Safeguarding the Constitution during times of crisis

Executive Summary

Consolidating the legislative and executive powers in the hands of one person is the very definition of tyranny. It has also been the normal state of affairs for the past year under Governor Steve Sisolak, who has asserted the power to regulate everything from the number of family members you can spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with, to what kinds of businesses are permitted to stay open, and even the manner in which churches can operate.

To help prevent future administrations from operating in such an unconstitutional manner and, consequently, undermining the fabric of civil society, the Legislature should enact the following amendments to the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act:

  • Make it Harder to Misrepresent the Act

  • Emergencies Must Pose an Immediate Threat

  • Limit the duration of an emergency 

The principle of divided and limited government enshrined in the Nevada Constitution is essential for creating a free and prosperous society.
The initial justification for Governor Sisolak’s unliteral ability to both make and execute the law was represented by the phrase “15 days to slow the spread.”

It has now been over 300 days, and the Governor has shown no indication that he intends to relinquish these tyrannical powers, which are fundamentally incompatible with a free society.

The Legislature must never again allow a Governor to engage in such unconstitutional behavior, which fundamentally erodes trust in both the rule of law and Nevada’s political institutions.

Adopting these recommendations will make it much harder for future administrations to abuse the EPGA and, in so doing, help reaffirm the Legislature’s commitment to constitutional government.

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Robert Fellner

Robert Fellner

Vice President & Director of Policy

Robert Fellner joined the Nevada Policy Research Institute in December 2013 and currently serves as the Institute’s Vice President and Director of Policy. Robert has written extensively on the issue of transparency in government. He has also conducted legal research and assisted in crafting legal arguments for numerous public records-related lawsuits, including one which prevailed at the Nevada Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark decision that protected and expanded Nevadans’ rights to access and inspect government records.

An expert on government compensation and its impact on taxes, Robert has authored multiple studies on public pay and pensions. He has been published in Business Insider, Forbes.com, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, RealClearPolicy.com, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, ZeroHedge.com and elsewhere.

Robert has lived in Las Vegas since 2005 when he moved to Nevada to become a professional poker player. Robert has had a remarkably successfully poker career including two top 10 World Series of Poker finishes and being ranked #1 in the world at 10/20 Pot-Limit Omaha cash games.

Additionally, his economic analysis on the minimum wage won first place in a 2011 George Mason University essay contest. He also independently organized a successful grassroots media and fundraising effort for a 2012 presidential candidate, before joining the campaign in an official capacity.