Wednesday, 01 March 2006 00:00

Appeal to Chairman Rhoads and Claborn

Written by Ira Hansen
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Reprinted from Daily Sparks Tribune

March 12, 2006

RED TAPE: There is an absolute political backlash against the seemingly unending growth of government rules and regulations. This is manifest in Nevada by the people overwhelmingly approving maintaining bi-annual (every other year) legislative sessions, despite our dramatic population expansion. To even further limit “bureaucratic blight”, the people have allowed only 120 day sessions as well.


But the people, who may very well be holding the wrong group responsible, have overlooked one major source of the barbwire-like entanglement of bureaucratic rule: The Nevada Administrative Code (NAC).


For most of us, recalling our government classes from high school, laws are made by our elected officials at the legislature. Limit the legislature, and the out-of-control rule making will be stopped, right?


Wrong. In Nevada, all sorts of Boards and Commissions exist, The Real Estate Board, the State Wildlife Commission, for examples, that cannot make laws, but can create rules and regulations that are, in effect and enforcement, exactly like the laws our elected officials pass.


All of the rules and regulations, literally thousands and thousands of them, are found in the mostly unknown NAC.


This body of law is not created through the intentionally long and drawn out legislative process, with its checks and balances. In fact, as you will see, only a few backroom bureaucrats and a couple of public toadies can make law that is binding on the now more than 2 million Nevadans.


As most of my readers know, I’m an avid sportsman. Couple that with my involvement in politics, and you can see why the bureaucracy that handles wildlife in Nevada, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and its administrative, governor appointed board, the Nevada Wildlife Commission, and I have had a remarkably stormy relationship through the years.


The Nevada legislature, starting in 1937, created, in a few easy to understand paragraphs, the rules governing the harvesting of furbearers in Nevada. The trapping rules, modestly modified through the years, remain exactly as the legislature intended, designed to allow a largely free market approach, while allowing judges the flexibility to punish lawbreakers based around the severity of the violations.


Enter the bureaucrats. The idea of not having all the rules and regulations spelled out in minute detail, of every possible act or omission and attached penalty, is a bureaucrat’s worst nightmare; the more red tape the better.


In 2005, two Reno NDOW bureaucrats, Rob Buonamici and Steve Albert, once the legislature was out of session, decided they would re-write and significantly redefine what the legislature had left alone.


This was done and timed in such a way as to avoid the entire legislative process. For bureaucrats, making law through a generally rubber-stamp commission is a very convenient end run around the, in their mind, cumbersome and overly-stringent legislative process.


The laws in question, passed by our elected officials, are only a few paragraphs; the rules and regulations currently drafted and coming before the Nevada Wildlife Commission shortly, are pages long, full of unnecessary and minute additions, punishments and hair splitting so delightful to bureaucrats. This is a case study in micromanagement at its worst, and a clear infringement on legislative prerogative, intent and authority.


NDOW, like most government bureaus, presents a list of proposed laws and modifications to the legislature every session. But, interestingly, all of these new trapping rules were not included in their last package. Why not?


Clearly, the reason is, the Assembly and Senate Natural Resources committees would have shot them down, for very basic reasons: they are unneeded, they are redundant, and they fly in the face of current political sentiment, which is clearly in favor of less and not more government generated red tape to tangle otherwise innocent people in.


So, I’m publicly appealing for assistance to the chairmen of the Resource committees, Senator Dean Rhoads and Assemblyman Jerry Claborn and their fellow committee members.


These rules are extensive and properly belong in the legislative arena. Backdoor attempts while the legislature is not in session at sidestepping your oversight responsibilities should not be ignored or allowed.


Depending on how the Wildlife Commission handles this new thicket of red tape, some major pruning may be necessary in the 2007 legislative session.

Last modified on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 05:54
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