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TOWN HALL: Assemblyman Hafen talks voter ID bill, solar energy, parking perks for veterans

Updated March 24, 2023 - 8:53 am
Screenshot Nevada Assemblyman Greg Hafen II will be hosting monthly Live Town Halls throughout ...
Screenshot Nevada Assemblyman Greg Hafen II will be hosting monthly Live Town Halls throughout the 2023 Legislative Session, the first of which took place February 22 via livestream.

Nevada Assemblyman Greg Hafen II (R-Pahrump) hosted his first Live Town Hall of the 2023 Legislative Session last month, discussing a wide variety of topics with his constituents, including solar farms, his proposed voter ID requirement, a veterans’ bill he is sponsoring and more.

“Thank you everyone for tuning in. This is our first time trying this. We want to do something to try to make sure everyone is informed on what’s going on up in Carson City, to kind of give you the inside scoop,” Hafen said as the livestream, which was featured on Facebook, got underway.

Voter ID bill

Daria Sokolova/Pahrump Valley Times Officials said voter turnout in Nye County was “slow but ...
Daria Sokolova/Pahrump Valley Times Officials said voter turnout in Nye County was “slow but steady” early Tuesday afternoon, as residents took to the polls to cast their votes in Nevada’s Primary Election. Early voting numbers were also well below the numbers seen in 2014 primary.

Well-known television anchor, reporter and political commentator Michelle Mortensen acted as moderator for the Feb. 22 event.

She highlighted the attention that’s being given to Hafen’s voter ID bill.

“The legislative session got off with a bang and there’s been one bill that’s been talked about more than any other. The mainstream media has covered it nonstop, it’s gotten more attention on social media than any other bill and it happens to be your bill, Assemblyman Hafen,” she said. “It’s AB 88, and that’s of course the bill that would bring voter ID to the state of Nevada.”

Hafen said he has about 10 bills he is sponsoring this year but the voter ID bill is his number one priority for the 2023 Legislative Session.

Assembly Bill 88, which was detailed by the Pahrump Valley Times earlier this year, has three key elements.

First, it would make it a requirement that ID be shown when voting, while also allowing for mail ballots to be used so long as the last four digits of the voter’s social security number and complete ID number are written on the return envelope. Second, it would allow for anyone who is unable to afford a state identification card to claim financial hardship and receive an ID for free. Finally, it would increase the penalties for those who commit voter fraud, which he noted is something for which he has bi-partisan support.

“Voter integrity has just kind of gone by the wayside. So to me, this is one step forward to ensure that our elections are fair and free,” he remarked. “It’s my most passionate bill.”

Stance on solar in Nye/Nevada

A question from an audience member touched on a highly-controversial issue in the Pahrump Valley, that of large-scale commercial solar farms. With much of Nevada ideally located in what is called the “Sun Belt,” companies have been seeking to build photovoltaic solar fields all over Nye County, including in Pahrump’s backyard, a fact that has had locals up in arms.

When asked about his opinion on the matter, Hafen asserted that he has a serious issue with it. “I have actually introduced a bill, I don’t have the exact language but basically, what I want to do is, I want to end the solar abatements that are being provided, under the last administration, that are subsidizing these solar companies that are supplying power to California.

“I understand that the voters passed that we are going to go to 50% renewables by 2030 and that people wanted to help out by giving tax abatements for Nevada’s citizens, to help keep their power costs down but that’s not what is happening,” Hafen declared. “What we are seeing is, these solar companies are coming into our state, they are taking advantage of our generosity and they are turning around, flipping the power over the California with hardly any benefit to the local communities… In my personal opinion, we are subsidizing California’s power and I don’t want to do it… If there is going to be solar, there is going to be a benefit to Nevada and the citizens of this state, not to California.”

A bill for America’s heroes

Celia Shortt Goodyear/Boulder City Review file World War II veteran William Dunsmore unveiled a ...
Celia Shortt Goodyear/Boulder City Review file World War II veteran William Dunsmore unveiled a parking spot at City Hall, 401 California Ave. in Boulder City that is now reserved for Purple Heart recipients. Dunsmore, who has a Purple Heart, was in the first wave of soldiers on Normandy beach on D-Day. He lives at the Nevada State Veterans Home in Boulder City.

Assembly Bill 203, which Hafen has dubbed his “Purple Heart Bill” because of how the idea came about, was another he spoke about. This bill aims to give Purple Heart veterans as well as recipients of medals such as the Bronze Star or Gold Star the same free parking privileges as disabled veterans. To do this, his bill will have the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles offer license plates for recipients of these marks of valor. The bill also allows for such license plates to be personalized.

But the bill doesn’t stop there. It raises the penalty for fraudulently obtaining and using a veterans’ license plate as well. “I have a number of my veteran friends talk about how that is stolen valor and they shouldn’t be allowed to do that. Right now, you just sign a paper saying you’re a veteran and I don’t think that’s right… Because our veterans deserve respect,” Hafen said.

Many other subjects were discussed throughout the hour-long Live Town Hall and Hafen told the Times afterward that he was very pleased with the result.

“Our first Live Town Hall was a huge success,” Hafen stated. “If anyone missed it and wants to see what they missed, they can watch it all on Facebook.”

To view the video search Facebook for “Live Town Hall with Assemblyman Greg Hafen”.

The next Live Town Hall is scheduled for Wednesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. and will also be live-streamed via Facebook.

Hafen can be reached at Gregory.Hafen@asm.state.nv.us or by calling 775-684-8805.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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