Carson City (Wednesday), February 19, 2003

    Senate called to order at 11:14 a.m.

    President Hunt presiding.

    Roll called.

    All present except Senator Neal, who was excused.

    Prayer by the Chaplain, Reverend Bruce Henderson.

    Budgets, taxes, healthcare, crime―it’s easy to focus on all of the struggles we have here. Yet, today, Lord, we are reminded of our own Gerry Selover of the Front Desk as she struggles at Stanford Medical Center with her very life. Please bless us in our struggles—all of them, and help us keep them in the proper perspective.

    We pray in the Name of the One who overcomes all difficulties.


    Pledge of allegiance to the Flag.

    Senator Raggio moved that further reading of the Journal be dispensed with, and the President and Secretary be authorized to make the necessary corrections and additions.

    Motion carried.


Assembly Chamber, Carson City, February 18, 2003

To the Honorable the Senate:

    I have the honor to inform your honorable body that the Assembly on this day adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 9.

Diane Keetch

Assistant Chief Clerk of the Assembly


    By the Committee on Legislative Affairs and Operations:

    Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 10—Urging the Governor and agencies of the State Executive Branch to take certain actions concerning persons with disabilities.

    Senator Washington moved that Senate Standing Rule No. 40 be suspended and that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Legislative Affairs and Operations.

    Motion carried.

    Senator Raggio moved that the following person be accepted as an accredited press representative, and that he be assigned space at the press table and allowed the use of appropriate media facilities: RENO GAZETTE‑JOURNAL: Ray Hagar.

    Motion carried.


    By Senators O'Connell and Townsend:

    Senate Bill No. 163—AN ACT relating to insurance; prohibiting certain organizations from charging a fee for including the name of a provider of health care on a panel of providers of health care under certain circumstances; requiring a contract with a provider of health care to include a schedule setting forth the payments required to be made to the provider of health care pursuant to the contract under certain circumstances; providing a penalty; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

    Senator O'Connell moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor.

    Motion carried.

    By the Committee on Human Resources and Facilities:

    Senate Bill No. 164—AN ACT relating to persons with disabilities; creating the Office of Disability Services within the Department of Human Resources; requiring the Office to serve as the agency of State Government for persons to obtain information concerning any service or program available to persons with disabilities in this state; requiring the Office to coordinate services and programs available to persons with disabilities among state and local governmental agencies; requiring the Office to administer certain programs available in this state for persons with disabilities; making an appropriation for the provision of legal aid to persons with disabilities; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

    Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Finance.

    Motion carried.

    By Senators Schneider, Titus, Carlton, Wiener, Amodei, Care, Coffin, Hardy, McGinness, Neal, Raggio, Shaffer, Tiffany, Townsend, Washington; Assemblymen Knecht, Beers, Atkinson, Collins, Giunchigliani, Goicoechea, Goldwater, Grady, Hardy, Koivisto, Manendo, Parks, Pierce, Weber and Williams:

    Senate Bill No. 165—AN ACT relating to the State Arts Council; authorizing the Council to solicit and accept gifts, grants and donations to promote the creation of artistic works to decorate walls constructed to function as sound barriers along the highways of this state; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

    Senator Schneider moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Government Affairs.

    Motion carried.

    By Senators Titus, Washington and Wiener:

    Senate Bill No. 166—AN ACT making an appropriation to the Lowden Veterans Center and Museum for the maintenance and preservation of our nation’s history; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

    Senator Tiffany moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Finance.

    Motion carried.

    By the Committee on Commerce and Labor:

    Senate Bill No. 167—AN ACT relating to industrial insurance; authorizing a self-insured public employer under certain circumstances to file a report of its reserves in lieu of filing a bond or another authorized form of security; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

    Senator Townsend moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor.

    Motion carried.

