Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vote Nevada Update 5/28/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

The National Archives is leveraging technology to provide more online programing.  A recent online event featured a scholar who is researching participatory democracy in early American history. Daniel Carpenter has discovered that many people who lacked voting rights used petitions to exercise a right to be civically engaged beyond what even I imagined.  You can watch his fascinating presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNs0UtDD0hU

Speaking of participatory democracy, now that we are nearing the end of our every-other-year dalliance with representative democracy, instead of immediately preparing to finish unfinished business from this session in the next legislature, let’s spend some time reviewing what failed this time to see if there is enough popular support for discarded policy ideas to achieve similar outcomes through different means.

In other words, let’s spend some time seeing if we can get things that are vitally important done now.

That is the underlying theme of the Vote Nevada Summer Civics Festival.  Our state constitution establishes direct democracy rights beyond the right to vote for someone else to address issues, yet we rarely look to Nevada’s founding document for answers.

So, we are kicking off our Civics Festival with a presentation from Nevada attorney Daniel H. Stewart, who practices constitutional law.  Mr. Stewart served as Governor Sandoval’s general counsel and he is now in private practice.  In a recent op-ed for The Nevada Independent, Mr. Stewart wrote about his admiration for our state’s constitution, so I reached out and extended an invitation to host the kickoff event for our Summer Civics Festival.  He graciously agreed, so his presentation is on June 12th, via Zoom, 9-10:30 am. RSVP here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rcu2sqz4pEtyqrgDcySXoyAtiHAKw2Fx8

Mr. Stewart’s op-ed is here: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/honor-thy-state-constitution

A full description of each Summer Civics Festival event is here: https://vote-nevada-blog.org/dates-rsvp-links-for-the-summer-civics-festival/

I have most of our Civics Festival events scheduled on this page, if you are interested in RSVP’ing https://vote-nevada-blog.org/dates-rsvp-links-for-the-summer-civics-festival/

Once the legislative session finishes on Monday, May 31st, I will be able to schedule the few remaining events, so stay tuned.

Thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics

Please consider selecting Vote Nevada as your preferred nonprofit on Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_uspo_laas_aas

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

Vote Nevada Update 5/22/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

Thank you to everyone who attended our Mental and Behavioral Health Intersectional Policy meeting; we had a very lively discussion. We discussed current legislative bills that advance behavioral and mental health policy development as well as data documenting Nevada’s severe shortage of mental and behavioral health professionals. (Please see this Behavioral and Metal Health Policy Development PowerPoint Presentation)

We also discussed the College of Southern Nevada’s Applied Psychology certificate and degree program that articulates with UNLV and UNR’s mental and behavioral health bachelor and master’s degree programs. CSN is expanding its certificate opportunities in Applied Psychology, which allows students to complete 30 credits in one year and then to begin working as a mental health technician. So, in just one year a student can start working in their intended field for more than the minimum wage.

With one more year of college classes, students qualify for an associate’s degree and possibly a promotion and raise. The Applied Psychology pathway goes all the way through to a master’s degree, while still allowing the student to work in their desired field. https://www.csn.edu/programs/applied-psychology

We plan to focus over the interim session on putting more Nevadans on this new and exciting mental and behavioral health professional pathway and to do so in ways that minimize student debt.

You can watch the meeting recording here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1blsBYxq__kpGX5OYOSCIPqdrmP6tT1uy/view?usp=sharing

Thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics

Please consider selecting Vote Nevada as your preferred nonprofit on Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_uspo_laas_aas

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

Vote Nevada Update 5/21/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

With cool weather this weekend, I hope you can spend some time outdoors relaxing.

Upcoming events:

Join us this Saturday, via Zoom, 9-11 am, for an update on mental and behavioral health bills, the importance of addressing mental, and behavioral health policies to solve other important issues, and exciting information on new behavioral and mental health certificate programs at CSN. RSVP here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kf-6oqjgqG9xaz5xTzhkI9hdvGGQoqA4T

Our June 26th meeting is a community showcase.  Current and former officers of the Las Vegas Association of Black School Educators are joining us for a conversation about LVABSE’s deep roots in Clark County and its continued role in promoting education equity in Nevada.  You will not want to miss this opportunity to hear history in the making, RSVP: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvduqsqzwuG92F8F82z3PmiLnVlVYKxT7w

Vote Nevada Summer Civics Festival: Celebrating Direct Democracy Update

We have tweaked some of our summer civics festival activities and added an oral history project.  Our community benefits agreement project will now also include the Meaningful Day program: Every person has the right to meaningful days.  And we are adding in an oral history project with LVABSE; we must know what came before to chart an effective path into the future.

