News - August 29, 2017 - by Ray Hagar

By Ray Hagar
Nevada Newsmakers

State Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson, who recently announced a run for lieutenant governor in 2018, said Tuesday on Nevada Newsmakers he will lead an effort to ban "sanctuary cities" in Nevada with a ballot initiative.

The Prevent Sanctuary Cities political action committee was formed in May. Roberson is its honorary chairman, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Roberson, R-Henderson, was an outspoken opponent of a bill in the 2017 Legislature which would have barred police from using money, facilities or personnel for immigration enforcement purposes. The law would have also covered school district and campus police.

Roberson proposed a counter-balance bill to the Democrats proposal, which would have barred cities and counties from banning cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Both bills died. Now Roberson is mounting a charge to change the state constitution to force Nevada cities and counties into cooperating with federal authorities.

"I want to make sure we prevent the Democrats from passing a law like this in the future and the best way to do that is to prohibit these kinds sanctuary cities and sanctuary state policies in our state constitution," Roberson said.

Roberson's initative would also give the attorney general constitutional power of investigation to make sure the law was not violated.

The ballot initiative on the subject must be passed by voters in 2018 and 2020. President Trump is up for re-election in 2020.

Currently, Nevada has no sanctuary cities, nor any definition for sanctuary cities in its statutes, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

"I believe I'm going to have widespread support from law enforcement and widespread bipartisan support from Nevadans from all over this state for this ballot initiative," Roberson said. "It is very important because we just saw what the Democrats tried to do last session. If they are in a position to do this next session, if there is a Democrat governor and a Democrat Legislature next session, we've got a real problem on our hands."

Roberson said he was "uniquely qualified" to be Nevada's next lieutenant governor. Current Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison said he will not seek re-election.

"With my experience as both a business attorney helping Nevada companies start and grow their business and my experience as the senate Republican leader for the past five years, I'm uniquely qualified to serve as lieutenant governor," Roberson said. "It is a position with both economic development (and tourism). The lieutenant governor is chairman of the Nevada Tourism Commission and also serves on the Governor's Board of Economic Development. But also in the Legislature, the lieutenant governor serves as president and presiding officer of the Nevada State Senate. And because of my relationships in the Legislature, I think I'll be in a great position to help the next Republican governor advance a conservative, pro-growth and pro-business agenda."

Roberson, a major legislative player in the reorganization of the Clark County School District -- fifth largest in the United States -- said he will be a strong education proponent if elected lieutenant governor. Education is a "big driver" of economic development, he said.

"Companies want to know that when they move to Nevada, they will face a business friendly tax and regulatory environment. And we have one of the best here," Roberson said. "But they also want to know they are going to find a skilled and educated work force to draw from and they are going to want to know that they and their employees will be able to send their children to good schools.

"So if I'm elected lieutenant governor  I will continue my focus on education, especially as it relates to economic development, and work with the next Republican governor and Legislature to improve education throughout Nevada."