Our meeting yesterday was quick and to the point. It was cool outside and our office is a shed behind an old mansion that has been converted to 8 apartments. The "office" has a space heater so it was cold when we got there and all but one of us had to pee before we even walked in the door. Needless to say we spoke fast and then moved on.
What we came to was this; it was decided that the ELI Group needed to choose which direction it was going to travel in. Not everyone was there so we cast our votes and we'll see what everyone else thinks. My vote is not as important as others. I'm not on the Board of Trustees for the organization.
Regardless of the direction of that vote, we did decide that the ELI Group is going to attempt to change Nevada law. The laws in Nevada concerning child abuse are not badly written, but the penalties for breaking those laws need to be revamped. The penalties suggest that a child is somehow a lesser citizen. When an adult is beaten within an inch of their lives, the perpetrator is charged, generally, with attempted murder which carries a rather hefty sentence. But if a child is beaten in the same manner the law fluctuates. If the perpetrator has never been accused of doing anything like this before then they essentially get a get out of jail free card. If they have been accused before they get 1 to 20 years in jail or prison. The reading of 'jail of prison' indicates that the crime can be commuted down to a misdemeanor. How is that sentencing in any way reflective of fairness? Is a child somehow worth less than an adult?
I have been chosen by the Group to rewrite some of this legislation. It is our goal to standardize the law. The above example is only one of many inconsistencies that I found while examining the laws on child abuse. It is one that really makes my blood boil. How can our children be our future and be given less protection under the law? How is that even logical?
Don't get me wrong, I am happy that Nevada has some of the legislation that it has for the protection of children. I know that we get a bad rap, especially on the east coast where we are viewed as a "sin State". But almost because of the nature of some of our other legislation; the State has fairly clear and strict laws regarding how sex is handled by the legal system in this State. This includes when it is applied to children. I have no argument with the provisions regarding sex with minors, even babies, in this State. The penalties are clear and strict. It is in some of the other stuff where a little consistency needs to be applied.
Because of the nature of how this State makes it's money, since we have no personal or income tax, the laws in the State of Nevada are a bit heavy in some places and a bit light in others. When it comes to Gaming, we have things covered and when it come to the sex trade, we have everything covered under the law. But when it comes to some of the other stuff that for so long was considered private business, the law is a bit thin or a bit confused.
I have been given the task of rewriting or adapting something called Dominick's law into something that will work for Nevada. Now Dominick's law was written for Michigan and most people don't know enough about the law to know that the two States have less in common than you would think when it comes to legislation. The individuality of the States is never more blatantly clear than when reading the Constitution and subsequent Charter and laws of a State. For example; the State of Michigan was right in the middle of the legal wars that surrounded prohibition. Detroit is a huge city, it was as influential then as it is now. The mobs ran Detroit and the laws of Michigan reflect some of the prevailing thoughts that surrounded prohibition. One of those laws was the legal age of drinking. For the longest time the age was sixteen, then it was changed to eighteen, then finally amidst a lot of pressure from some of the surrounding States I believe that fairly recently, Michigan finally changed the age to twenty-one.
Here in Nevada we were far removed from prohibition and for the most part did not really care what the other half of the country was doing. Nevada has always been considered a hick place that only exists for the pleasure of real people that live in other places, and we really don't mind that opinion. It keeps out the riff-raff, usually. Nevada is a harsh State in which to live. It is a desert, from one end to the other it is barren of what most people consider life. But we love it. The harshness of the State breeds tough people. Even our big cities are tough places to live. All of that being said, alcohol never really stopped flowing here. So when it came to making up a legal drinking age it was a no-brainer, twenty-one it was and remains to this day.
So when it came to Dominick's law the first thing that I needed to do was look at Nevada law and see if the legislation could be applied without changing it... it cannot. Nevada doesn't even use the same terminology and if you know anything about law, the terminology is extremely important. So yes, Dominick's law is very important legislation and it is great for Michigan, but it needs to be rewritten if it's going to be applied to Nevada. That is my task.
Now I have a degree in Criminal Justice, not Law. So, I understand the law and how to read it and apply it. I was never taught, outside of the generalities of how to change it. This means that for me, it's back to school. By that I mean that I need to get schooled, not that I'm returning to school to get a law degree. When I attended that first fund raiser/opening dedication for the ELI Group, I had no idea that it would lead to this. But I'm not complaining, Keia asked me if I wanted to get more involved and after considering it for a few weeks I said that I did. So here I am, a real live Activity Grrrrl.
If anyone has any ideas or expertise that they would like to share please let me know.
Be good to each other.