PERS secrecy bill would leave taxpayers in the dark

By Robert Fellner
  • Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Having long championed the principles of a transparent and accountable government, the Nevada Policy Research Institute is dismayed to hear that some lawmakers are working to weaken the state's public records law.

With taxpayer contributions to the state public employees' retirement system (PERS) hitting a record-high $1.5 billion last year, the Legislature should be seeking to increase transparency, not reduce it.

Senate Bill 384, however, would weaken Nevada's public records law by carving out a series of exemptions for PERS. The bill was passed out of committee earlier this month and is now set to be voted on by the state Senate in the coming days.

NPRI’s Robert Fellner, director of transparency research for the organization, stated:

“It is deeply troubling that lawmakers are seeking to shroud PERS in even more secrecy, particularly at a time when costs are soaring to unprecedented heights, siphoning funds that could otherwise be spent on teachers, public safety and other vital services.

“The arguments in favor of SB384 disintegrate the moment one acknowledges the fact that more than two-thirds of states nationwide have already embraced the specific form of transparency SB384 seeks to destroy.”

Fellner also noted that SB384 has been sharply criticized by all of Nevada's major news organization, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial Board calling it an “obvious affront to transparency and accountability,” and the Reno Gazette-Journal Editorial Board declaring that SB384 “is a bad idea, based upon unfounded fears, that weakens scrutiny of government fraud, abuse and waste and creates a slippery slope to more government secrecy.”

To read NPRI's full commentary on SB384, please click here.