CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) – Nevada State Representative Robin Titus, as well as the National Taxpayers Union, have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Nevada’s Public Option.
The Public Option was provided for by SB 420 passed in 2021.
“My decades of experience as a family physician in rural Nevada and my desire to stand up for Nevada patients are what led me to public service in the first place. I opposed SB 420 as a member of the Nevada Assembly because creating a state government-controlled ‘Public Option’ will worsen our state’s already severe shortage of doctors and nurses, harm Nevadans’ access to quality health care, and drive costs even higher,” Titus said.
“In addition to the negative consequences this law will have for Nevadans’ health care, it was enacted in clear violation of our state’s constitution. I am proud to bring forward this legal action to protect Nevadans and I urge the court to recognize the unconstitutional nature of SB 420 and to stop its implementation accordingly,” she continued.
The lawsuit was filed in Nevada’s First Judicial District Court and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.
It alleges that SB420 violates three distinct provisions in the Nevada State Constitution. It argues that SB 420 is at odds with a provision in the Constitution that requires a two-thirds majority in each legislative house to pass any bill that creates, generates, or increases public revenue in any form.
Second, the suit argues SB 420 is in direct conflict with Article IV, Section 19 of the Nevada State Constitution, which states that no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law. They say SB 420 purports to give the State Treasurer and DHHS Director nearly unlimited discretion to use unspecified amounts of funds from the state treasury for unspecified purposes not approved of by the legislature.
Thirdly, the suit argues that SB 420 violates the separation of powers principle outlined in the state constitution. They say the bill impermissibly delegates lawmaking authority to executive branch agency directors, without providing standard to govern the manner and circumstances under which that authority is exercised.
“Not only is the substance of SB 420 harmful to Nevada taxpayers, it violates the Nevada Constitution in several ways,” said Joe Bishop-Henchman, executive vice president of NTUF. “We urge the court to weigh the facts, which demonstrate clearly that SB 420 is unconstitutional, and to stop the state from taking any further action to implement, enforce or execute this law.”
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