    By the Committee on Commerce and Labor:

    Senate Bill No. 168—AN ACT relating to industrial insurance; revising certain provisions governing the disclosure of information by the Division of Industrial Relations of the Department of Business and Industry relating to an uninsured employer or proof of industrial insurance coverage; requiring a medical facility to submit a claim for compensation within a certain period after providing treatment for an injured employee; authorizing a party who is aggrieved by certain determinations of the Division relating to the Uninsured Employers’ Claim Account to appeal those determinations to an appeals officer under certain circumstances; requiring a person who wishes to contest a decision of the Administrator of the Division to impose an administrative fine or benefit penalty to file a notice of an appeal with an appeals officer within a certain period; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

    Senator Townsend moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor.

    Motion carried.

    By the Committee on Commerce and Labor:

    Senate Bill No. 169—AN ACT relating to hearing aid specialists; revising certain fees related to the licensure of hearing aid specialists; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.

    Senator Townsend moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor.

    Motion carried.


    Senate Bill No. 6.

    Bill read second time and ordered to third reading.

    Senate Bill No. 88.

    Bill read second time and ordered to third reading.

    Senate Bill No. 89.

    Bill read second time and ordered to third reading.


    Senate Bill No. 8.

    Bill read third time.

    Roll call on Senate Bill No. 8:




    Senate Bill No. 8 having received a constitutional majority, Madam President declared it passed, as amended.

    Bill ordered transmitted to the Assembly.

    Senate Bill No. 63.

    Bill read third time.

    Remarks by Senator Amodei.

    Roll call on Senate Bill No. 63:




    Senate Bill No. 63 having received a constitutional majority, Madam President declared it passed.

    Bill ordered transmitted to the Assembly.

    Senate Bill No. 70.

    Bill read third time.

    Roll call on Senate Bill No. 70:




    Senate Bill No. 70 having received a constitutional majority, Madam President declared it passed, as amended.

    Bill ordered transmitted to the Assembly.

    Senator Raggio moved that the Senate recess until 5 p.m.

    Motion carried.

    Senate in recess at 11:34 a.m.


    At 5:11 p.m.

    President Hunt presiding.

    Quorum present.


    The Sergeant at Arms announced that Assemblywoman Ohrenschall and Assemblyman Atkinson were at the bar of the Senate. Assemblywoman Ohrenschall invited the Senate to meet in Joint Session with the Assembly to hear Senator John Ensign.

    Madam President announced that if there were no objections, the Senate would recess subject to the call of the Chair.

    Senate in recess at 5:12 p.m.


    At 5:17 p.m.

    President Hunt presiding.

    The Secretary of the Senate called the Senate roll.

    All present except Senators Coffin and Mathews, who were excused.

    The Chief Clerk of the Assembly called the Assembly roll.

    All present.

    Madam President appointed a Committee on Escort consisting of Senator Hardy and Assemblyman Mabey to wait upon the Honorable Senator John Ensign and escort him to the Assembly Chamber.

    Senator Ensign delivered his message as follows:

Message to the Legislature of Nevada

Seventy-Second Session, 2003

    Lieutenant Governor Hunt, Governor Guinn, Speaker Perkins, Majority Leader Raggio, Secretary of State Heller, Attorney General Brian Sandoval, State Treasurer Brian Krolicki, Controller Kathy Augustine, Justices of the Supreme Court, my fellow Legislators and fellow Nevadans:

    Thank you for allowing me to be with you tonight. I want to extend a warm welcome, especially, to the freshman class of lawmakers. I know this is an exciting and overwhelming time for you. Nevada has an esteemed history and has been blessed by the dedication of leaders such as Joe Dini, Jake Jacobsen and, of course, the legendary Bill Raggio. There is a great deal to be learned from their decades of service, and I encourage each and every one of you to solicit their advice. In my first days in the U.S. Senate, I approached several senior Senators for any insight they could give me. I was humbled by their experiences and eager to take their advice and then make my own mark in the United States Senate.

    It’s amazing to think that almost two years to this very day that I was last here in this Capitol. Only two years ago—but on some levels it has been more like a lifetime in the history of our country.

