Education Savings Accounts:
Keith Diggs, from the Institute for Justice, explained exactly what is wrong with the argument against Education Savings Accounts. “These groups, which have attacked ESAs in the Nevada courts, will tolerate no new ideas in education,” Diggs wrote in the Reno Gazette Journal. He’s right. With oral arguments just one week away, be sure to RSVP now for our ESA Policy Luncheon on July 29th, featuring Vicki Alger from the Independent Institute. (RSVP here)
Anxious to please activists and environmentalists, politicians have agreed to force companies that sell produce to clearly label their genetically modified organic foods (GMOs). So what exactly is a GMO? Well, no one really knows. Genetic engineering is essentially a continuum of techniques that have been used over millennia — and the legislation itself is so broad, it fails to narrowly define what kind of bioengineered foods might qualify as “GMOs.” Maybe, before regulating an entire industry, government should first obtain a better understanding of what, precisely, is being regulated. (Read more)
Climate-change alarmists, activists and even lawmakers try to silence scientific and policy debate by claiming that “ninety-seven percent of scientists agree” on global warming. But, as former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer points out, science is not a democratic process. “Since when is science settled by a survey or a poll? The hallmark of a good scientific theory is its ability to make good predictions… From what we’ve seen, global warming theory is definitely lacking in this regard,” Spencer wrote. The truth is, climate change is a complex issue, and the science behind it is constantly evolving. Debate over the issue shouldn’t be censored or ignored simply because some alarmists want it to be. (Read more)
For a prime example of how government manages to stifle job growth, look no further than your local licensing requirements. License requirements for various occupations — essentially a government-created permission-slip to work — have been on the rise for decades. And many of these requirements do virtually nothing to protect the public from abusive businesses. In Washington D.C., for example, a shoe-shine must obtain four separate licenses from various government agencies before being legally allowed to operate. (Read more)
The federal debt climbed to more than $19.4 trillion dollars this week. That means in less than nine months since Congress passed the “Bipartisan Budget Act” — which suspended the legal debt limit until March of 2017 — the federal government has overspent by more than $1.25 trillion dollars. (Read more)
Friday, July 29 — the day we’ve all been waiting for! The day to show your support for the country’s most expansive educational choice program and fight for Nevada children — your children — is just around the corner.
Come down to the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave in Las Vegas at 8:45 a.m. and stand strong with other ESA supporters for an early rally before going upstairs to view the Supreme Court oral arguments.
Bring your friends, neighbors and children and stand up to #LetOurChildrenSucceed.
A few things you should know to prepare for this historical day:
- The Regional Justice Center prohibits any show of support or opposition in the building: No shirts, hats, accessories or other apparel showing support will be allowed inside. Rally signs must remain outside.
- The Supreme Court courtroom is a professional setting and attendees are encouraged to dress accordingly: Shirts and shoes are required. Hats must be removed before entering court. No tank tops or shorts.
- No cell phones allowed in the Supreme Court courtroom. You will be required to leave your cell phones with the marshal before entering the courtroom.
Etiquette and Decorum
- The Supreme Court courtroom is a professional setting requiring complete quiet from the audience. The atmosphere is akin to that of a very, very quiet church. Talking will not be tolerated and you could be removed by marshals.
- Children are allowed in the courtroom. However, I recommend families with young children view the proceedings from the Jury Assembly Room on the third floor, which is a less formal setting.
- No food or drinks allowed in the courtroom.
We are asking supporters to bring their own signs highlighting their personal message of support. A poster board decorated with markers, paints, glitter, etc… is a simple, inexpensive way to do this. We will also have parent-made signs available at the rally.
As a sign of solidarity with other ESA supporters we are asking that signs have both, our hashtag #LetOurChildrenSucceed and that of our fellow ESA supporters: #YestoESA.
We will have a place outside the courthouse building to leave signs.
Metered parking is available in lots along 3rd St. and Clark and at the Clark County Parking garage at 455 S. 3rd Street. The Fremont Street Experience parking garage located at 425 Fremont also offers paid parking. You enter off 4th Street off Carson. If parking is an issue, please call me at 702-222-0642. We can arrange free shuttle transport with our rally partner group.