If you are interested in these projects or advancing important policy discussions, visit our Summer Civics Festival page:

https://vote-nevada-blog.org/summer-civics-festival-2021/

Thanks for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics

Please consider selecting Vote Nevada as your preferred nonprofit on Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_uspo_laas_aas

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

 

 

Vote Nevada Update: 5/12/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

Bloomberg put out a nice 8-minute video on the importance of redistricting reform with former Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2021-05-10/legally-rigging-elections-redistricting-a-brief-history-video

And the National Constitution Center has more podcasts, blog posts, and Zoom panel recordings available: https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/media-library

I wanted to share that the Vote Nevada Mental and Behavioral Health Committee meets on the third Tuesday of every month, via Zoom, 6 to 7 pm.  This month, May 18th, CSN program director for Applied Psychology, Michele Howser, is providing an update on the expansion of certificates in Applied Psychology. 

While a full associate degree is 60 credits, so usually two years, a certificate is only 30 credits.  This allows someone to get into a program-related job in just one year and from there a person can then continue to complete an associate degree and even a bachelor’s and master’s degree. 

A program-related job pays more than a minimum wage occupation and the community college tuition is very affordable, so completing a degree by starting with a certificate, without substantial student debt, is doable.

This is one path for affordable, inclusive workforce development.  You can read more about the Applied Psychology program here: https://www.csn.edu/programs/applied-psychology?mc_phishing_protection_id=149534-c2cs0iasdfdlgrk8afig

If you would like to attend next week’s Behavioral and Mental Health Committee meeting, please reply to this message and I will provide you with the Zoom link.

Our community meeting on May 22nd focuses on addressing mental and behavioral health policies as a necessary step in solving other high-priority issues, such as gun violence, education funding, homelessness, criminal justice reform, and inclusive workforce development.  You can RSVP here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kf-6oqjgqG9xaz5xTzhkI9hdvGGQoqA4T

Lastly, our Summer Civics Festival is now Summer Civics Festival: Celebrating Direct Democracy.  I have heard from many community members who are not only interested in participating in our events but who are also interested in adding more opportunities to engage.   So, our list of engagement opportunities has expanded a bit and a couple are broader in their focus. 

We are also in discussion with some other organizations that have expressed interest in partnering on the Festival.  You can read about our expanded list of opportunities here: https://vote-nevada-blog.org/summer-civics-festival-2021/

With another legislative deadline approaching this Friday, second committee passage, another round of bills will die.  We are committed to using this interim session to facilitate discussions of policy ideas that were muffled by our current pandemic conditions.  If one of your favorite bills is already dead, feel free to add it to this Google spreadsheet so we can start preparing for our simulated legislative hearings in June. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1RdzISQmbohoKD1whDUQYqmr65dTtzqsOGm0LnbcVbBA/edit?usp=sharing

Thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Vote Nevada: Solving Problems with Civics

Please consider selecting Vote Nevada as your preferred nonprofit on Amazon Smile: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_se_uspo_laas_aas

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

Vote Nevada Update: 4/30/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

I attended a Vegas Chamber of Commerce webinar about why Nevada ranks so low in federal grant procurement.  One glaring piece of information shared was that when an agency funded through the state receives a grant the amount of the grant is then subtracted from the agency’s state budget allocation. 

For instance, if the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is awarded a $2 million grant, the Governor’s office will not see that funding as supplementing the DHHS budget.  Instead, the Governor’s budget team would subtract $2 million of state funding from the DHHS budget in the next biennium.

While this allows the Governor’s office to move that $2 million into a different budget, this does nothing to enhance DHHS’s services.  In plain language, when a state agency is awarded a grant that grant’s funding supplants state dollars, it does not supplement state dollars.  It is no wonder Nevada ranks so low in procuring federal grants; who would put forth that much time and effort to write a grant if their agency’s budget will stay the same?  This is a disincentive for applying for grants and really needs to stop.

You can watch the Vegas Chamber of Commerce webinar on grant procurement here: https://youtu.be/p9Jy8z2sBIo

Also, I am now chairing the Integrated Workforce Development Subcommittee of the Statewide Independent Living Council.  This group is sponsoring another team category for the Summer Civics Festival: Improving Community Benefits Agreements.

If you are unfamiliar with Community Benefits Agreements, these are the agreements businesses sign with state and local governments when receiving incentives, such as a tax abatement, for locating in Nevada.  Part of a Community Benefits Agreement might state that the business agrees to hire 75 percent of their employees from Nevada.  We would like Community Benefits Agreements to include hiring language that creates inclusive workforce development, such as hiring Nevadans that are abled in different ways.

