THE FIFTY-FIRST DAY
Carson City (Tuesday), March 25, 2003
Senate called to order at 11:01 a.m.
President Hunt presiding.
Prayer by the Chaplain, Pastor Albert Tilstra.
O Lord, keep strong our faith in the power of prayer as we unite our petitions in the sacred moment. We have asked for Your guidance in difficult decisions many times; yet, it has not always come when we thought it should. Many of the situations and relationships which we have asked You to change have remained the same.
Forgive us for thinking, therefore, that You are unwilling to help us in our dilemmas or that there is nothing You can do. Remind us, O God, that when we plug in an electric iron and it fails to work, we do not conclude that electricity has lost its power nor do we plead with the iron. We look at once to the wiring to find what has broken or blocked the connection with the source of power.
May we do the same with ourselves, that You can work through us to do Your will. This we ask in the Name of our Lord.
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.
MESSAGES FROM THE ASSEMBLY
Assembly Chamber, Carson City, March 24, 2003
To the Honorable the Senate:
I have the honor to inform your honorable body that the Assembly on this day passed Assembly Bills Nos. 106, 140, 149, 177, 189, 224; Assembly Joint Resolution No. 3; Senate Bills Nos. 57, 77.
Also, I have the honor to inform your honorable body that the Assembly on this day concurred in the Senate Amendment No. 72 to Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 8.
MOTIONS, RESOLUTIONS AND NOTICES
By Senators Raggio, Amodei, Care, Carlton, Cegavske, Coffin, Hardy, Mathews, McGinness, Neal, Nolan, O'Connell, Rawson, Rhoads, Schneider, Shaffer, Tiffany, Titus, Townsend, Washington, Wiener; Assemblymen Griffin, Anderson, Andonov, Angle, Arberry, Atkinson, Beers, Brown, Buckley, Carpenter, Chowning, Christensen, Claborn, Collins, Conklin, Geddes, Gibbons, Giunchigliani, Goicoechea, Goldwater, Grady, 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. 24—Memorializing Nevada businessman and civic leader Tom “Big Dog” Wiesner.
Whereas, Tom Wiesner was born February 28, 1939, in Wausau, Wisconsin, later moving to Neenah, Wisconsin, with his family, where he graduated from Neenah High School in 1957; and
Whereas, Before graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in education, in addition to other accomplishments, Tom Wiesner captained the Badger football team to a Big 10 title in 1959 and to the Rose Bowl in 1960; and
Whereas, In 1963, following a brief stint in professional football, Tom Wiesner moved to Las Vegas where he married Lynn Geary, a schoolteacher, in 1965, and became the proud father of daughter Kari and son Kurt; and
Whereas, Tom Wiesner’s various business ventures prospered, including real estate investment and the development of the Las Vegas Athletic Clubs and a chain of Wisconsin-themed restaurants, as did his commitment to the betterment and economic development of the Las Vegas community, including his involvement with the Clark County Commission, Nevada Development Authority, Nevada Chamber of Commerce, Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors’ Authority; and
Whereas, Tom Wiesner showed an equal commitment to developing educational resources in Las Vegas by serving on the Clark County Community College Foundation, and then becoming a charter member of the UNLV Foundation and later a UNLV Foundation Trustee Emeritus and finally, because of his contributions, he was inducted into the UNLV Foundation’s Silver Medallion Society and received the UNLV Silver State Award; and
Whereas, In addition to supporting education in Nevada, Tom Wiesner also developed a love for his hometown team, the UNLV Running Rebels, serving on the UNLV Football Foundation’s Advisory Board and, in recognition of his contributions to the sports programs at UNLV, he was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame and the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, and even had a street named after him, Wiesner Way; and
Whereas, While Tom Wiesner was a big supporter of the UNLV Rebels, his heart remained true to his University of Wisconsin Badgers, a loyalty that was exemplified by his hosting of the Badger Desert Golf Classic, a Wisconsin alumni fundraiser, for the last 11 years in Las Vegas and his role in coordinating football games between Wisconsin and UNLV, drawing thousands of Wisconsin fans to Las Vegas for the games; and
Whereas, Among the many charities to which Tom Wiesner devoted his time and provided financial support were the Boys and Girls Clubs of Clark County, the United Way, the American Cancer Society and Easter Seals of Clark County; and
