. Not only did California media quickly run with the report, but it even caught the attention of European and Chinese media outlets! And it’s easy to see why: A report from Transparent California shows Liang Zhao Zhang worked an average of 114 hours per week in 2015. His overtime in alone amounted to $162,000 that year.

Well, it wasn’t too long before all this attention resulted in actual policy changes. BART officials now say that overtime will no longer be available for janitors in 2017.

And when a tax-and-spend government agency enacts basic reforms because of a little transparency, it should be considered a pretty big win.

This story underscores just how important NPRI’s transparency projects — TransparentNevada.com and TransparentCalifornia.com — are in getting substantive changes enacted throughout the region.

 

 


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