If you are interested in this team, I have added it to our Summer Civics form: https://vote-nevada-blog.org/summer-civics-festival-2021/

Lastly, two Nevada high school teams, Reno and Incline Village, placed in the top 12 at the national finals for the We the People competition.  Reno HS placed 3rd and Incline Village HS placed 8th.  You can watch the awards ceremony here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCz22J0GCts

The We the People program, along with History Day and Ask an Expert, are funded through legislation.  If you are so inclined to lend your support to continued funding, please go to this page and indicate you are in favor of AB447: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/81st2021/

Thank you for being Nevadans with me and happy weekend,

Sondra

Solving problems with Civics

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vote Nevada Update 4/28/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

Some good news on the telehealth front; a Congressional Health Subcommittee held a hearing on Charting the Path Forward for Telehealth.  The witnesses and members of Congress who spoke were all very supportive of not just maintaining the expansion of telehealth to date, but also expanding it even more.  This will provide even more equity in access to services for so many communities that currently lack vital contact with health care professionals.

This will also translate into many jobs as we build out our broadband infrastructure to include every household.  Nevada could easily lead in providing online education, health care, mental health care, and customer service nationwide if we can just invest smartly in our internet infrastructure and workforce development in ways that see every Nevadan as a valued asset.

You can watch the hearing here: https://youtu.be/tmr6n7tUZnM

And you can read a new article from the Guinn Center on inclusive workforce development here: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/could-a-more-inclusive-workforce-emerge-from-the-ruins

I am happy to announce that the Vote Nevada Summer Civics Festival is taking shape and we are ready to start asking for volunteers and interested team members.  You can read about the opportunities to participate in everything from drawing redistricting maps to writing ballot questions to test driving various open primary models.  And you can sign up to help with the Lights Out Nevada project to help migratory birds making it safely through our great state each year.

You can read more and fill out a form to get more information here: https://vote-nevada-blog.org/summer-civics-festival-2021/

Our May meeting is scheduled for the 22nd, via Zoom.  We will look at the intersection of mental and behavioral health policies and a slew of other major issues, such as education funding, gun violence, and inclusive workforce development.   We must address mental and behavioral health policies if we ever hope to meaningfully address the other issues.  You can RSVP here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kf-6oqjgqG9xaz5xTzhkI9hdvGGQoqA4T

Thank you for being Nevadans with me!

Sondra

Solving problems with Civics

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

Vote Nevada Update 4/24/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

We had a very informative meeting today about birds, our ecosystems, and the connections to climate change.  In addition to hearing about how drought is decimating the insects and seed-plants birds feed on while migrating, we also heard about the impact of lights left on at night. You can read about a “lights out” initiative in Philadelphia here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9355977/Philly-dim-lights-make-safer-birds-flight.html?ito=email_share_article-top

After chatting with Dr. Martha Desmond, NMSU, and Paul Rodriguez, President Red Rock Audubon, as well as with our meeting attendees, we decided a “lights out” project would fit in with our Summer Civics Festival.  This initiative includes citizen science, public policy, and environmental stewardship.

You can watch today’s meeting recording here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XZ3oie5OhVYsYdtfgIISX-cBENOdllDL/view?usp=sharing

Upcoming events include our May 22nd meeting, via Zoom, 9-11 am, on how mental and behavioral health policy intersects with other important issues, such as gun control, education funding, climate change, and workforce development.  If we do not address mental and behavioral health funding and policies, we will never really solve the other issues.  You can RSVP here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kf-6oqjgqG9xaz5xTzhkI9hdvGGQoqA4T

More information about the Summer Civics Festival will be coming soon!~

Thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Solving problems with Civics

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

Vote Nevada Update 4/18/2021

Vote Nevada Supporters,

April is Earth Day Month, so I am sharing an article on the connection between telework and climate change: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/covid-19-pandemic-shows-telecommuting-can-help-fight-climate-change/

I would also like to share a presentation from a Carson City Men’s Democratic Club luncheon on the connection between mental health and climate change: rebrand.ly/ngylpx5

April 9th was the deadline for bills to make it out of their originating committees with an affirmative vote, so many bills are now dead (caveat: nothing is dead until sine die).  Here is a short list of important bills that are still alive: https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/deadline-day-death-penalty-cannabis-guns-and-other-policies-on-the-precipice

