Criticism over President Donald Trump’s policies and praise for some of the Legislature’s Democrat-sponsored bills were focuses of a joint address to lawmakers by Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev.
Titus told lawmakers Tuesday that they should not get complacent with the state’s gains in the economy, natural resources protection, infrastructure and social issues.
“There are forces that are coming down the pike that are really going to threaten the state,” she said, noting that Congress is partisan and filled with intense rhetoric.
She said Washington is pretty much chaos, pointing to Congress’ shift in focus from Obamacare repeal to tax reform.
In her position on the foreign affairs committee, Titus said she’d heard concerns from foreign officials about a lack of stability and what that could mean globally. She said this came at a time when a steep cut to the Department of State’s budget has been proposed.
Trump’s budget requests about a 28 percent reduction in State Department funding.
“The nation is divided and the wounds of the last election really haven’t scabbed over yet,” Titus said. “Every bill seems to pass through Congress along partisan lines as the new majority attempts to roll back the protections that were put in place for consumers and the environment during the last administration.”
Titus said people have been protesting to get answers about what will happen to vulnerable programs, why Trump hasn’t released his taxes, and whether Russia interfered with the presidential election, among other concerns.
She said leaders need to work together to solve some of these issues, with one of the most important being to block the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project. The president’s budget asks for money to restart the process, and Titus said the best argument to use against Republican support for Yucca is the project’s expensive price tag.
“There is no love lost between President Trump and Nevada, where elected Republicans endorsed his opponents in the primary and where the voters went for Hillary Clinton in the general,” she said. “So it’s going to take all we’ve got and then some to block this boondoggle that was based on bad science and worse politics.”
She also pointed to Medicaid expansion, thanking Gov. Brian Sandoval for doing that for Nevada. Titus said health care reform should be opposed if it eliminates federal support for expanded Medicaid.
She also noted that tourism needs to be protected against xenophobic policy, noting the president’s efforts to block travelers from a set of Muslim-majority countries.
“Somebody once said, ‘We are stronger together,’” Titus said, quoting Clinton’s 2016 campaign slogan. “If we come together on these three priorities that I mentioned, (Yucca Mountain, Medicaid and tourism), I believe that Nevada’s other challenges can be more easily met.”
Titus expressed support for several bills on the Legislature’s agenda, saying she worked with state Sens. Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas, and Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, on the “pink tax” issue.
Cancela and Woodhouse’s Senate Bill 415 would have voters decide whether feminine hygiene products should get a tax exemption. The bill is exempt from a Tuesday deadline for passing a floor vote and has been sent to the Senate’s finance committee. A similar measure is moving through the Assembly.
Titus said the marijuana industry should be protected and mentioned Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, who has signed onto several marijuana-related bills. His Senate Bill 302 provides for an early start to marijuana sales and has been granted a deadline waiver.
She told Segerblom, “I’m counting on you. Puff, puff, pass that bill.”