For reasons that escape me, the Nevada State Bar holds its annual convention outside of Nevada. This year Vail, last year Chicago, year before that Austin. Next year New Orleans. By careful budgeting, I generally am able to attend these annual meetings. The topics discussed are generally quite relevant to my practice.
This year, for example, one of the main topics was women and their recent emergence as a dominant force in the Nevada legislature. The question? Were the thousand of new laws passed this year different from laws that would have been passed by a male-dominated legislature?
Of course, there was no definitive answer. We were, however, treated to a discussion of this by woman legislators and it was quite interesting. First, the phenomena, if it be such, was explained by Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall, as resulting from term limits, limits which cleared the field of many otherwise unbeatable incumbents. This was good as it allowed new blood in that body, but bad in the sense that it gave more power to lobbyists, lobbyists not being subject to term limits.
As might be expected, there was no consensus except that, perhaps, since most of the woman legislators were also Democrats, a largely liberal session was the result.
I can’t help but cringing at some of the excesses, whether blamable on women or on Democrats, such as the decision to allow state workers to “unionize”. It will be recalled that the reason for unions, being to force companies to more equitably share profits with their employees, simply does not apply to state workers as state governments are not profit making enterprises. So, whatever they are, collectives of state workers are not unions…they are simply lobbyists, funded by taxes, whose sole purpose for being is to increase taxes. If we are lucky, the current crowd will be replaced by legislators who are not beholden to public collectives. It is obviously unfair to force, say, a $10 per hour waiter, to, under threat of prison, pay taxes to support a lobbying effort to raise the salaries of a $50 per hour state engineer.