A Nevada bill aims to crack down on contractors who knowingly hire people who are living in the country illegally.

Ira Hansen

Assemblyman Ira Hansen

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada bill aims to crack down on contractors who knowingly hire people who are living in the country illegally.

Republican Assemblyman Ira Hansen is expected to present AB133 on Monday in the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee.

Federal law already bans businesses from knowingly hiring people who aren’t authorized to work in the country, but the bill would add additional state sanctions on the company’s business license.

A contractor who violated the law would have their license placed on probationary status for three years, and would lose their license if they violated the law during that time.

Members of the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus oppose the bill, saying federal law is sufficient and the bill’s requirements would burden the Nevada State Contractors Board.

Assemblyman Ira Hansen seeks to limit BLM, Forest Service police powers

Hansen seeks to limit BLM, Forest Service police powers

Assemblyman Ira Hansen has concerns about the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service overreaching their policing powers.

Spurred in part by the BLM’s April roundup of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle that brought an armed confrontation between federal agents and Bundy supporters, the Sparks Republican is pushing for a bill that would prohibit BLM and Forest Service law officers from enforcing state laws.

He is trying to get Nevada’s 17 counties, including Clark County, to take an interest in the issue that would be considered by the 2015 Legislature.

Hansen’s concerns are tied in part to a variety of high-profile law enforcement incidents involving the BLM, including the roundup of Bundy cattle on public land and a fatal shooting at Red Rock that involved BLM law enforcement.

Clark County commissioners will discuss the matter Tuesday at the request of Commissioner Tom Collins.

Hansen said the legislation would expand existing Nevada law that outlines arrest powers within the state for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, U.S. postal inspectors and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

“The Bundy situation raised public awareness to a higher level,” he said.

In his letter to county commissioners, Hansen stressed that a locally elected sheriff is meant to be the highest law enforcement authority in Nevada counties.

His refrain echoes that of Bundy, who criticized BLM agents during the court-ordered roundup of his cattle after he didn’t pay grazing fees and owed more than $1 million in fees and penalties. The cattle were released during an armed standoff. No shots were fired.

“Bottom line: You need to make sure your citizens are safeguarded with all of their traditional constitutional and statutory protections: Local government, local control — especially when it comes to possible criminal charges from a federal land management agency,” Hansen said in his letter to commissioners.

Hansen had planned to push the bill as Assembly speaker. The 25-member GOP caucus gave him the job after the Nov. 4 election brought Republicans to power in the lower house. But he resigned after a Reno newspaper explored controversial comments he made about race and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in newspaper columns.

Hansen’s legislation would require federal agencies to get approval from sheriffs if they want to enforce state laws.

Hansen said he is concerned about BLM enforcement activities, including traffic citations, that fall under state law.

Eric Boik, chief ranger of the BLM’s Nevada operation, said BLM law enforcement officers “only enforce federal law. We do not enforce any state law.”

However, federal laws do allow BLM rangers to stop vehicles that are speeding on BLM lands, or county and state roads that have BLM property on both sides. There is a federal law for speeding that BLM law enforcement can use when citing drivers.

“Never does a BLM officer go into the field and say, ‘I’m going to work on county highways,’ ” Boik said.

The agency has 21 uniformed law enforcement officers for more than 48 million acres of public lands in Nevada.

Boik stressed that the agency works with sheriff’s offices throughout Nevada to accomplish goals, such as investigating marijuana gardens found on BLM property.

BLM officials would not comment on the specifics of Hansen’s legislative proposal, or his statements in correspondence.

Hansen said the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in Clark County by BLM agents “gives a sense of the worst case possibilities.”

The BLM has said D’Andre Berghardt Jr., who was shot and killed near Red Rock Canyon, had threatened to shoot officers before getting into a Nevada Highway Patrol car and reaching for the trooper’s rifle in the firearms safety rack. After the Feb. 14 incident, police investigating the case asked the public for information about how the victim ended up on the state highway near Red Rock Loop.

Collins said state law needs clear language that includes the BLM and Forest Service, agencies that were overlooked in prior legislation.

He said someone who is walking along a state road shouldn’t be stopped by BLM officers.

“They’ve got no business stopping someone walking down the street,” Collins said.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.

Ira Hansen ‘sorry’ after inflammatory columns highlighted “King’s private life was trashy at best. … King Jr. is as low as it gets, a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud,” Hansen wrote, according to Myers’ story

Ray Hagar7:55 p.m. PST November 20, 2014

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Update: 5:40 p.m.: Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, who was tapped to be the next speaker of the Nevada Assembly, apologized on Thursday after comments he made in several columns written for the Sparks Tribune were publicized Thursday.

