THE THIRTY-SECOND DAY
Carson City (Thursday), March 6, 2003
Senate called to order at 11:24 a.m.
President Hunt presiding.
Prayer by the Chaplain, Monte Fast, Director of Friends in Service Helping.
The historic measure of a society is not crumbling structures or power. It is rather the beauty that remains, the art and culture that continues to be expressed and experienced by succeeding generations.
We thank You for the educators, librarians, artists, authors and musicians of our State. They preserve all that is beautiful.
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.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES
Your Committee on Government Affairs, to which were referred Senate Bills Nos. 113, 140, 174, has had the same under consideration, and begs leave to report the same back with the recommendation: Do pass.
Ann O'Connell, Chairman
Your Committee on Natural Resources, to which were referred Senate Bills Nos. 18, 46, 72, has had the same under consideration, and begs leave to report the same back with the recommendation: Do pass.
Dean A. Rhoads, Chairman
MESSAGES FROM THE ASSEMBLY
Assembly Chamber, Carson City, March 5, 2003
To the Honorable the Senate:
I have the honor to inform your honorable body that the Assembly on this day passed, as amended, Assembly Bills Nos. 40, 42.
Also, I have the honor to inform your honorable body that the Assembly on this day concurred in the Senate Amendment No. 12 to Assembly Bill No. 10.
Assistant Chief Clerk of the Assembly
MOTIONS, RESOLUTIONS AND NOTICES
By Senators Care, Amodei, Carlton, Cegavske, Coffin, Hardy, Mathews, McGinness, Neal, Nolan, O'Connell, Raggio, Rawson, Rhoads, Schneider, Shaffer, Tiffany, Titus, Townsend, Washington, Wiener; Assemblymen Goldwater, Anderson, Andonov, Angle, Arberry, Atkinson, Beers, Brown, Buckley, Carpenter, Chowning, Christensen, Claborn, Collins, Conklin, Geddes, Gibbons, Giunchigliani, Goicoechea, Grady, Griffin, Gustavson, Hardy, Hettrick, Horne, Knecht, Koivisto, Leslie, Mabey, Manendo, Marvel, McClain, McCleary, Mortenson, Oceguera, Ohrenschall, Parks, Perkins, Pierce, Sherer, Weber and Williams:
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 14—Memorializing prominent physician and philanthropist Elias Ghanem.
WHEREAS, Elias Ghanem, known for his skill and caring as a physician and for his spirit of generosity, was born on March 12, 1939, in Haifa, Israel, and was a 30-year resident of Las Vegas; and
WHEREAS, Elias Ghanem arrived in the United States in 1963 looking for the American Dream, with little more than $90 to his name and a scholarship to a North Carolina college, and at times lived out of his car while subsequently working his way through Duke University School of Medicine; and
WHEREAS, After interning at the University of Southern California, Elias Ghanem journeyed to Las Vegas in 1971 to become an emergency room physician at Sunrise Hospital, beginning what was to be a long and illustrious career in the medical field; and
WHEREAS, A few years later, Dr. Ghanem began his own family practice, and beginning in 1977, he opened the first of several 24-hour clinics, Las Vegas Medical Centers, to serve the people of Las Vegas; and
WHEREAS, After serving as the hotel doctor for the Las Vegas Hilton, Dr. Ghanem became known as the “physician to the stars” because he became the personal physician to such celebrities as Elvis Presley, Liberace, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Ann-Margret, Wayne Newton and Virginia Kelley, the mother of former President Bill Clinton; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Ghanem cared for patients from every walk of life, including casino workers, culinary workers and teachers, and was known for treating everyone with the same care and dignity, whether the patient be poor and homeless or a celebrity; and
WHEREAS, During the 6-year strike at the Frontier Hotel, one of the longest labor disputes in the history of this country, Dr. Ghanem provided free medical care and delivered more than 100 babies for the striking workers; and
WHEREAS, Through the Elias F. Ghanem Medical Scholarship Fund, there are many more doctors and nurses in the medical field to carry on his legacy of dedicated medical care; and
WHEREAS, Elias Ghanem, known for his generous nature and charm, lived life to the fullest, was fluent in French, Arabic, English and Hebrew, and immersed himself in the worlds of medicine, politics, philanthropy, entertainment and sports, especially boxing; and
WHEREAS, During his 14-year tenure on the Nevada Athletic Commission, Elias Ghanem served intermittently as Chairman, with Nevada hosting an unprecedented number of major championship fights which were televised throughout the world and which broke records for gross paid gates, increasing the visibility and enhancing the reputation of the State of Nevada as a force in the world of professional boxing; and
WHEREAS, As the Commissioner of the Nevada Athletic Commission, Elias Ghanem was largely attributed with raising the stature of boxing in Nevada by implementing health and safety procedures which have been adopted throughout the boxing world, such as mandating that all boxing rings in Nevada have four ropes, instead of three, to prevent fighters from sustaining serious injury from falling through the ropes, and mandating the testing of boxers for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C; and
WHEREAS, Among his many awards, Elias Ghanem was the recipient of the University of Nevada Distinguished Nevadan Award, the Victor Award for his contribution to sports, and was named “Man of the Year” for the National Jewish Hospital and American Jewish Committee; and
RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, THE ASSEMBLY CONCURRING, That the members of the 72nd Session of the Nevada Legislature do hereby extend their sincere condolences to the family and friends of Elias Ghanem; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the residents of the State of Nevada will miss the compassion, generosity and enthusiasm of Elias Ghanem; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of the Senate prepare and transmit a copy of this resolution to Elias Ghanem’s loving wife, Jody.