The Supreme Court courtroom, located on the 17th floor, seats about 60 -70 people. An estimated 30 seats are expected to be reserved, leaving just a few seats for the public. Overflow seating is located in the Jury Assembly Room, located on the Third Floor. All seats will be filled on a first-come, first-seated basis.
This is it, parents. The legal team, Treasurer Dan Schwartz and the brave parents intervening in Duncan need your support. They need your strength!
Come on down and rally for Nevada’s children — your children.
If you are in northern Nevada call me about events there, 702-222-0642. Your voice will not be left out!
Nineteen United States senators took to the Senate floor earlier this week in an organized attempt to shame and even criminalize political dissent. Senator Harry Reid even went so far as to single out NPRI by name — describing the Institute as a front group for big oil. For some power-hungry Washington elites, thoughtful policy discussions are apparently too much of a danger to allow. (Read more)
The Attorneys General who are spearheading an effort to obtain documents from researchers and think tanks that dissent from the environmentalist left’s position on global warming may soon have to come clean about their ties to green energy groups. A United States House committee has subpoenaed two of the attorneys general, demanding that they reveal the green energy activists encouraging them to pursue an investigation into groups that are skeptical of man-made climate change. (Read more)
About 56 percent of all teachers in the Clark County School District were absent for more than 10 days of school in 2013-14, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Statewide, Nevada almost doubled the average national rate of teacher absenteeism. With critical teacher shortages already a major concern in recent years, maybe something ought to be done to make sure the teachers CCSD already hired improve their attendance records. (Read more)
Another month, and there’s another Obamacare co-op failure. Oregon’s second taxpayer-funded healthcare co-op has closed its doors, leaving 40,000 consumers without federally mandated insurance. This most recent failure means that a total of 15 co-ops have now gone under, costing taxpayers more than $1.5 billion. (Read more)
NASA is planning on spending $73,500 to teach its astronauts about diversity, “unconscious biases” and white privilege. The program will focus on how to avoid “micro-aggressions” in the workplace, while combating unintentional personal biases. The firm providing the politically correct sensitivity training describes itself as “a minority and woman-owned firm that advocates taking action.” According to its website, the company “is a catalyst for change,” adding that “the diversity journey has evolved.” (Read more)
A recent graduate from Reno High School, nineteen-year-old Ryder Haag, will be one of the youngest delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday. After getting interested in speech and debate in high school, Haag says his main concern has been economic policies. “Balanced budgets just make sense,” Haag explained. “It’s the right things to do with our communities. You just can’t be leaving a large amount of debt to your grandchildren.” After campaigning for himself at the county and state level, Haag now heads to Cleveland as the youngest delegate from the Silver State. (Read more)
Friends, your support is needed!
Please join me and other ESA supporters as we rally for the new opportunities awaiting Nevada families and children. Mark your calendars now and save the date! Join in as we lend strength to Treasurer Dan Schwartz and Attorney General Adam Laxalt and their fabulous teams as they fight for Nevada families in Nevada’s Supreme Court!
Come on down! Show your support for Nevada’s Education Savings Account program!
What: Rally and Oral Argument viewing
When: Friday, July 29
Where: Regional Justice Center
200 Lewis Avenue, Las Vegas
Rally: Sidewalk in front of main entrance
Proceedings: Nevada Supreme Court Courtroom, 17th floor (limited public seats)
Overflow viewing: Jury Assembly Room, 3rd floor
Time: Full schedule 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Rally: 8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
Lopez Oral Arguments: 10:00 a.m.
Duncan Oral Arguments: 11:30 a.m.
On Friday, July 29th, the Nevada Supreme Court will hear arguments in both ESA cases. The first oral argument, Schwartz vs. Lopez, (this is the case with the injunction against the program) will begin at 10 a.m. for a 60-minute presentation in the Las Vegas courtroom. The second oral argument, Duncan vs. State, Office of the Treasurer, (the case that was previously dismissed by a lower court) will begin at 11:30 a.m. for a 60-minute presentation.
The overflow room accommodates up to 300 people and the courtroom seats approximately 70 individuals. However, it is expected 30 or so seats will already be reserved for news media, etc. Seating in the Jury Assembly Room is also limited, so it will be a first-come, first-seated situation.