Our April 24th meeting features Dr. Martha Desmond from New Mexico State University who will be speaking about a recent bird die-off due to starvation.  This is very concerning because what happens to birds is a harbinger for what could easily happen to us.  We will also be joined by Paul Rodriguez, President of the Red Rock Audubon, who will share local birding opportunities.  And Vote Nevada supporter, Chris Loebner, who is a long-time birder, will share the different apps and online resources for plugging into the larger birding community.  If you care about climate change, you will not want to miss this meeting.  RSVP: https://actionnetwork.org/events/vote-nevada-why-are-the-birds-starving/

Our May 22nd meeting, 9-11 am, via Zoom, will look at the Intersection of Mental and Behavioral Health Policy and other Major Policy Reforms.  Other reforms areas include gun control, education funding, climate change, and workforce development.   We must integrate mental and behavioral health policy discussions into discussions of other major policy reforms if we hope to solve big problems.  You can RSVP here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kf-6oqjgqG9xaz5xTzhkI9hdvGGQoqA4T

Lastly, we are happy to announce our Summer Civics Festival! Please see the attached files.  We are running simulated governing events this summer.  You can serve on a redistricting commission, legislative committee, ballot question committee, and/or test drive different primary election options.  We will need lots of volunteers, so be on the lookout for our volunteer interest form soon!

SummerCivics2021 PDF

Thank you for being Nevadans with me,

Sondra

Mission Statement:

Problem solving with Civics

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

 

 

Vote Nevada Redistricting Reform Recording

Vote Nevada Supporters,

Thanks to everyone who attended today’s discussion of redistricting reform with Victoria Ochoa from One Arizona.  Here is the recording: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FGDUzWs_R3ixRk2UL5HewrWNu_DV9vHH/view?usp=sharing

As of April 5th everyone 16 years-old and older, regardless of health conditions, are eligible to receive the covid vaccine.

The Southern Nevada Health District has a service to provide vaccinations for folks who cannot leave their homes: https://twitter.com/ClarkCountyNV/status/1378401852199366656?s=20

Here are the available vaccination sites in Washoe County: https://www.covid19washoevaccine.com/pages/find-vaccine

Our presenter from last week, Lisa Mayo-DeRiso agreed to share her PowerPoint presentation about Community Benefit Agreements Inclusive Job Opportunities

As well as her contact information if you’d have questions:

Lisa Mayo-DeRiso
President/CEO
Mayo & Associates |
Las Vegas, Nevada

Mobile 702.403.7779

mayoderiso@gmail.com

Thanks for being Nevadans with me!

Sondra

Mission Statement:

Problem solving with Civics

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here

 

Vote Nevada 3/27/2021 Inclusive Workforce Meeting Update

Vote Nevada Supporters,

This morning’s discussion about Inclusive Workforce & Business/Nonprofit development was fabulous!  Thanks to everyone who attended.  We can do a lot to move our state toward not just a diversified economy, but also an inclusive economy.

Lisa Mayo-DeRiso spoke to us about her experience with economic development and community benefit planning, which ensures all stakeholders are at the table. Lisa is working with companies that see the value in community benefit planning, so she sees potential to re-imagine how we approach connecting every Nevadan to good jobs, small business opportunities, and nonprofit pathways.

We also heard from Robert Strawder, entrepreneurial community member who is navigating the nonprofit world of networking and grants.  His work reaches kids who are interested in the business side of hip hop.  And we chatted a bit about Evelyn Pacheco and her nonprofit Women in Trades along with her frustration with grant processes that often exclude newcomers.

Here is the meeting recording: https://drive.google.com/file/d/13VcpYK-M_HGBnqwZMiDDGBlUAdBeiC48/view?usp=sharing

Some current legislative bills address these issues and could create a more inclusive economy. 

AB184: Empowers the Lt. Governor’s Office to help Nevadans start small businesses.

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7569/Overview

Bill Draft Request 800 from Assemblywoman Monroe-Moreno will move the state’s grants office into the Executive Branch for greater assistance and oversight.  When this appears in a bill format, we need to ensure that state level grants are more inclusive of newer and smaller nonprofits.

AB 207: Requires web-based commerce to be ADA complaint

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7610/Overview


SB 61 (this Session): Regulates vending machines operated by the blind.

https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/81st2021/Bill/7246/Overview

After you watch the recording, if you have any questions or input on who should be at the table, please let me know.

Thanks for being Nevadans with me!

Sondra

Mission Statement:

Problem solving with Civics

Vote Nevada is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit civic engagement organization.  Anyone can become a supporter by emailing info@vote-nevada.org, we have no membership dues.  We do, however, accept donations Here