Originally Published on NevadaNewsmakers.com, 5/21/2007 11:13:14 AM
The objective in the lawmaking process often appears to be achieving 63-0.
An astonishing number of bills in this highly partisan atmosphere end up passing one house or the other, or both, with unanimous approval. The process begins with strong advocacy of a proposal. The proposals rarely go unchallenged. The opponents and advocates alter the proposals until they’re acceptable to everyone. And once they’re acceptable to everyone, they lose a lot of their initial appeal. But on they go, and then they’re law.
The point here is that occasionally — far too occasionally from the Reasonable Reporter’s perspective — there are contrarians. Agree or not with their positions, the arguments are fabulous to hear in a place where everyone is working toward unanimity. And here are a few who come to mind for recent actions.
Senator Bob Coffin, who cast the only “nay” when both houses passed a resolution asking the Congress to repeal the Real ID act. He says his colleagues have supported a lot of feel-good border control and immigration measures that won’t really protect the nation from terrorism, but the Real ID measure has some validity, and they’ve nixed it because of the cost.
Sticker shock is a bad reason, says Coffin.
Senator Joe Heck, who voted against the notion that the state is entitled to receive abandoned funds that paid for an unused gift card. He says the state is not entitled to touch money from a private transaction, just because the gift goes unused by its intended recipeint. (Bob Beers and Barbara Cegavske cast the other two no votes on this one. But they are more regular and recognizable contrarians.)
Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson, who refused last week to allow a committee vote on the primary seatbelt law, and didn’t hesitate to say something approximating “it won’t happen on my watch.” Senators Terry Care, Dina Titus, and Maggie Carlton were contrarians on the seatbelt issue weeks ago, questioning whether it would facilitiate “pretext” stops. There was a time when this would not have been a contrarian question. But the mainstream thinking now favors public safety first, and all else follows.
Senator Mike McGinness, who cast the only nay on a bill that add killing or injuring an animal to the definition of domestic violence. McGinness feared unintended consequences when violators are deprived of the right to carry firearms.