Senator Care moved the adoption of the resolution.
Remarks by Senators Care, Titus and Townsend.
Senator Care requested that the following remarks be entered in the Journal.
Thank you, Madam President. This is my third session, and this is the only time I have introduced such a resolution.
I know these should be used sparingly, and I cannot think of a better occasion to use one than this. The resolution mentions that Elias Ghanem was a doctor to the stars, a true statement mentioned in the newspaper several times. He had a lot of fun with that. The underlying fact was that he was a great doctor. He was a doctor to tens of thousands of ordinary people. He offered free care during the six-year strike at the Frontier Hotel. He delivered many babies at no charge. His actions say a lot about Dr. Ghanem and the type of man he was.
We do not have enough paper in this building to print this man’s life history. The longer he is gone, the more I learn about him. I did not know until the other day that there is a Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, named after Elias Ghanem.
If they ever do a remake of the motion picture It’s a Wonderful Life, they must do it based on the life of Elias Ghanem. That is the movie where a man wonders what life would be like if he had never lived. I cannot imagine what it would be like, nor could I draw the lines or make the connections to the people in this State who have been affected by the generosity, the compassion and the charm of Elias Ghanem. He took Nevada seriously.
He worried about the image of Nevada. That was apparent during the 14 years he spent on the Nevada Athletic Commission. I was astounded when, during the last Session, though quite ill with cancer at that time, he appeared via television from the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas and testified on a bill about the regulation of boxing in this State. It took a great deal for him to do that, but he wanted to go through the experience.
I received a letter from a friend, Stan Hunterton, and I want to read this into the record for it conveys better than I can the feelings I have for Elias Ghanem.
The first time I met Dr. Ghanem, we were to review the contracts with all his doctors at his clinic, which he had entered into prior to retaining our firm to represent him. These “contracts” were written on an assortment of napkins, airsickness bags, note paper and even a few typed, but unsigned documents. Right then I offered Elias a deal, “If you will stop practicing law, I will give up the practice of medicine.”
Elias laughed his beautiful laugh, agreed to my terms, and we embarked upon a friendship that will always be one of the great blessings of my life, as well as the lives of my two sons, Gabe and Nate, who he cared for as long as he could. And when he could no longer care for them, he continued to care about them.
The contributions of Elias Ghanem to the field of managed healthcare become a beacon in the darkness that others would do well to follow. Thirty thousand plus culinary workers enjoy extraordinary healthcare coverage for themselves and their families. The major casino corporations of Nevada enjoy manageable, predictable costs for coverage and a healthy, productive workforce. This “win-win” model was in large measure the work of Dr. Ghanem. If it sounds like a modest accomplishment, take yourself on a quick, mental tour of this country and ask yourself what other industries, in what other states, have accomplished in healthcare what Dr. Ghanem taught us how to do here.
He was also active in governmental affairs, the regulation of boxing and many other civic and charitable endeavors. Elias rarely met a worthy cause that he was unwilling to fight for. He put both his talent for bringing people together and his money—as well as other people’s money—where his mouth was. All of this good work, however, had an ironic side effect. Elias is not often remembered for his most important professional passion, the one thing which was most important to him outside of his family—the practice of medicine. While it is often the more prominent, newsworthy items we associate with Dr. Ghanem, such as presidential stays at his home, his work with Mike Tyson and numerous other such events, the fact is, he was a great doctor.