Just a few things to be aware of if you plan on attending:
Cell phones are not allowed in the courtroom.
Participants will go through security to enter the Regional Justice Center. Expect to remove shoes, belts, and empty pockets — just like the airport!
And if you’re not in the Vegas area, the hearings will also be video conferenced to the Supreme Court courtroom in Carson City, for folks in the north!
I hope all of you had a wonderful Independence Day! It is truly an inspirational holiday.
Last weekend, I stood watching the Fourth of July parade in Duck Creek Village, Utah, as people of all ages rolled by on four wheelers, side-by-sides and trucks decorated with American flags, patriotic designs and red, white and blue streamers. People were tossing candy, cheering for America, and laughing with both neighbors and complete strangers.
Suddenly, I had a distinct awareness of our founding fathers — what they sacrificed so long ago and what they endured standing up for independence and freedom.
It was a profound feeling.
Instinctively I knew, just like our Forefathers knew when it was time to take a stand, that it’s time for us to stand up for Nevada’s Education Savings Account program. We, too, will endure!
The opposition doesn’t support freedom for parents to choose what education is best for their children. Instead, they want to dictate to families what education is best for children. The opposition is doing everything within its power to attack this program because it empowers you — parents, families and children — to be independent and free.
So far, we’ve stayed strong. And, folks, the time is finally here! You’ve all been asking, “What can I do to help?” Let me give you a few ideas:
As you know, on Friday, July 29th, the Nevada Supreme Court will hold oral arguments in the Lopez and Duncan cases. NevadaESA.com and other ESA supporters will rally in support of the program at 8:30 a.m. outside the Nevada Supreme Court, at the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave in Las Vegas. I’ll be there at 8:00 a.m.
Currently, I am working with Court and county staff on the finer details of public gatherings and court decorum. In fact, today, the court notified me they will open an overflow room to observe the proceedings!! This is great news, because having been in the Supreme Court venue, I know it will only hold about 50 people. The Court is also going to offer viewing of the proceedings in Carson City! So, a big “thank you” to Court staff for working out the overflow space!! I will send out all the finer details next week. There are quite a few rules to be observed.
If you plan on attending, please RSVP to me with your name and contact info, so I can coordinate with others. You can email me at email@example.com or call the office at 702-222-0642.
And for those of you unable to come out on July 29th, the Nevada Supreme Court streams most of its oral arguments online. Be sure to watch!! Today, the Court confirmed the Lopez and Duncan cases will for sure be streamed online! (Barring any technical issues.)
If you are in northern Nevada or other parts of the state and want to rally, let me know and I will work with you on that as well.
Of course, not everyone can show up for a rally. For those folks, NPRI is hosting two policy luncheons on ESAs that week —one in the south and one in the north — featuring Vicki Alger from the Independent Institute. Vicki has advised education policymakers in nearly 40 states, provided expert testimony before state legislative education committees, and served on two national accountability task forces. Her research was crucial in advancing school choice in Arizona — and she’ll be speaking about the importance ESAs will play in Nevada’s future.
The first luncheon will be held at the Eldorado Hotel, in Reno, on July 28th at 11:30 a.m. For folks in Las Vegas, the second luncheon will be held the day of the oral arguments, July 29th, at the Las Vegas Country Club at 11:30 a.m.
Both events will be a great place to learn more about ESAs, and the world of difference educational choice can bring to Nevada.
Finally, let’s not forget your ESA stories. We’ve already collected quite a few — and we’re going to be highlighting them on NevadaESA.com, on Facebook and Twitter and in the media as we race toward oral arguments. If you haven’t already, or if you’re just new to the list, please shoot me an email with your story of why ESAs are important to your family, how it will make a difference in your child’s education, what struggles you currently face or anything else that underscores how important ESAs are to Nevada’s future. We will publish your stories, letting everyone know, ESAs are not about politics or special interests — they’re about parents, children and individual lives.
For now, those are some things in the works for the ESA oral arguments, and how you can help. I will have more information in the coming days.