    Less than seven months after I spoke here in 2001, the United States was attacked. It’s still unbelievable to think back to those horrific hours and the days and weeks that followed.

    It is clear today that the aftermath of those brutal strikes on America continues to resonate with us. The leadership in Washington is working to ensure the continued safety of our citizens from the wrath of lawless terrorists—something we will accomplish through the sacrifice, dedication and courage of our armed forces; local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

    Less than one month after September 11, under the leadership of President Bush, the United States responded forcefully with remarkable precision and success. Our military proved its strength and power when, at a range of 7,000 miles, with only 426 men on the ground, we destroyed a regime of terror burrowed in a climate and a geography that had pummeled many forces before us.

    We didn’t pick that fight on September 11 nor could we ignore it. To have ignored the reign of terror in Afghanistan would have given notice to Al Queda and other terrorist organizations that our airplanes, financial centers and military bases are fair play. They are not.

    Now, another battle is likely brewing in Iraq. We didn’t pick this fight either, but for the very same reasons, we cannot ignore it. More than ever, American resolve and leadership will be called upon.

    For more than ten years, Saddam Hussein has failed to comply with the United Nations resolutions. Now, much of the world community has decided that Saddam Hussein just needs a little more time. I’m sure he agrees with that—after all, he just needs a little more time to finish building his nuclear weapons. When and if that happens, we’ve all run out of time.

    It is never an easy decision to send our sons and daughters into war, but if we don’t stop Saddam Hussein now, all of our children are at an unacceptable risk. From my seat on the Armed Services Committee and as Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, I will do everything I can to ensure that our military has what they need to get the job done. None of us wants war. War has tragic consequences. But in this case, with a madman determined to produce and use the most horrible weapons on the face of the earth against innocent Americans, inaction will have far more dire consequences.

    As the issue of going to war or not going to war is raised across our country, I ask you to think about this. Several months ago, questions arose concerning what the government knew about potential terrorist activity and how soon before September 11 that intelligence was gathered. Hypothetically, if by August of 2001, the government on some level had a remote idea about what could occur, but no clear roadmap, do you think a preventive strike would have been an option?

    After all, we knew there were terrorist camps in Afghanistan. We knew they were funded by Osama Bin Laden, who is committed to the destruction of our Nation. We knew there was an increase in terrorist communications.

    If we could have spared thousands of people from the infernos on those planes and at the World Trade Center and Pentagon on that dreadful day…if we could have stopped the sorrow and mourning of hundreds of thousands of family members and friends…if we could have prevented widowed wives from giving birth to fatherless children….

    We would have acted with or without United Nations permission. We are in the same type of a situation now. As Condalesa Rice said, and I quote “We can afford to wait. We can’t to wait for a smoking gun because that smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud.”

    We were a different nation before September 11. We were more innocent and more naïve about what terrorists were truly capable of doing. Today, we have another September 11 approaching. If we do not preemptively stop the regime in Iraq from building its arsenal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, there will be another September 11. Make no mistake about it—with the potential to be far more devastating to far more people. Only this time there will be no excuses for our inaction.

    Obviously, the conflict in Iraq is at the forefront of what is going on in Washington, D.C., and across the world. But there are many other issues we are working on that have a direct impact on Nevada that I would like to share with you.

    Last year, President Bush signed into law landmark education reform. Nevada students benefited to the tune of at least $75 million in new funding over the next five years. The No Child Left Behind Act increases flexibility in how states utilize education dollars, increases accountability by requiring annual testing in math and reading and empowers parents to ensure that their children don’t get stuck in failing schools.

    After hearing from educators in Nevada about the challenges and frustrations of a budget that can’t possibly keep up with our rapid growth, I went back to Washington and fought to include a high-growth grant provision to ensure that fast-growing states like Nevada would receive the funding that we deserve. The law now requires the federal government to annually count the number of students in Nevada as opposed to past practices which cost our State millions and millions of dollars. Over the course of the authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, this means an additional, at least, $55 million for the State of Nevada in Title I funds alone—funds which go to assist the most disadvantaged students.