As he lost his ability to participate vigorously in public affairs, and then the ability to practice medicine, Elias focused on his family and friends. In that phase of his life, he took on yet one more role, that of master teacher. For Jody, for his children and for his friends, he had wisdom, and he passed it along to us. The last lesson was the greatest. He would often say, “We can beat this thing.” At first, I thought he meant only that he could actually regain his health. Then I learned that he meant that if we worked hard enough at being good to each other and bring out the best in those around us, if we enjoyed the great gifts of love and life the best we could every day, if we laughed and cried together every day, then “we can bear this thing.”
The State of Nevada will miss this man, and I will miss my friend.
I would like to think that by adopting this resolution, today, we demonstrate that Elias did in fact “beat this thing.” Thank you.
I, too, rise in support of this resolution honoring Dr. Ghanem, a wonderful Nevadan. I do not intend to say much because the resolution outlines Dr. Ghanem’s amazing life and many accomplishments. Senator Care has expressed feelings of the same respect and gratitude that I share. I would like to point out the many things Dr. Ghanem did—for patients, boxers, the culinary union, political candidates and for me personally—were enhanced by his wonderful wife, Jody. I would like to take this opportunity to thank her.
Let me also share some of Dr. Ghanem’s own words. They seem appropriate. He loved politics and American history, and he once said, “As a student, I just could not get over my love for this country and all that it provided. I was the perfect American cheerleader.” Indeed, he was.
Thank you, Madam President. Senator Care and Senator Titus were very articulate in their comments. I would like to add a personal note to these proceedings.
If it were not for Jody and Elias, I would not be standing here before you as the most happily married man in the world. My first date with my wife was a result of a function at their home. Though it took six weeks after the function for her to speak to me, she did get over it, and eventually, we came to know each other better. Jody and Elias were the most gracious of hosts.
There are hundreds of stories I would like to tell about Elias. I think there is one that is the most telling of him and how he felt about his family. I went through a number of photos I have at home. His son, Elias, who was as a child known as “Little Elias” though now he is 6’3” and not so little, and my wife’s son, Garret, grew up together in the same neighborhood and went to the same schools. They are the best of friends. I have photos of Dr. Ghanem and myself putting up little signs for baseball games and soccer teams. We put banners up for various basketball teams on which our sons played. He never missed those games. He was a great cheerleader for his son and his family. He never missed an event. He marveled at them all.
Elias never hooked his cell phone anywhere. It was always in his hand. If any patient needed him to provide comfort or insight, he was there. He managed to do both of those things and to do them well.
I am happy to see the family here. When we look back on the life of Dr. Ghanem, we can draw from him the things we should all be. We should all be cheerleaders for this country. We should all be good family members. We should all be good professional people. It is great to see you all; God bless you, Jody.
Senator Care moved that all rules be suspended and that Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 14 be immediately transmitted to the Assembly.
Motion carried unanimously.
Resolution ordered transmitted to the Assembly.
Senator Care moved that the Senate recess subject to the call of the Chair.
Senate in recess at 11: 40 a.m.
SENATE IN SESSION
At 11:46 a.m.
President Hunt presiding.
MESSAGES FROM THE ASSEMBLY
Assembly Chamber, Carson City, March 6, 2003
To the Honorable the Senate:
I have the honor to inform your honorable body that the Assembly on this day adopted Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 6.
MOTIONS, RESOLUTIONS AND NOTICES
WHEREAS, On December 18, 2001, the residents of Nevada experienced the loss of fellow Nevadan, Henry “Hank” Etchemendy, whose decades of public service working in various positions of influence throughout Nevada evidenced his love for his home state and its people; and
WHEREAS, The son of Basque parents, Henry Etchemendy was born October 6, 1923, in Elko, graduated from Elko High School and attended Colorado College at Colorado Springs for 2 years where he majored in civil engineering; and
WHEREAS, Henry Etchemendy served in the United States Marine Corps at Guadalcanal during World War II and returned to the Corps as an artillery instructor and aerial photography interpreter during the Korean War; and
WHEREAS, While starting as a building inspector in Elko in 1952, Hank Etchemendy became the first City Manager of Elko in 1955, a position he held for 11 years before moving to Carson City in 1966; and
WHEREAS, As the first City Manager of Carson City and the last County Manager of Ormsby County, Hank Etchemendy successfully guided those two governments to consolidation in 1969 and continued his work in the Capital City until 1978 when he left to become Reno’s City Manager; and
WHEREAS, Known as a financial and budgetary expert, his expertise was put to good use as a member of the committee that developed the Local Government Budget Act and also as a member of advisory committees to both the Nevada Tax Commission and the Department of Taxation; and
WHEREAS, These same talents were apparent when, as an active member of the Nevada League of Cities, Hank helped develop a format to measure the financial health of cities and counties; and
WHEREAS, As Executive Director of the Nevada Association of School Boards for 15 years, Hank worked tirelessly on behalf of Nevada’s local school districts and his many achievements are reflected in the commonly held sentiment that “the school children of Nevada, now and into the future, are better off because of Hank Etchemendy”; and
WHEREAS, Hank made similarly valuable contributions during his longtime service as a consultant to the Board of the Nevada Parent Teachers’ Association on legislative issues; and
WHEREAS, Hank Etchemendy is survived by his wife, Peggy, sons, Larry, Arnold and Bill, several grandchildren, and his sister Mary Guccini; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED BY THE ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, THE SENATE CONCURRING, That the members of the 72nd Nevada Legislature express their deep sense of loss and extend their sincere condolences to the family and many friends of Henry “Hank” Etchemendy; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the kindness, fairness, honesty and commitment of Hank Etchemendy will be remembered by all whose lives have been touched by his public service to the cities and schools of Nevada; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly prepare and transmit a copy of this resolution to Peggy Etchemendy, Hank’s loving wife of 53 years.