“I am deeply sorry that comments I have made in the past have offended many Nevadans. It is unfortunate that these comments, made almost 20 years ago as a newspaper columnist and talk radio host, have been taken out of context and are being portrayed as intentionally hurtful and disrespectful. These comments were meant to be purposely provocative in various political, cultural and religious views. I have the utmost respect for all people without regard to race, gender, religious or political beliefs.

“I am committed to showing that actions are much louder than words and my office will always have an open door to all backgrounds and political viewpoints. This will not distract us from finding solutions to building a brighter and more prosperous Nevada.”

Meanwhile, state Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, condemned Hansen’s remarks in a statement issued Thursday.

“As the Democratic leader of the State Senate, and more importantly as a father and citizen of Nevada, I wholeheartedly condemn Speaker-designate Ira Hansen’s racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks. I am saddened that I once again find myself in a position where I have to explain to my children why and how someone who was elected to office in our home state would make such antiquated and bigoted comments. Mr. Hansen has stated that his words were meant to be ‘provocative.’ They certainty provoke, but more than that, they are offensive.

“The Nevada Senate Democratic Caucus is one of the most diverse caucuses in the nation, with male and female members belonging to the African American and Hispanic communities, the LGBT community, and multiple religious communities. Our caucus reflects the cultural diversity of Nevada, and we will continue to condemn remarks like the ones unearthed today. We are committed to representing the communities to which we belong. Moreover, we will represent all Nevadans to foster an inclusive, accepting environment for everyone.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., was also critical of Hansen.

“Assemblyman Hansen’s past comments and positions on race, religion, and gender that have recently been reported give me great concern,” Heller said in a prepared statement. “These comments were insensitive, wrong, and extremely offensive and insulting. Statements like these do not have a place in public discourse.”

Original post: The Reno-Sparks branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is demanding the ouster of new Assembly Speaker Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, for his “racist, bigoted, and homophobic” views he showed as a columnist for the Sparks Tribune.

Hansen was elected speaker two weeks ago, defeating former Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno, for the speakers’ position.

Hansen wrote for the Sparks Tribune through two decades, beginning in 1994.

“We understand that the (GOP Assembly) caucus has many newly elected members who may not be as familiar with Mr. Hansen’s past as we are. They need to know he has beaten the drum of intolerance for decades,” said Jeffrey Blanck, the Reno-Sparks NAACP branch president.

Hansen was named speaker designate about two weeks ago and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Fellow Assembly GOP caucus member, Assemblyman Jim Wheeler, R-Minden, said people should give Hansen a chance before trying to tear him down.

“He is really trying to do something right here and this kind of thing is so counterproductive,” Wheeler said. “Give us a chance. The people decided (in the election). Give us a shot.”

The criticism of Hansen by the NAACP comes on the same day The Reno News & Review published a story by longtime Nevada journalist Dennis Myers, who reviewed 13 years of Hansen’s columns in the Sparks Tribune that started in 1994. Myers noted Hansen’s views on women, gays and race.

Myers’ story was picked up by various national news outlets, including the Washington Post and Huffington Post.

“No Nevada official has ever given the public a more detailed blueprint to his thinking than Hansen,” Myers wrote.

People should not take the NAACP’s word about Hansen’s writings, Blanck said. They should read the articles themselves.

“We do not ask anyone to take our word for it,” Blanck said about NAACP allegations “Take his words. A detailed compendium of his racist, bigoted, and homophobic views has been posted online and may be accessed via the Reno-Sparks NAACP’s website at RenoSparksNAACP.org.

“As a public official, Hansen’s comments are of importance,” Blanck said.

Wheeler said Hansen’s opponents can’t criticize his policies so they are attacking him personally.

“So far the other side has not been able to focus on the polices that we wish to get through in the next session (of the Legislature), therefore, they are stooping to personal attacks which is the “modus operandi” for the other side of the aisle.”

Wheeler said he was not directing his criticism at Assembly Democrats nor the Nevada Democratic Party.

“It is a small subgroup of very liberal people,” Wheeler said about Hansen’s political opponents. “They can’t go after our policies so they are going after us personally and there is no room for that. People don’t want that anymore.”

Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, said on Twitter that Hansen’s comments make him “nauseous.”

“Speaker Hansen & I have a cordial relationship, but we don’t see eye-to-eye on much,” Ford tweeted. “This literally makes me nauseous.”

Ford did not immediately return calls seeking an expanded comment.

Myers noted that Hansen was critical of black activist Martin Luther King Jr. in one of his Sparks Tribune columns.

“King’s private life was trashy at best. … King Jr. is as low as it gets, a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud,” Hansen wrote, according to Myers’ story.