Rice Ballot Questions

Councilman John Patrick Rice discusses state ballot questions Tuesday at Elko City Hall. 

ELKO — Elko’s City government has taken a stance on three of the four state ballot questions.

City Attorney Dave Stanton told the Elko City Council, before discussions ensued, the statutory requirements regarding spending public money in support of the items.

He stipulated to the government body that a public officer or employee cannot monetarily “incur an expense or make an expenditure to support or oppose a ballot question.”

Four of the five members are against Question 1, which is an amendment to the Nevada Revised Statutes concerning background checks for private gun sales.

“First of all, I think that Question 1 is a reasonable question and I support Question 1,” said Councilman John Patrick Rice.

He called it reasonable gun control and said it was important to note the petition was brought to the Legislature and it “declined to consider,” bringing it into the hands of the citizens.

Rice said he told Congressman Mark Amodei gun control initiatives aren’t even considered in the chambers.

State Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, asked the council to vote no, said Mayor Chris Johnson.

A volunteer of the National Rifle Association Nevadans for Freedom addressed the council to “encourage them to address a no vote on ballot question No.1.”

Other points included the initiative being about control, not safety, the new laws and potential criminalization that will occur if passed. Additionally, it was stated guns used for criminal means are usually obtained the same way.

Another member of the public said it was the first step toward confiscation.

All five members of the council were opposed to Question 2, proposing the purchase, cultivation, possession or consumption of a determined amount of recreational marijuana for those 21 years or older.

“I don’t think this legislation is in the best interests of the citizens of Elko,” said Rice, explaining the last polls he looked at are showing the likelihood of its passage.

He called it a lack of leadership on the part of the Legislature as it was also brought before lawmakers.

Councilman Reece Keener drafted a letter, signed by Johnson and the council, to be submitted as a letter to the editor to the Elko Daily Free Press, because of his strong feelings on the issue.

The original version cited multiple issues faced by Colorado — some of which were disputed by Rice.

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The document included a discussion of marijuana laced candy — as the drug is more than smoked — and the increased burden that would be placed on mine safety.

Cathy McAdoo, former founding executive director of PACE Coalition, in consideration of public safety and welfare, asked for the council to not support Question 2.

A stance was not taken by the council on Question 3 as there were a lot of unknowns.

It looks at Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution to require the establishment of an open, competitive retail electric energy market, creating a prohibition against granting “monopolies and exclusive franchises for the generation of electricity.”

Question 4 was unanimously supported by an up or down vote, save Rice, who was not present for the discussion.

It would amend Article 10 of the Nevada Constitution to provide a tax exemption for medical, oxygen delivery and mobility enhancing equipment. Those exempt apparatuses are prescribed by a licensed health care provider on the sale, storage, use or consumption of tangible personal property.

Keener said he believed the main consumers of the items are the elderly and the economically disadvantaged.

“In some of the cases, some of these are impacted by the new ACA laws … the Affordable Care Act that imposed medical device taxes on certain items,” he said. “I think it would be good to provide an exemption for these items.”

“Some of these devices, you wouldn’t think they’re very expensive … Of course, insurance companies are picking up the lion’s share of the cost, but you can see for someone who doesn’t have good insurance … the sales tax on it alone would be a fairly significant component,” said City Manager Curtis Calder. “Some of these devices, it’s like buying a car.”

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