Oops the law of unintended consequences has come to the state of Nevada.
Harry Reid is running a new ad attacking Sharon Angle saying “Sharron Angle voted to protect sex offenders.” Without realizing it, he is also attacking NV-3 incumbent Democrat Dina Titus
The ad says that Angle was one of only two members of the State Assembly to vote against the measure. Which is true. It is talking about AB239 of 1999. It passed 40-2 with Angle one of the two “no” votes. The bill required the state to set up a special fund to which people can donate to pay for background checks of volunteers for non-profit groups such as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. The background checks include whether the prospective volunteer has been convicted of a sexual offense. Since these volunteers usually work with children for free lawmakers thought it unfair to also require them to pay the costs of the background checks. Angle expressed concern about invasion of privacy and liability issues and worried the voluntary program would become mandatory.
According to Politifact the ad is factually true but out of context:
So where does this leave us? The ad is correct on the substance of the bill, and it’s correct that on the most important vote she took on the bill — the roll call vote on the Assembly floor — Angle was indeed one of two legislators who voted against it. The ad is also correct that Angle cited privacy as a concern during the debate.
But the ad glosses over a few bits of context. When the identical bill came up in committee, Angle did not vote against it, nor did she demand a roll call vote on the amended version when it came back to the Assembly from the Senate. In addition, she cited other concerns beyond privacy that may have played into her decision to vote against the bill, including legal liability (which was addressed in the bill’s final version), the possibility that such programs could one day become mandatory and First Amendment concerns.
Now here is the most interesting part, when that same bill reached the Nevada Senate, there was only one state Senator Voting against the legislation, Dina Titus.
Titus was in the state senate when the bill Reid’s ad featured, AB 239, went through the legislature and was the only senator to cast a ‘no’ vote on the measure.
When asked whether Titus agreed with Reid that a ‘no’ vote was akin a vote “to protect the privacy of sex offenders instead of the safety of our kids”, Titus spokesman Andrew Stoddard responded with this explanation: “Angle voted against the bill in the Assembly. Dina voted for the exact same bill in committee. When it came to the Senate floor a Republican amendment was passed that weakened the bill by holding non-profits harmless if they refused to take advantage of free money to help them screen out sex offenders, allowed a sex offender to work with kids, and something happened. Dina voted against the amended version, which was different than the bill Angle voted on, because Republicans took a good bill and removed any incentive for organizations to use it.”
In other words, Titus had her own reason for voting against the bill just as Angle did. Neither one of them were voting to protect sex offenders. It does show how out of touch Harry Reid is that he didn’t check exactly who his latest attack commercial would attack.