In case you missed it… We won at the NV Supreme Court

John Tsarpalas

A big win at the Nevada Supreme Court!
Yesterday a groundbreaking decision from the Nevada Supreme Court torpedoed attempts by the Nevada Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) to conceal important facts from the taxpaying public.

As part of Nevada Policy’s ongoing transparency project — TransparentNevada.com— the Institute in 2015 requested data on payouts PERS makes to retired public-sector workers. The data requested was only the most recent information of the sort the Supreme Court had ordered PERS to disclose earlier, in response to a public-records lawsuit by the Reno Gazette-Journal. PERS, however, proceeded to intentionally change its record-keeping after the newspaper’s court victory — scattering the requested information into multiple different records — in an attempt to keep the data hidden from the public. PERS then argued that “public records” should be defined narrowly to only include existing documents or reports, rather than all forms of recorded information related to governmental affairs.

The state agency’s scheme, however, backfired spectacularly: The new ruling actually strengthens the right of Nevadans to access public records. It’s a huge win for government accountability and the very people government is supposed to serve. (Read more)

Transparency
Unfortunately, PERS isn’t the only government agency that regularly tries to flout the state’s public records law. Earlier this week, Nevada Policy filed suit against the Clark County School District (CCSD) for deliberately withholding records necessary to investigate allegations of wrongdoing within two divisions of the district. Nevada Policy had requested a variety of emails as part of an investigation into abuse of special education students and the district’s unlawful retaliation against whistleblowers who refused to go along with administrator’s misdeeds. Unsurprisingly, however, the district refused to provide the records, forcing Nevada Policy to take legal action. The blatant disregard agencies like CCSD show for transparency is precisely why lawmakers must add teeth to Nevada’ public records law by adding penalties against those who break it. (Read more)

Education Reform
Transparency is important for even the most mundane sectors of government — but in something like special education, where the most vulnerable students and their families depend on a government system every day, it is absolutely crucial.  During the last legislative session, to help protect these students, a bill was proposed to place cameras in special education classrooms. The cameras would provide administrators and police with a necessary tool to investigate alleged incidents of abuse, thus protecting children and families from falling victim to a few bad actors in any given school. And yet, the bill failed to pass. Why? Well, as Channel 8 points out near the end of their recent report, the teacher union — one of the most politically powerful unions in the state — is staunchly opposed to such an accountability measure. (Read more)

Worker freedom
Laws designed to protect worker’s rights should do exactly that. Unfortunately, thanks to the crony nature of union leadership over the decades, these laws often underminethe individual rights of workers while strengthening the monopoly-like control many public sector unions have over the workforce. Nevada Policy has identified three simple reforms that would do what our current labor laws have, for decades, failed to do: prioritize the individual rights of workers. What’s more, all three reforms are supported by both union and non-union workers. (Read more)

John Tsarpalas

John Tsarpalas

President

John Tsarpalas is the President of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, and is deeply committed to spreading limited government ideas and policy to create a better, more prosperous Nevada for all.

For over three decades, John has educated others in the ideals and benefits of limited government. In the 1980s, John joined the Illinois Libertarian Party and served on its State Central Committee. Later in the 90s, he transitioned to the Republican Party, and became active in the Steve Forbes for President Campaign and flat taxes.

In 2005, he was recruited to become the Executive Director of the Illinois Republican Party where he graduated from the Republican National Committee’s Campaign College, the RNC’s Field Management School, and the Leadership Institute’s activist training.

Additionally, John has served as President of the Sam Adams Alliance and Team Sam where he did issue education and advocacy work in over 10 states, with a focus on the web.

John also founded or helped start the following educational not-for-profits: Think Freely Media, the Haym Salomon Center – where he served as Chairman, the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity and Midwest Speaking Professionals.

A native of Chicago, John now lives in Las Vegas with his wife of 38 years. They have three daughters, and in his spare time, John enjoys trap shooting (while he still has the right!), fishing and public speaking.