Whereas, In 1996, Tom Wiesner ran unopposed for a seat on the Board of Regents, where he remained a member until February 2002, when he resigned to spend time with his family, and in May 2002, the Board of Regents recognized his many contributions to the State of Nevada by naming him a recipient of its highest honor, the Distinguished Nevadan Award; and
Whereas, In addition to his love for Las Vegas and all things Wisconsin, Tom Wiesner also had a love for the GOP, where he served for nearly 2 decades as Republican National Committeeman, was well known for his financial and moral support of the party, and was named Republican Man of the Year in 1994; and
Whereas, Following his passing in June, UNLV instituted the Tom Wiesner Award, to be given to a senior football player who most exemplifies the leadership and courage that Tom Wiesner displayed throughout his life; and
Resolved by the Senate of the State of Nevada, the Assembly Concurring, That the members of the Senate and Assembly extend their heartfelt sympathy to the family of Tom “Big Dog” Wiesner; and be it further
Resolved, That Tom Wiesner will long be remembered for his compassion, honesty, quick wit and love of life, as well as his love for the GOP, Las Vegas and all things Wisconsin; and be it further
Resolved, That the people of the State of Nevada will long remember Tom Wiesner’s generosity to this state and to his community; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate prepare and transmit a copy of this resolution to Tom Wiesner’s beloved wife, Lynn.
Senator Raggio moved the adoption of the resolution.
Remarks by Senators Raggio, Coffin, Cegavske, Hardy, Neal, Washington and Rawson.
Senator Raggio requested that the following remarks be entered in the Journal.
We are privileged to have with us, today, members of Tom Wiesner’s family and many of his friends. I was one who was proud to call Tom Wiesner a friend. I think everyone in this Senate whether a Republican or Democrat also called Tom a friend. I do not know of anyone we have memorialized who has earned the honor more than did Tom. Tom was known as “Big Dog” because of the Wisconsin-style tavern establishments he operated under that name. He was a very loveable “Big Dog,” and he fit the name.
I do not know of anyone who accomplished more during his lifetime than did Tom Wiesner. He was a man who put everything he had into everything he did whether it was in the areas of athletics, education, community and state service, or with his family. It was hard to imagine how anyone could have so much energy and get so much done. During the years I had contact with him, and I am certain I speak for other Senators here, if there was something that needed to be done in his community or in the State and Tom Wiesner was involved, the goal would be met and exceeded.
This resolution was well done. It covered all the activities in which Tom participated. It began with his career at the University of Wisconsin. Tom was a dedicated Nevadan, but his love for Wisconsin was not far behind. Unless the University of Wisconsin played the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), you could count on him rooting for the Badgers of Wisconsin. He was a devoted Wisconsin Badger fan. He excelled in athletics while at school there. He was in their Hall of Fame. He played for them in the Rose Bowl.
In the early 1960s, he came to Nevada and met a good-looking schoolteacher named Lynn. They were married for 37 years. They had two wonderful children and a grandchild who is now a one-year old. I am told Grandpa Tom was able to see her before he died. This was important to him and to the family.
In education, he made a very important mark. He was one of the leading forces in seeing the Community College System grow. When he came to Las Vegas, it was a small city. He watched Las Vegas become a major metropolis. He was a large part of the success of Las Vegas and Clark County. Though, not alone, no one surpassed his efforts in seeing to it that anything he was involved with, from the Boys and Girls Clubs to any charitable event, received his support. He was on the Foundation for the Community College System and the Foundation for UNLV. He was active in their athletic program and watched as it matured into a nationally prominent program in both women and men’s sports. He was an advocate of the system when he became a member of the Board of Regents. He contributed to the enhancement of the whole University Community College System.
As a county commissioner, he was involved in important decisions that made Clark County and Las Vegas the great places they are today. He was a leading individual in Republican politics. He knew everyone in the Republican Party from Presidents on down. He spent two decades serving as national committeeman. He was an important part of the party’s success. I do not think any of our Democratic colleagues would fault him for that. I know they appreciated his humor, his zeal and his compassion.
