Reid calls for end to term limits, criticizes renewable energy ‘loopholes’
Sen. Harry Reid took aim at two very different targets in his 20-minute address to the Nevada Legislature Wednesday: NV Energy and the state’s term-limits law.In his address, he described the term-limits amendment to Nevada’s constitution as “wrongheaded and counterproductive.” He used stronger terms in his post-speech news conference, calling term limits “very un-American.”“Elections are the only term limits Nevada needs,” Reid said.The 1996 amendment bars members of legislative bodies, ranging from county commissions to the Senate and Assembly, from serving more than 12 years. Those in executive positions such as governor and attorney general are limited to eight years.“In my view, arbitrary term limits purge a part-time Legislature of full lifetimes of experience,” he said, urging the applauding members of the Nevada Legislature to begin the process of reversing the rule.Reid, the Democratic U.S. Senate majority leader, said he would do whatever lawmakers ask to help — “publicly, privately or stay out of it,” drawing laughter.He also sharply criticized what he called large loopholes in the requirement that at least 18 percent of Nevada’s electric power come from renewable sources.“Those loopholes are so large, Nevada’s major utility could meet the standard without building a single megawatt of new renewable energy for the rest of the decade,” he said of NV Energy. He added that NV Energy should not be allowed to meet that standard “by handing out energy-efficient light bulbs at Home Depot.”“Closing these loopholes will strengthen the law and send a powerful signal that Nevada remains committed to kicking our dependence on out-of-state fossil fuels,” he said.NV Energy has made 273 contributions totaling nearly $488,000 to state and local candidates’ campaigns since 2008, according to the Nevada Secretary of State campaign-finance website.Reid pointed to geothermal, solar and wind-generated projects statewide and urged that the state continue developing renewable-energy technology — which, he said, will become a $7 trillion market in the U.S. in the next 20 years.“Nevada has a head start to capture much of that market, but we must stay serious about attracting new investment and creating customers for our renewable power,” he said.Reid said he strongly opposes efforts to require photo IDs to vote and other measures he said are a blatant attempt to disenfranchise the poor, minorities and seniors.Nevada’s system currently is one of the nation’s best, but lawmakers should support same-day voter registration as eight other states have, he said. That encourages voter participation in the democratic process and doesn’t increase incidents of fraud, Reid said. California approved a same-day voting law last year. “In fact, voter fraud is as common as being struck by lightning,” he said, adding that there have been only 10 cases of voter fraud in the past eight election cycles nationwide. An August 2012 News21 analysis confirms only 10 cases since 2000.Reid called Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller’s voter-ID plan “a solution looking for a problem.”He said he supports Gov. Brian Sandoval’s push to move Nevada into the online-poker world, adding that without federal action, “Nevada doesn’t have a choice.” The 2011 Legislature approved online poker in Nevada, however Sandoval has called for a bill within the first 30 days of the Legislature that allows Nevada to set up a compact with other states to offer Internet poker. A joint meeting of the Assembly and Senate Judiciary committees will discuss the bill today.Asked whether Reid, 74, intends to run for another term in 2016, he replied, “Why not?”
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