Where you can watch the Supreme Court Oral Arguments:
ESA Luncheon info:
Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter has decided to take on the “Obamacare exemption” enjoyed by Congress. A 2013 rule from the Office of Personnel Management deemed Congress a “small business” — allowing lawmakers and staff access to Washington D.C.’s Obamacare exchange, while preserving their substantial taxpayer-funded subsidies. “This was a bipartisan, bicameral effort that ultimately led to Washington’s Obamacare exemption,” Mr. Vitter said, as he pledged to tackle the carve-out. (Read more)
President Obama’s new overtime regulations aren’t going to “give Americans a raise,” as he promised. In fact, it will do just the opposite, as companies cap salaries to avoid costly overtime regulations and cut hours for critical employees. In short, just like the minimum wage debate, big government needs to learn that prosperity isn’t something that can be regulated into existence. (Read more)
Following a 2013 Nevada Supreme Court opinion, Nevada’s Public Employee Retirement System intentionally altered the way it maintained key documents in an effort to render them largely useless to the general public. By replacing names with ‘non-disclosable’ social security numbers, PERS has circumvented the disclosure requirements outlined in the 2013 ruling, according to Joseph Becker, the director of NPRI’s Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation. As a result, NPRI has taken legal action to force the agency into compliance with the law. (Read more)
As we’ve pointed out before, labor bosses don’t make it easy for educators to leave the union. With just one week left, time is running out for Nevada teachers who want to opt out of union membership. “Teachers have the ability to choose for themselves whether or not they want to belong to a union,” said NPRI Communications Director Michael Schaus. “But many don’t know that right even exists — and that’s where NPRI comes in.” (Read more)
A land owner is preparing to take a stand after the Nevada Department of Transportation issued a condemnation letter on his property, to make way for the USA Parkway. Initially, NDOT had offered the property owner less than half of the land’s appraised value. After failing to negotiate an agreement, NDOT issued a condemnation letter on the property — which is similar to the practice of “eminent domain.” The state transportation board is scheduled to hear the matter Monday, July 11, 2016 at 9 a.m. in Carson City. (Read more)
Can you believe it is already the July Fourth weekend?
Throughout the nation families will be gathering in recognition of America’s independence, and celebrating our freedoms.
Of course, our relationship with freedom is much different today than it was in 1776.
For the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, freedom was not a casual term thrown around carelessly by politicians and pundits.
It was a dream.
And to the men who helped forge the American experiment, that dream was more valuable than any treasure, fortune or life.
The men who put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence knew they were declaring themselves traitors to the crown — and yet they were willing to risk everything they had in the hope that, someday, their children and grandchildren could live in a nation free from oppression, tyranny and despotism.
This July Fourth weekend, take a moment to remember the great sacrifices that have been made in defense of our freedom. Our nation was founded by men who knew the true value of liberty — and it is our job to preserve, cherish and pass on to future generations this exceptional American experiment.
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.
Sharon J. Rossie
A new report shows that a majority of America’s “best” universities and colleges do not require students seeking a history degree to take any U.S. history classes. While many of the country’s elite schools, such as Johns Hopkins University, require classes in East Asian and sub-Saharan African politics, courses focused on American political history remains optional. Unsurprisingly, the result is a body of students that are incapable of identifying what significance the emancipation proclamation had in American history, or which Revolutionary War general led the American troops at Yorktown. (Read more)
As we’ve pointed out before, teacher unions are not interested in helping “the children” — they’re interested in helping themselves. The city of Chicago is the latest example of this destructive status quo. Despite being nearly bankrupt, Chicago Public Schools transferred $676 million to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund, leaving a paltry $24 million left in the bank to educate the district’s nearly 400,000 students. (Read more)
If you want to understand why Britain was keen to leave the petty tyranny of the European Union, look no further than this example of regulatory overreach: In an attempt to save the public from “misleading” statements in advertising, EU regulators have forbidden bottled water companies from claiming that their product fights dehydration. Under a new directive by EU bureaucrats, companies that make such a claim will be held criminally liable. (Read more)
In a significant win for free speech, the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands officially withdrew his subpoena of a libertarian nonprofit group. Attorney General Claude Walker had requested decades of internal documents from the Competitive Enterprise Institute as part of an investigation into ExxonMobil’s skepticism of man-made global warming. (Read more)
We know that 56 men mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor when they signed the Declaration of Independence. But do you know the price each one of these men paid to help secure a free and independent America? (Read more)
Oral Arguments in both Lopez and Duncan are officially set for July 29!