We feel a great loss in this State to have lost Tom. He lost only one fight in his life and that was the fight against cancer. He almost won that. Those of us who observed that fight know he was there everyday fighting to win. His family and friends hoped he would win, but in a way, he did win because he left a heritage to his family and to his State that will not be exceeded by anyone.
Thank you, Madam President. I knew “Tommy Tires” when he first came to Las Vegas. My family was in the oil, tire and battery business for many years. When he came to Las Vegas, we knew he would be a force to be reckoned with. My father passed away five years after Tom came to town so they never came to be good friends, but I am certain they would have had he lived. I became a friend of Tom’s. I ignored the fact that he was in the wrong party and was assuming a high profile in that party. He felt comfortable there. Here was a guy who was born in Wisconsin and who spoke normal. There was something different about Tom. His biggest asset was his gregarious nature. The Majority Leader well outlined many of his traits. He was a great, big northern Wisconsin bear. He would wrap those big arms around you or put those meaty hands around yours, and he would immediately make a friend out of you. There was no question that he really meant it. There was not a phony bone in his body.
There is one thing missing from this resolution. For many years, Tom and Lynn were the driving forces behind the charity for the New Horizon School. They helped to found it, and I never realized the full benefit of their work. This school has been a benefit for hundreds of young men and women and their families. I was on the occasional giving list, and I never realized how, someday, it would be a benefit to my family. I know the Majority Leader recognizes the value of the school because he gave the commencement address there a year and a half ago. Tom was partisan and proud to be. I appreciate and admire anyone who is partisan. He did not care to what party you belonged. That was not how he lived his life. He cared how good you were, how strong you were and if you were as strong as he. If you were, then he admired you and considered you his equal. For that, he should always be remembered.
It is my pleasure to stand in support of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 24 and to recognize Tom Wiesner. Not only was Tom a friend, he was a mentor, and I knew him as a very wonderful family man. He talked about his family all the time. It was my pleasure to get to know Lynn and Kari, though not as well as I would have liked. I feel very close to the whole family just because of who Tom was and how he drew you to others around him.
Tom was there for everyone. If you had a care, it meant something to Tom and he was willing to help you. Big Dog’s is in my district, and I want to share with Lynn that I still have containers here with me today. This is from Little Dog’s Pub, and it held peanuts. This is something you keep and you think of Tom. For those of us in the Republican Party, he was a mentor. He was strong and did much nationally for us. The Majority Leader has eloquently stated many of Tom’s strengths for us. As I listened to the memories of others here, today, they bring back many wonderful memories for me of Tom. He will always be in our hearts as the family will be in our thoughts and prayers. I want to thank them for making the trip up here. I want to thank the family for sharing Tom with us. It is a sacrifice when a loved one is shared with the whole State. Thank you, Lynn and Kari.
Thank you, Madam President. It is an honor for me to stand, today, in support of the resolution. I agree with my colleague from southern Nevada there are many things missing from this resolution that are a testament to the life of Tom Weisner.
I would be remiss, however, if I did not put on the record his involvement with the Young Republicans. I first began to get involved in politics in Nevada when I began my college career at UNLV. I began to inquire about any Young Republican groups or college Republican groups, and there were none. Several people suggested I talk to Tom Wiesner. I did not know Tom Wiesner, personally, but I knew who he was because my family was also involved in the automotive business, and they knew Tom. I met with him and talked to him about my desire to start an organization.
Over the years, he became an advisor, counselor and someone I could always count on. I remember thinking as a young man starting my career how appreciative I was that Tom Wiesner, without exception, always took my telephone calls. As busy as he was with all the issues he was involved with in his life, he always had time for a “nobody.” I will never forget him for that.
I figured out we could use “Big Dogs” for the meetings, and that was the best thing we ever figured out. We made sure Tom was always there, and we asked him, “What is good on the menu today?” He would give us free food because everything was good, and he had to prove it. We thought we were pulling one over on him, but I think he knew exactly what he was doing. He was a tremendous host.
As I started my career and became established making a little money, Tom pulled me aside and told me how important it was for me to give back and become a “Keystone” member.