Senator Raggio moved the adoption of the resolution.
Remarks by Senators Raggio, Rhoads and Rawson.
Senator Raggio requested that the following remarks be entered in the Journal.
Thank you, Madam President. In the previous resolution we adopted, Senator Care noted that it should be used sparingly, and this is another where I think it is most deserved.
It is fitting that we pause, today, and recognize the service of Henry Etchemendy. Everyone knew him as “Hank.”
I think Hank exemplifies the kind of man he was. He was strictly a “guy’s guy,” and he compiled one of the longest records of public service in this State. I, along with many of you, have had the pleasure of knowing him, working with him and enjoying his company.
As you heard, he was proud of his past heritage, and we often kidded him about that. He gave so much of his life and his talent.
He grew up in Elko and became the city manager of Elko in 1955. He was the first city manager there and held that position for over a decade; then, they recognized his talent and he became Carson City’s city manager. Ultimately, he became county manager and was a budgetary expert; there was not much he did not know about the budgetary process.
He was on the advisory committee to the Tax Commission and the Department of Taxation, and later, he represented all of the cities in the State as the representative of the Nevada Cities and League of Cities.
We came to know him through the years in his legislative role as spokesman. Then as the consultant to the Board of the Nevada Parent Teachers’ Association, he displayed his great interest and efforts toward the furtherance and betterment of education.
It was truly a loss for all of us when Hank died, and I know we were all saddened. Each of us, who had the pleasure of working with him, knew he was never an irritant. He was always a forceful, knowledgeable person who appeared before many of our committees and always had something appropriate to say. He never tried your patience.
He was a good role model not only for those who will follow in his footsteps but for all lobbyists. We are better off in the legislative process as well as in the education process for the input from Hank Etchemendy.
He loved this State, and was passionate about not only education but about the State as a whole. I would urge us to join with our colleges in the Assembly in remembering the lifetime of service and dedication of Hank Etichemendy.
I agree with everything Senator Raggio said. Though I was born and raised in Elko County, I never knew Henry Etchemendy. The year I arrived, he left to go to Carson City to become their city manager.
I later came to know him when I was first elected to the Assembly in 1976. During the Session of 1977, he became a valuable asset to me. I really became close to him when I got to the Senate. Billie Brinkman, Hank’s sister-in-law, has been my secretary for eight sessions. Hank used to spend a lot of time in my office giving me direction for information I needed. He always had the answer.
He became the executive director of the Nevada Association of School Boards for 15 years. About that time, my wife was on the school board for 12 years. Every time I called her and asked her about some issue, she would say, “Go call Hank; go talk to Hank.” He was a great source of information in history, and he was greatly respected. We will miss him.
Thank you, Madam President. I think Hank’s family should know some things about the way we looked to him for advice.
In the Senate Committee on Human Resources and Facilities, we hear the education issues. There are many people that are well educated who testified before the committee. There are many people with much experience.
We do not have as many people who come before us with as much wisdom as Hank. At the end of any hearing on an education issue, Hank would approach the table, and he would always ask us, “Are you sure you really want to do this because of its effect?” He imparted much wisdom to us all.
We always listened to him. I do not know that we always agreed, but we followed his advice many times because there was wisdom to it.
Several times this session, at the end of a hearing, I have looked up to see what Hank would say about the subject at hand. I have been a little bit out of the loop for I did not understand why he was not there. His passing is a loss to us all, and his family should know that.
Resolution ordered transmitted to the Assembly.