    None of us would be willing to accept the fact that half of our Nation’s students are not performing at proficient levels, a situation that shortchanges them in their quest for a quality future. All children have the right to a quality education regardless of their race or socio‑economic level, and the No Child Left Behind Act is designed to help those children who are most at risk of failing. Is this difficult to implement? Absolutely. Are there challenges ahead for you? Yes. Let me assure you that there is talk out there, we had a meeting with Senator Raggio and some other Senators beforehand, that there is an adequate funding to implement the testing. There is adequate funding in the bill that we are providing from Washington, D.C., to do the testing. Let me assure you of that. But even if there isn’t, it specifically says in the bill that this is not going to be an unfunded mandate because you do not have to do the testing if we do not provide the funds. So we will provide the funds for Washington D.C. to implement the No Child Left Behind Act.

    From my office, I have been sending them out across the state answering questions about this Act, and I want to encourage you, if you see problems, I am on the Education Committee now, I want to hear about those problems. We want to try to fix, as you know, you never craft perfect legislation, and we want to fix the deficiencies in the Act. A perfect example, not regarding this Act, a group was in from Nye County, and they were talking about the after-school programs and some of the mandates the federal government has on a certain number of instructors per students. It makes sense in, maybe, a classroom setting but in an after-school setting, they are at the point where they can’t take their high-school-age kids on field trips because they cannot afford to have that many adults with the children. This is a simple fix that we can do in Washington, D.C., to eliminate that mandate. Those are the kinds of ideas that I want to hear from you about.

    Another issue with which you are all familiar is the challenge to protect patient access to quality health care. I commend you for the important first step you took last year to help stop the exodus of doctors. Unfortunately, Nevada, though, is not the only state that is affected. Several other states are seeing physicians, hospitals and other health care providers limit their services or leave the profession altogether. This year, I will reintroduce the Health Act to strengthen patient access to care through common sense reform across the United States.

    The Health Act has several key reforms including a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages. Such a cap is crucial to reduce healthcare costs for all of us. We know these are reasonable reforms because they work in California and in Colorado. An OB/GYN in Clark County paid as much as $141,760 for medical liability premiums in 2002. In Los Angeles those same premiums were down to $54,500, and in Denver, they were just above $30,000. Both states have had medical liability reform on their books for several years.

    Stopping abusive lawsuits is critical to protecting those patients who deserve adequate compensation from injury, allowing doctors to provide care without fear of abusive lawsuits and helping reduce healthcare costs for every citizen. But medical liability reform is not enough. It is also essential that doctors enforce accountability within their professions. State insurance commissions must vigorously protect consumers from price gouging by insurance companies.

    This is no longer a Republican versus Democrat issue or even a doctor versus lawyer issue. This is now a patient issue. We need to continue to provide patients everywhere the opportunity to receive affordable, accessible, quality health care for years to come. A crisis in which couples feel forced to move away from Nevada to start a family is just unacceptable, and we must work together to solve this problem.

    When it comes to providing quality health care, another important step we must take is to ensure that our senior citizens can afford the prescriptions that they need. We’ve all heard first hand of the terrible hardships where seniors have to choose between paying rent and getting prescription drugs or between taking a full dose of their medicine or half a dose on a daily basis. There is nothing healthy about these realities, nor is it healthy for society to stand by as our seniors struggle with these daily dilemmas. I’m working to make prescription drug coverage for Medicare seniors a reality. Once again, Nevada led the way, and I compliment you, Governor, and the rest of you for Senior Rx in Nevada. It’s time for the federal government now to catch up to what you’ve done.

    This year, I will be reintroducing legislation that would provide an overdue and much-needed prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program. It will offer a responsible solution to make medicine more affordable for those seniors who need it most.

    It will also provide immediate help to our Nation’s seniors in the form of a benefit that is voluntary, reliable and gives seniors options. It will do so in a manner that complements—rather than replaces—the private prescription drug coverage that two-thirds of retirees currently have today. Many seniors like their current prescription drug coverage and should not be forced to abandon them.

