Corruption Risk Report Card
Rank among 50 states: 42nd

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The story behind the score

Flimsy lobbying disclosures, a weak open-meetings law, and the lack of a gift ban earn Nevada a low grade.  Read more from SII State Reporter Joan Whitely.

Latest state news for Nevada

SANTA FE — On February 20, New Mexico’s House Energy and Natural Resources Committee gathered for one of its regular meetings in a drab room here at the capitol, a circular building known as the Roundhouse. On the agenda: a bill that would hike fees and penalties for energy companies drilling wells in the state.

The votes fell along party lines, with five Republicans lining up against the bill and the committee's Democratic majority voting to send the legislation to the House floor. The Republicans argued the bill would stifle business and cost jobs, and for one lawmaker, the issue hit particularly close to home. Rep. James Strickler spends most of the year running his own small oil and gas production company, JMJ Land & Minerals Co. The bill would directly affect his profits.

By Mike Mullendoor_opening2.jpg

A simple Google search will produce a map and directions on how to find the state capitol, where staffers can help citizens locate legislative chambers and hearing rooms. But this seemingly easy access hardly guarantees that what takes place in open meetings is a reliable predictor for the laws that will govern the state.

Aside from regulations on legislators’ potential conflicts of interest, the Legislative Accountability category also assessed the openness of each state’s lawmaking process. These corruption risk indicators are more difficult to judge by face value, so state reporters turned to statehouse veterans who had been trying to access and influence the legislature. In state after state, sources reported that it is often hard to actually observe the sausage as it is being produced, which helps to explain the oft-surprising flavor it takes on when finally released for public consumption.


State integrity news for Nevada, from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

A Democratic Party source told the Review-Journal's Ed Vogel that candidates boycotted the survey because of the Nevada Policy Research Institute's involvement. NPRI is a free-market think tank that generally opposes Democratic positions on fiscal, taxation and education policy.

The good news: About 90 percent of the survey's respondents support the transparency agenda, which also would apply the open meeting law to the Legislature, give the public 72 hours to read bills before they go to a floor vote and require lobbyists to report gifts and spending on lawmakers when the Legislature is not in session.

Read the rest of the story at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

State integrity news for Nevada, from the Las Vegas Sun:

Assembly Republicans released proposals today to overhaul the state’s campaign finance program today in an effort to increase transparency and public trust in the state’s political system. Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, said that in 2010, $100 million was spent on elections in Nevada, or about $147,000 per voter who participated in the general election.

“We are spending too much time, raising too much money,” Hickey said. Lawmakers are “spending too little capital dealing with problems Nevadans elected us to solve.”

Read the rest of the story at the Las Vegas Sun.

State integrity news for Nevada, from the Las Vegas Sun:

A half-dozen lobbyists and consultants interviewed by the Sun said they hated the age-old practice of supplying favors when asked by elected officials but did it because “it’s just the way you do business here.” Supplying politicians with their requests isn’t part of all lobbyists’ stock.

But “the fact is, if you start doing it, you’re stuck doing it,” said one lobbyist, who said he or she was never asked to do favors by politicians. “Those who do it get stuck doing it forever. They’re screwed.”

Read the rest of the story at the Las Vegas Sun.

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