INTRODUCTION, FIRST READING AND REFERENCE
By the Committee on Human Resources and Facilities:
Senate Bill No. 239—AN ACT relating to health; requiring the Department of Human Resources to establish a statewide information and referral system for health, welfare, human and social services; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Human Resources and Facilities.
By Senator Townsend:
Senate Bill No. 240—AN ACT relating to public employees; allowing the surviving spouse of a deceased police officer or fireman to continue to receive death benefits under industrial insurance after the surviving spouse remarries; making certain provisions apply retroactively to allow certain benefits to be made available to the surviving spouses and children of certain police officers and firemen killed in the line of duty; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
Senator O'Connell moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor.
By the Committee on Commerce and Labor:
Senate Bill No. 241—AN ACT relating to real property; making various changes to provisions governing certain claims for constructional defects; establishing certain rights, remedies and procedures governing certain claims for constructional defects; revising and recodifying various provisions governing certain claims for constructional defects; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
Senator O'Connell moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor.
Assembly Bill No. 40.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
Assembly Bill No. 42.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Transportation.
GENERAL FILE AND THIRD READING
Assembly Bill No. 26.
Bill read third time.
Remarks by Senator Amodei.
Roll call on Assembly Bill No. 26:
Assembly Bill No. 26 having received a constitutional majority, Madam President declared it passed.
Bill ordered transmitted to the Assembly.
Signing of Bills and Resolutions
There being no objections, the President and Secretary signed Assembly Bill No. 10.
GUESTS EXTENDED PRIVILEGE OF SENATE FLOOR
On request of Senator Amodei, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Sally Edwards and Barney Dehl.
On request of Senator Cegavske, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Cindy DeLanty.
On request of Senator Mathews, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Frankie Lukaso, Ellen Fockler and Lucille Adin.
On request of Senator McGinness, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Barbara Mathews and Ashlee Hicks.
On request of Senator Raggio, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Peggy Etchemendy, Larry Etchemendy, Bill Etchemendy, Arnold Etchemendy, Brandon Etchemendy, Billie Brinkman, former Senator Don Ashworth, Nancy Cummings, Martha Gould and the following students, faculty and chaperones from the Roy Gomm Elementary School: Rylan Bailey, Veronica Becher, Faith Benesch, Caden Bird, Brian Bo’Lotin, Sean Bryant, Elaine Carpenter, William Charles, Elizabeth Cole, Tyler Cook, Sean Corneil, Nicole DeAngeli, Madeleine DiPaolo, Alex Jacobsen, Allie Jenkins, Samuel Johnson, David Karr, Jordan Kern, Diana Kovaltchou, Nick Lapp, Neal Long, Andrew Pikero, Lara Ayres, Janelle Borsun, Phillip Breslow, Kinsey Brown, Alec Coleman, Brandon Drumright, Elena Gamboa, Jake Garfinkle, Brendan Gomez, Dana Green, Emily Hamby, Brad Held, Joanna Hoffman, Ben Juell, John Knobel, Philip Koci, Aaren Moratti, Braden Murphy, Phil Richeson, Tim Robb, Demetria Swendseid, Alexis Taitel, Mitch Taylor, Rachel Waddington, Alex Werbeckes, Jacob Ziolkowski, Chris Zumtobel, Logan Siri, Dylan Smith, Amy Urban, Timothy Wood, Kelsey Agerholm, Henry Altick, John Borsum, Collin Brown, Scott Challis, Braden Crocco, Luke Drymalski, Micaela Gomez, Caitlin Greene, Lindsey Gump, Colton Jacobsen, Eli Mlawsky, Aubrey Morgan, Megan Mudge, Alex Murphy Zander Newcomb, Niki Rahming, Danielle Salgo, L. J. Savage, Lizzie Uric, Trent Virden, Kes Vitkus, Michael Warden, Amanda Warrer, John Whitefield, Garrett Winkelmaier; chaperones: Kathy Bolotin, Danny Corneil, Heather DeAngeli, Cherise Smith, Donna Juell, Gail Ayres, Krista Waddington, Coe Swobe, Ann Urie, Joe Altick, Denise Altick, Mandy Agerholm, Leanna Crocco; teachers: Karen Hume, Melody Dunn and Dave Keller.
On request of Senator Rawson, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Rob Morss.
On request of Senator Rhoads, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to David Ellafsen.
On request of Senator Tiffany, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Tom Fey.
On request of Senator Titus, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Timothy Skeers and Elizabeth Ghanem.
Senator Raggio moved that the Senate adjourn until Friday, March 7, 2003, at 10:30 a.m.
Senate adjourned at 12:15 p.m.
Approved: Lorraine T. Hunt
President of the Senate
Attest: Claire J. Clift
Secretary of the Senate