The main thrust of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid‘s speech to the Nevada Legislature on Wednesday afternoon will be clean energy. (If you want to read more, check out my Review-Journal column in Wednesday’s newspaper or online.) But that won’t be the only thing he talks about.
First, spoiler alert: Reid will not discuss his call from 2011 to ban legal brothels in Nevada. Although judging by the amount of publicity he got from that lead-balloon line in his address, he’ll probably make a joke about it. I’m sure the joke will be tasteful.
Second, Reid will heap praise on Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, first for agreeing to expand the state’s Medicaid program under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and second for supporting the levying of an additional 0.25 percentage point increase on the Clark County sales tax to hire more cops.
I’m sure Sandoval will be requesting the video of the speech from the Legislative Counsel Bureau so he can use it in TV ads for the governor’s 2014 re-election campaign. Nothing sells a Republican to the electorate (especially the GOP base) in Nevada like praise from the infamous Reid for expanding government and raising taxes.
Third, Reid will highlight the need to improve Nevada education, especially in math and science, in order to prepare graduates for jobs in the new economy of high-tech and clean energy.
But, Reid will not come out in favor of the Nevada State Education Association’s 2 percent margins tax initiative, which is currently pending before the Legislature. In fact, he won’t come out for any specific tax plan, although improving education will certainly require new spending on schools. In that sense, Reid is every bit the former Nevada Assembly member he once was in his youth. For the most part, the current crop of Democrats won’t say how they’d raise education funds, either.
Fourth, and perhaps most interesting, Reid will endorse the idea of a stadium for Southern Nevada. Yes, he’s aware that one of his sons — Henderson City Attorney Josh Reid — is currently suing developer Chris Milam over a failed stadium venture, accusing Milam of “a breataking fraud.” But when has that ever stopped Harry Reid before? While he won’t endorse any specific project, he will say it’s long past time for a city such as Las Vegas to have a venue that can host big concerts and sporting events.
Fifth, and finally, Reid will not talk about an Internet poker bill. The state is currently working on a plan to establish interstate gambling compacts with other states that legalize online gambling within their borders, but that idea is a fallback from a federal bill regulating Internet poker nationwide. Reid was unable to get that bill going in the last Congress, and it became an issue in Sen. Dean Heller‘s election when Reid accused Heller of failing to corral Republican votes for the idea.
So, no prostitution. But I’m taking the under at three questions before a reporter asks Reid about it during a media availability following the speech.
Reid’s remarks are scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Assembly chambers. If you’re not in Carson City, it can be seen live via the Legislature’s awesome website. (Just click on the link for the calendar of meetings.)