It has been a tremendous experience for me. I should indicate that as I decided to make this run for the Nevada State Senate, I called Tom to talk to him about it. He insisted I have my first fundraiser upstairs at “Big Dogs” where we had so many meetings as Young Republicans. During the course of the campaign, I was asked to come and speak to the Young Republicans, and you’ll never guess where they are still meeting—the upper room of “Big Dogs.”
I would like the family and this body to know that I am a better man because Tom Wiesner touched my life.
Madam President, I too rise in support of the resolution. Long before Tom Wiesner was known as “Big Dog,” we recognized him as the Michelin Man because he would dress up in the Michelin Tire suit in the mid-60s when he ran a tire company. A few days ago, I was reminded of those days as I was watched a commercial about Michelin Tires. Tom used to advertise on television in his Michelin suit. We would look at him and wonder who was that crazy man dressed up in this tire suit peddling Michelin tires.
Over the years, we were able to watch his career develop in the community. We all gained a friendship through that commercial, and we came to know him. We followed his career up until his passing. That impression of the Michelin Tire commercial is one that has always stayed with me, and each time I see a Michelin tire, I always think of Tom Wiesner.
Thank you, Madam President. I also would like to stand in support of this resolution. I value the many stories that were told about Tom, and I am sure they are all admirable stories to the family.
I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for Tom who stepped in when I was trying to figure out what politics was all about. He took me aside and gave me the nuts-and-bolts and in-and-outs of politics and told me what to look out for and what to do in certain situations.
Not only did I appreciate the fact that he was successful in business, but our relationship expanded beyond politics and business. We both respected sports. Many of our conversations centered on sports. He told me about the Wisconsin Badgers and about how much he enjoyed playing for the team. We talked about double-days, hard work, getting up early and being in agony and pain. We talked about the fact that you never missed anything, until you missed double-days and the sense of smell in your nostrils from that time during the year when the grass was being cut and watered. We looked at each other and said, “No, I do not think we will ever do that again.”
Even though he had a love for University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he had an appreciation for the University of Nevada, Reno. He often asked me about my time playing there, about my career and work. He always wanted to see sports trickle down to the community-college or junior-college level. He often asked me about those young men and women who did not have an opportunity to play sports at the university level and if there was ever an opportunity that we would be able to introduce sports at the community-college or the junior-college level. I told him that I agreed with him, and that it would be a great opportunity for those young men and women. He said, “I will tell you what we will do. You get on one side of Senator Raggio, and I will get on the other side, and we will pick him up and shake him until he finally commits to giving us some money.” I told him he had a deal. I always appreciated his sense of humor and love of sports.
Thank you, Madam President. I hesitate to speak because the memories are personal. I still have emotion in my mind.
A lot of us realize we probably would not be here if it was not for the encouragement of Tom at some point in our political lives. When I first ran, he was a community figure and he was someone you needed to see. He was encouraging and understanding. You knew you could do this, and it was a blessing or anointment to have him behind you. I asked his opinion on things and always got a straight answer and knew exactly how he felt about whatever I was asking. I remember the day he asked my opinion on something, and I felt the pressure of making certain he understood how I felt about a certain issue because he used that information to make his own decisions. He wanted to know how other people felt about things. I guess what I appreciated most was that when he gave a commitment, you could count on that commitment. It was something we all tried to learn and live by.
Besides everything else, he and Lynn gave the best pre-game parties I ever attended. I have good memories. During our lifetime, someone passes through who stands out in your memory and for me that person was Tom.
Senator Raggio moved that all rules be suspended and that Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 24 be immediately transmitted to the Assembly.
Motion carried unanimously.
Resolution ordered transmitted to the Assembly.
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 12.
Senator Wiener moved the adoption of the resolution.
Remarks by Senator Wiener.
Senator Wiener requested that her remarks be entered in the Journal.
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 12 is just one by-product of the first-ever in our country “Healthy School Summit” hosted by our former Surgeon General, David Satcher, and First Lady Laura Bush last October in Washington, D.C. More than 500 people participated by invitation only. The summit was sponsored by more than 30 national organizations that recognize the importance of fitness nutrition in our schools. We have a level of deterioration never seen before in terms of the health and fitness of our children and young adults.
