In every odd-numbered year, Nevada legislators gather in Carson City to discuss and debate hundreds of bills that might become laws. For 120 days, these 63 Nevadans sacrifice time at their jobs and with their families to serve the State of Nevada in the development of policies that shape our economy, our communities and our future. I have been affiliated with the Nevada Legislature, in one way or the other, since 1989, and I am continually impressed at the caliber of legislators chosen by the voters to accomplish truly difficult tasks on behalf of all Nevadans.
The current legislative session began on Feb. 4 and will continue through June 4. As it has for more than 100 years, the Nevada Mining Association is engaged in the legislative process, watching for bills that might impact the mining industry and providing reliable information about responsible mining in Nevada. One important part of that biennial engagement is Mining Day, which took place in Carson City on a rainy Feb. 13.
Mining Day provides two key opportunities. For one, it introduces miners to the legislative process and offers the potential of having conversations with legislators from all over the state. Mining Day also offers an opportunity for legislators to talk with miners from all over the state. Such discussions are always cordial and respectful and inevitably educational for everyone involved.
The day began with a presentation from Nevada’s Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske. She described the various duties assigned to her office, such as elections and corporate filings. As the keeper of the State Seal, the secretary is the official recorder of many activities that are essential to the business community and is responsible for overseeing the election process in this state. Cegavske explained some of enhancements that are planned for business filings and noted that Nevada is a role model for other states on election integrity.
After an interesting tour of the Legislative building, miners collected in a large meeting room on the third floor of that building and heard from several legislators and agency leaders. The group was welcomed by Assemblyman Jim Wheeler who also serves as the Assembly Minority Leader. Other legislators who spoke to the group included Assemblyman John Ellison of Elko, Assemblyman Glen Leavitt of Boulder City, and Assemblyman Tom Roberts of Las Vegas. The chairwomen of the Senate and Assembly Natural Resources Committees – Sen. Melanie Scheibel and Assemblywoman Heidi Swank, both of Las Vegas — described their committees and answered questions from the audience.
Of particular interest was a panel consisting of David Bobzien, director of the Governor’s Office of Energy; Bradley Crowell, Director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; and Tom Porta, Vice Chairman of the State Environmental Commission. Facilitated by Allen Biaggi, the panel discussed several interesting topics, such as renewable energy and reclamation. The new acting state engineer, Tim Wilson, was introduced and spoke about the legislation proposed by the Division of Water Resources.
A networking reception capped the day and was extremely well attended by senators and Assembly members, all of whom had been invited. Most legislators had been busy with committee meetings, floor sessions, and other official obligations during the day, and the reception provided the only occasion to meet and chat.
In all, Mining Day fulfilled its purpose to encourage conversations among miners and policymakers. Miners also got a first-hand look at the complicated legislative process.
As the 2019 legislative session unfolds, the Nevada Mining Association will continue to be present in Carson City to ensure that the industry is represented accurately and to watch for any adverse legislation. We wish the legislators well as they conduct their duties and look forward to working with them over the remaining weeks in this session.
“Mining Day provides two key opportunities. For one, it introduces miners to the legislative process and offers the potential of having conversations with legislators from all over the state. Mining Day also offers an opportunity for legislators to talk with miners from all over the state.” — Dana Bennett, Ph.D.