    I am working to ensure that any prescription drug benefit that Congress enacts fits well with what has been done on the state level. In addition, passage of a prescription drug benefit needs to be responsible not only to our senior citizens but also to the taxpayers. There are ways to implement such a program without bankrupting Medicare or the taxpayer.

    Seniors are not the only ones struggling to stretch tight incomes in order to meet growing needs. Families in Nevada and across the United States face the challenge of paying their tax burden; providing food, clothing and shelter for their children and working even harder to have money left over so they can pay medical bills, enjoy a family vacation, save for education costs or put money away for retirement.

    In an effort to allow families to keep more of their hard-earned money, President Bush has proposed an aggressive economic stimulus package that makes tax relief a priority. I fully agree with the importance of tax relief to economic stimulation, and last week, I introduced legislation in the Senate to end one of the most unfair taxes levied on American workers. Working Americans are forced to pay income tax on their Social Security taxes. This Social Security tax is textbook double taxation that robs working Americans. This means that when a family pays income tax, the portion that is withheld for Social Security—money that they never see until retirement—is calculated into their personal income. When they retire, they get taxed on it. So this is clearly double taxation.

    With my legislation, 100 million individuals and families would feel the savings—to the tune of around $2,000 per family. Savings like that translate into real growth and opportunity. Scholars predict that our legislation would produce about one million jobs in the United States. This is a stimulus package that deserves to be enacted into law.

    Here in Nevada, we know the importance of opportunity. Most people came to our great State for a better quality of life and opportunity. They deserve the best schools for their children, access to top-notch health care at all stages of life and a chance to succeed. These are issues that we can work together on, for the benefit of all Nevadans. My door is always open to you, and I encourage you to keep me informed of what we can do in Washington, D.C., to be more effective here at home.

    Nevadans now have the benefit of five members of our Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., with the addition of Congressman Porter. Interestingly, Congressional Quarterly noted that no two Senators from the same delegation have different voting records than Senator Reid and I have. Yet, the relation that we share is really a model for a closely divided Senate. But make no mistake about it, he is still a proud Democrat, and I am still a proud Republican. When it comes to issues that most affect the State of Nevada, these issues are usually not partisan. That is where our relationship comes into play. Two great examples of our relationship were killing the ban on NCAA sports betting and passing the Clark County Lands bill that was signed into law last year. We brought opposing groups together to create this legislation that will greatly improve the quality of life in southern Nevada for generations to come.

    The Clark County Lands bill was based on model legislation that former Senator Dick Bryan and I put together called the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. The success of that legislation continues to unfold as hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised to acquire environmentally sensitive lands, build parks and trails, and make improvements in our recreation and conservation areas. This legislation has already improved the quality of life in this State and will continue to do so.

    Quality of life issues including education, health care and taxes will be the focus of debate in this State Capital and in our Nation’s Capital over the next several months. We must remember what a privilege it is to have the right to debate these issues, for our constituents to have the ability to share their opinions with us and for the media to freely report that debate, although some of us don’t like that sometimes. This legislative body and the freedoms that we have must be cherished. They are the very reasons that despots around the world hate us. As these debates and others develop, we must remember the responsibility we uphold as leaders of a democratic nation.

    I thank you, tonight, for your service and commitment to the State of Nevada. I ask you to join me in praying for our men and women in uniform. I ask you to join me in praying for our President, and I ask you to join me in praying for peace. We don’t want to go war. I ask you to join me with that. And now I bid you adieu. Thank you for allowing me to share a few words with you tonight. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

    Senator Nolan moved that the Senate and Assembly in Joint Session extend a vote of thanks to Senator Ensign for his timely, able and constructive message.

    Motion carried.

    The Committee on Escort escorted Senator Ensign to the bar of the Assembly.

    Senator Cegavske moved that the Joint Session be dissolved.