I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of four state Senators in the country to participate. I was sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), and I participated in events with the Nevada Healthy Schools Team. They are the experts who deal with and address this issue. All 30 organizations were allowed to nominate someone as “Healthy School Hero,” and I was nominated by NCSL and was humbly named as one of 27 of those heroes in the country. It was not the honor but the one thousand dollars I was able to bring back to Nevada to put into a Healthy School program. When I returned, I crafted a program with the principal of Paul Culley Elementary to develop a pilot program for Healthy Schools, and it is my hope that one day, we will be able to replicate this at no cost for every school in Nevada that wants to participate. This is a resolution that is utilizing the efforts of the Legislature to create awareness about the importance of health and nutrition for children in the school environment. It is with this hope that you will support Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 12.
Resolution ordered transmitted to the Assembly.
Assembly Joint Resolution No. 3.
Senator Rawson moved that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Government Affairs.
INTRODUCTION, FIRST READING AND REFERENCE
Assembly Bill No. 106.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Transportation.
Assembly Bill No. 140.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor.
Assembly Bill No. 149.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Government Affairs.
Assembly Bill No. 177.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Transportation.
Assembly Bill No. 189.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
Assembly Bill No. 224.
Senator Rawson moved that the bill be referred to the Committee on Government Affairs.
SECOND READING AND AMENDMENT
Senate Bill No. 198.
Bill read second time and ordered to third reading.
MOTIONS, RESOLUTIONS AND NOTICES
Senator Raggio moved that Senate Bill No. 242 be taken from the Second Reading File and be re-referred to the Committee on Finance.
Remarks by Senator Raggio.
Senator Raggio moved that Senate Bills Nos. 173, 200, 233; Assembly Bill No. 137 be taken from the General File and placed on the General File for the next legislative day.
Signing of Bills and Resolutions
There being no objections, the President and Secretary signed Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 8.
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 Joan Tutland, Pat Dondero and Randy Capurro.
On request of Senator Hardy, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Frank Tussing and Troy E. Wade III.
On request of Senator McGinness, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Monte Miller.
On request of Senator Nolan, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Carol Ann Ewing.
On request of Senator Raggio, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Lynn Wiesner, Mary Kay Cashman, Joseph W. Brown, and the following students, chaperones and faculty from the Mamie Towles Elementary School: Michael Bratzler, Jacquelyn Burhans, Amanda Bussard, Megan Dinkins, Tayler Eriksen, Katelyn Eutsler, Ronald Fleeman, Alexander Flores-Greer, Emily Gray, Alexander Greene, Aaron Johnson, Kyle Klein, Trey Puckett, Harrison Rader, Cory Ramelli, Omar Ramos, Crystianna Reyna, Nicholas Richwine, Kyle Robbins, Benjamin Sanders, Aaron Taylor, Jenie Villanueva, Kyle Coffman, Sonny Diaz-Hernandez, Matrix Dufek, Jessica Farran, Kaulani Hall, Maybritt Hirvela, Morgan Horton, Kristopher Kumanchik, Caitlin Lankford, Holly Lark, Joseph Lesar, Paul Martinez, Jocelyn Motter, Mariah Phillips, Katherine Robinson, Amanda Rodriguez, Leslie Ryssman, Casey Smith, Carlos Soler-Marquez, Chonny Sousa, Anetter Swindle, Blake Tout; chaperones: Kathy Dufek, Kim Farrran, Bill Dinkins; teachers:Walter Stucka and Mark Horton.
On request of Senator Rawson, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Sandra Niccum and Jennie Root.
On request of Senator Shaffer, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Mayor Mike Montandan.
On request of Senator Tiffany, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Terry Graves.
On request of Senator Townsend, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Barry W. Becker, Sue Becker and Randy Becker.
On request of Senator Washington, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to Mayor Tony Armstrong and Estela Gutierrez.
On request of President Hunt, the privilege of the floor of the Senate Chamber for this day was extended to former Governor Robert List and Mayor Bob Cashell.
Senator Raggio moved that the Senate adjourn until Wednesday, March 26, 2003, at 10:30 a.m. and that it do so in memory of Marine Lieutenant Frederick E. Pokorney Jr. of Nye County, who was killed while serving in Iraq.
Senate adjourned at 11:54 a.m.
Approved: Lorraine T. Hunt
President of the Senate
Attest: Claire J. Clift
Secretary of the Senate