For now, we are on a single, expedited path to conclusion without briefing delay. The ACLU sought a 63-day briefing period in the Duncan appeal, but they only got 10 days to brief. And the State of Nevada got seven days to respond.
Then, the next stop? The Nevada Supreme Court at the Regional Justice Center located at 200 Lewis Ave, 17th Floor, in Las Vegas — Lopez at 10:00 a.m. and Duncan to follow at 11:30 a.m. Hope to see you there!
I know it’s been a frustrating year and it’s getting hard to keep the faith and find much comfort when you’ve been for so long on the edge of your seat, clinging onto hopes for your children through the ups and downs, round and rounds, and even hanging-upside-downs of these legal challenges and funding postponements. Please, hang on a little longer. Remember, wearing down support and the hope and enthusiasm of families is what the opposition seeks to do. To succeed, they must demoralize parents and weaken the rapidly growing fervor for educational choice in our state. Stay strong!
While the opposition needs to wear parents down, the ESA legal team, Nevada judges and the Supreme Court Justices are very much aware that it is the future for thousands of Silver State children that hangs in the balance. That is evident by the lightning speed in which this roller coaster ride has made its way through the legal process. As I see it, the Supreme Court sent a strong message of urgency by also setting oral arguments in Duncan for July 29. Did you know it typically takes about three years for a school-choice case to get to this point in the legal process? Six months, folks. Six months since the injunction and both of the ESA cases are set for oral arguments at the Nevada Supreme Court. Truly amazing!
Now that the two cases are running together, I’ve created a little cheat-sheet to help you distinguish between the two cases: [link]
For those of you racing the clock to turn in your ESA applications, remember they must be received in the Treasurer’s office by 5 p.m. this Thursday, June 30th!! I will be at the new David O. McKay campuses Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to help with applications and answer any questions. At this point, I recommend turning applications in by hand — get a copy of the stamped application — to ensure a timely submission. In Carson City, you can turn them in at 101 N. Carson Street, Suite 4. In Las Vegas, you can turn them in at the Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property office at the Grant Sawyer Building located at 555 E. Washington Ave., just off Las Vegas Boulevard — across from Cashman Field. The office is on the first floor, to the left side of the building. Sorry, I don’t know the suite number.
Speaking of applications, for those of you interested in the tax-scholarship program, two new Scholarship Granting Organizations have registered: Americas Scholarship Konnection, out of Gilbert, Arizona and ACSI Children Education Fund out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Currently their websites do not yet have links for Nevada applications. Be sure to check back with them and also the Arete Scholarship Foundation for application opportunities. The other three SGO’s have closed their application periods.
I want to thank everyone for all their support over this past year. In no way could the team at NevadaESA.com have reached the thousands of parents and community leaders we have without your support and efforts. Thank you for sharing my emails, our NevadaESA.com website, trusting me with your questions, hosting information meetings in your homes, places of work, churches and schools and responding to my calls for volunteers (we’re always accepting volunteers!). And, a million thanks to the elected officials and state officers who have been so very supportive of our efforts to inform, educate and help the entire Nevada community navigate both the ESA and tax scholarship programs.