    Motion carried.

    Joint Session dissolved at 5:43 p.m.


    At 5:45 p.m.

    President Hunt presiding.

    Quorum present.


Signing of Bills and Resolutions

    There being no objections, the President and Secretary signed Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 8.


    On request of Senator Raggio, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to the following staff and students from the Bishop Manogue Catholic High School: Tom Adams, Brent Alexander, Eve Allen, Liz Andrews, Weston Arnold, Angela Bai, Haley Ballinger, Andi Bardelli, Richard Barkley, Rex Barton, Nick Basso, Jessica Beairsto, Crystal Becerra, Michael Beers, Mary Benna, Nathan Berry, Nick Bogan, Paul Brandl, Lance Brophy, Matt Bunn, Marie Burbank, Katland Butler, Alex Bybee, Corri Callahan, Rachel Capurro, Natalie Carano, Angelo Carreon, Kristin Carter, Alex Chambers, Brittany Chandler, George Chemor, Mike Chunat, Chris Cobb, Clint Congdon, Jessica Crawford, Tyson Cross, Kaylene Crum, Terran Dear, Justin Degelman, Adrian Delatorre, Chanse Dennis, Annamaria Desipris, Darren Deweese, Elizabeth Driscoll, Melissa Dulcey, Lawrence Edwards, Becca Elston, David Everling, Erik Fostvedt, Nate Franklin, Rachel Fuetsch, Lindsay Funston, Victoria Gallwas, Kourtney Gansert, Gunnar Garms, Ben Garrido, Stephani Gehlen, Nicole Gerrard, Jen Gianoli, Anna Gilbert, Tracie Grant, Colin Green, Christy Griffin, Lorena Groeneveld, Keenan Haley, Ashley Hall, Jessica Hartman, Nick Higman, Jennifer Hodges, Joey Hodges, Therese Hooft, Rafa Ibaibarriaga, Tony Jimenez, Casha Kayfer, Mike Kessler, Erin Kette, Stepehen Komadina, Ryan Lanning, Mitzi, Labranch, Breanna Leuthold, Andy Logan, Kate Lomen, Matt Lucero, Brendan Lujan, Monica Maloney, Andrew Maloof, Tina Marshall, Carly Mathisen, Clark McBride, Jim McCarthy, Cody McElroy, Pete McHugh, Emily McKenna, Julie Minnix, Brennan Mishler, Erika Mortlock, James Moss, Andrew Nehrkorn, Tasha Nielsen, Austin Nunez, Michael O'Mara, Jen Paine, Richard Parise, Sabrina Paulsen, Ryan Pinjuv, Scott Poindexter, Betsy Polak, Stephanie Rector, Whitney Richburg, Travis Riley, Clint Robbins, Kenzie Romero, Katie Rossi, Jennifer Rowan, Victoria Sanders, Karey Sarlo, Thomas Schwedhelm, Matthew Shafer, Devin Seidel, Levi Smith, Kyleianne Soule, Hank Sprague, Jen Staats, Donel Sullivan, Matt Sweeney, Kyle Swift, Aimee Taylor, S. Taylor-Caldwell, Amy Thrower, Dan Torres, Josh Valverde, A. J. Vaus, Jennifer Walker, Brittany Walshaw, Valeria White, Cheryl Wilkerson, Blaine Wimsatt, Monica Woolridge; chaperones: Barbie Marcco, Tim Jaureguito, Chris O'Gara, Bob Sullivan; teachers: Frank Martinez and Jack Neal.

    On request of Senator Titus, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Kimberly Victoria, Dave Duritsa, Mark Floyd, Eddie Schmidt, Darwin Schutte, Dan Geary and Tony Reyes.

    Senator Raggio moved that the Senate adjourn until Thursday, February 20, 2003, at 11 a.m.

    Motion carried.

    Senate adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

Approved:                                                                  Lorraine T. Hunt

                                                                                   President of the Senate

Attest:    Claire J. Clift

                Secretary of the Senate