Andy Peterson: Nevada Legislative Process 2021

Winston Churchill purported that democracy was the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried from time to time.  He was correct, and we would do well to remember his sentiments after the 2021 legislative sine’ died late on May 31st.  This is not to say folks didn’t experience frustration, angst, or even anger at what was proposed or passed. 

If you talk with a legislator, you’ll likely hear they thought they acted in accordance with their constituent’s wishes.  If talk with a lobbyist or a business, you’ll likely hear that some of what passed will not be good for business.  If you talk with an average person at the grocery store, you might get a shrug or a sarcastic answer.  Most people had no idea the legislature was in session and many don’t care so long as their taxes haven’t been raised. 

However, it does matter.  We are a state that operates within the rule of law and those laws spell out the rules as to how we all operate within society.  Good laws make for good order.  Stability helps businesses plan and allows them to engage in commerce with certainty, and most importantly it helps us all internalize a shared set of values.

In a perfect world only, good legislation would pass.  What does not get passed, though, can often times be as important as what does get passed.  When it does not, Fortunately, the give and take of the legislative process often times sinks a poorly written bill before it reaches a vote in the assembly or the senate.  At times, some poorly thought-out legislation does make it all the way to the governor’s desk only to have it vetoed.  In any case, the process is one which is messy but for the most part operates as intended.  That said, it is important to know lobbyists play a part and work quietly behind the scenes to push good legislation or help sink poorly thought-out legislation. 

The retail industry is fortunate to have a well-run association which followed the 2021 session to assure good legislation passed, bad legislation failed, and that the mediocre legislation was dampened to the best degree possible.  Perhaps, this is what Churchill had in mind when he said democracy was the worst form of government except for the all those others which have been tried from time to time.