Together, Nevadans will…
The North Shore of Lake Tahoe, along Lakeshore Boulevard, isn’t exactly a “low income” neighborhood. And yet, that is where the one and only office is located for a company that uses taxpayer handouts to “invest” in federally designated “low income” communities. For an elite few, cronyism apparently has its benefits. (Read more)
Nevada has made a slight improvement in education, according to a new report. The Silver State is no longer the worst in the nation when it comes to education. Apparently, we’re only the second worst. Since "business-as-usual" in education doesn't seem to be improving things, perhaps it's time to let parents take control, by giving them access to the most comprehensive school choice program in the nation, Education Savings Accounts. (Read more)
Taxes and fiscal:
The Clark County Commission unanimously agreed this week to alter the wording of a ballot measure asking voters if they want to keep the fuel revenue index tax. Prior to the index tax, motorists paid a 52 cent tax for every gallon of gasoline. Today, motorists pay 62 cents per gallon. If the ballot measure is approved, over the course of the next decade that amount will increase to more than 98 cents per gallon. (Read more)
In a 21-18 vote, the New Jersey Senate has agreed to hike the state’s minimum hourly wage from $8.38 an hour to $15 by the year 2021. The increase is a big win for the Service Employee International Union, which has been pushing hard for the increase. But it’s a major loss for entry-level and low-skilled workers. The move is expected to kill roughly 33,500 jobs, with 91.7 percent of those losses impacting workers in the retail and food service sector who don’t have college degrees. (Read more)
World leaders are quite clearly nervous now that Britain has voted to leave the European Union. However, leaders in Switzerland are showing optimism, having themselves decided to formally remain independent from the EU. “A big advantage of leaving the EU is free trade worldwide, not only between the member states, making it easier and cheaper for companies to export their goods to the rest of the world,” said Swiss MP Lukas Reimann. (Read more)
Last week was a busy week for the Education Savings Account lawsuits. Let’s take a look at what happened and what it all means.
In the Lopez case, the northern Nevada case which has the injunction, the Attorney General’s office (State’s attorney), on Tuesday, filed an unopposed motion with the Nevada Supreme Court seeking to postpone oral arguments until the last week of July. You may recall, oral arguments were set for July 8.
Resetting the oral argument to the last week of July was sought to allow the State’s counsel of choice, Mr. Paul Clement, who will be out of country on July 8, to present the State’s argument to the Court. Clement, outside counsel retained by the State is with the Bancroft law firm in Washington D.C., is a former United States Solicitor General and a renowned attorney who has argued upwards of 69 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. For sure, a tremendous asset to our ESA legal team!
The AG’s motion also emphasized that moving oral arguments until late July could accommodate the Court’s previously stated preference to hear arguments in both the Lopez and Duncan cases on the same day should the ACLU appeal in Duncan (they subsequently did).
The following morning, Wednesday, the Nevada Supreme Court granted the State’s motion in Lopez, rescheduling oral arguments for Friday, July 29 at 10 a.m. Arguments will take place at the Regional Justice Center, located at 200 Lewis Ave —17th Floor, in Las Vegas. Hey, if you’re thinking of going, let me know.
Then, on Friday, the ACLU finally filed its notice of appeal in Duncan, the ACLU case in southern Nevada which was dismissed by Judge Eric Johnson last month.
So, in summary, the Lopez case, and any decision lifting the injunction will be delayed. And if the court consolidates the two cases (a motion to do so still needs to be filed and granted) Duncan may proceed with a shortened briefing period. It’s not known yet if consolidating the arguments will further delay Lopez. But from reading the court exhibits filed with this motion (including email communications between the AG and the ACLU), it appears the ACLU is amenable to holding arguments for Duncan in late July.
Hopefully — fingers crossed — with this latest development, we are now on a single, expedited track to both decisions.
How does all this effect funding? Well… looks like November is the soonest.
When you really think about it, though, all the stars and planets would have had to align to fund in August. That’s not to say it couldn’t have happened. But, I am a realist. And, when you really think about it, any decision to meet August funding depended on the Justices returning a decision within a week. While that has happened before, it’s just not the norm.
Moreover, when you also consider that the closely related Duncan case would be simultaneously working its way through the Supreme Court’s briefing process, it seems not at all certain the Court would have turned around a decision too quickly. After all, justices might be thinking of the potential for new legal insight from Duncan. Courts don’t frequently just toss their “preferences” out into the universe. So this may be a big hint they want to consolidate.
A brief reminder: A few days still exist for you to get your applications turned in. Don’t let all the legal maneuvering dissuade you from applying for the program if you were thinking on it. This is just how the wheels of justice turn. Remember, applications must be stamped received in the Treasurer’s office by 5 p.m. on June 30th to be considered for this enrollment period.
Next week, I will be at the new David O. McKay Academy locations providing information on ESAs and helping with applications and document scanning. Details are still being finalized, so be sure to visit our Event page on NevadaESA.com for more information.
Stay Strong! And, #LetOurChildrenSuceed