A Note from Assemblywoman Jill Dickman – AD 31
First, I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to all of you who show us so much support each and every day.
Additionally, I’d like to give you some insight, from my perspective, into the 81st Legislative Session. I’ve been in and around our legislature for 2 decades and served two terms. I can tell you this was one of the most challenging sessions in many years, perhaps ever.
Benjamin Franklin once said “A democracy is two wolves and one lamb deciding what to have for lunch.” Sadly, this describes our legislative session perfectly. Democrats love to talk about bipartisanship and working together, but the reality is that’s just not how they approached this session. Instead, their large majority gave them license to pursue their own selfish interests, and shut others out. This session was all about the radical national agenda of the left.
Whenever one party controls both houses of the Legislature, the majority party is going to have the power to get more of their bills through. That’s expected. However, what is not expected, and I’d argue not representative at all, is when the majority party prevents nearly 60% of the minority party’s bills from even receiving a hearing and debate. That’s right, well over half of Republican bills were never heard. Most of those that were heard in committee, died in committee. It was the lowest percentage for either party in years. I will tell you, it was not at all like this in 2015 when Republicans controlled both houses.
Look, while no one would expect a 100% success rate, I’d at least like to think Democrats would follow through on SOME of their bipartisan promises. Democrat bills passed: 63%. Republican bills passed: a paltry 18%! Bipartisanship was nowhere to be found this session, and friends, that is simply NOT a representative Democracy.
While the Democrats controlled everything, it’s not completely on them that this session was so dismal. Democrats were strong, clever, determined and held together. Republicans missed many opportunities to stand strong. Republicans had the power to stop every single bill that required a 2/3’s majority to pass. There were a total of 88 bills introduced that had the 2/3’s requirement. Though not all of them were heard or passed out of committee, a significant number did. Due to an apparent lack of resolve, our Republican negotiating power was allowed to slip away early in session and continued till the end. We could have held up the very important Capital Improvements bill, the only 2/3’s budget bill, which absolutely needed to pass. This would have given us tremendous leverage as a caucus. Because we did not stick together and hold firm, the negotiating opportunity was lost. As a result, we’ll never know how differently the session might have ultimately concluded.
Just remember, legislators like me need your input every bit as much as we need your support. Our job is to represent you, not our own interests or agendas, and we need you to hold us accountable. That’s why when I campaigned, I let everyone know that I’d always take their call. As I write this, I’m still getting calls and emails from voters, hearing from constituents every single day, learning their thoughts on issues, and helping them with their problems (particularly unemployment-yes, that is STILL an ongoing problem!).
So, thank you again, for everything you do, and all the ways you help. Together, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work because the balance must change for the next session. We will need strong leadership and folks with backbone who will take a stand if we hope to accomplish great things for Nevada.
I want you to know I’m right here with you in this fight. If you have questions or concerns I hope you will not hesitate to call or email. As always, I truly appreciate your support and am honored to represent us in our Legislature!