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MINING INVESTIGATION: Legislators pledge fairness while accepting mining's dollars

Reported by: Reed Cowan
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Updated: 5/01 9:08 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The Nevada Legislature is grappling with taking mining's protections out of the state constitution and creating a system some say would be fairer for citizens.

The mining industry telling legislators to keep things the way they are.

In Carson City, lobbyists and legislators work together and communicate with time and money.

An army of mining lobbyists is available in Carson City the entire session while laws are being made, and money is contributed to legislators.

The big question: With so much at stake for Nevada citizens where mining taxation is concerned, can you -- the taxpayer -- get a fair shake if mining gives legislators money?

News 3 followed a trail of money alleged to have gone between mining interests and lawmakers:

Gov. Brian Sandoval: $43,500 from mining.

John Lee and Greg Brower: More than $60,000 from mining.

Mo Denis, Steven Brooks, Debbie Smith and William Horne: Nearly $70,000 from mining.

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick: $12,500.

To be fair, even mining opponents have lobbyists. And factions from all sides of many issues give money to legislators.

For better or worse, it is how business gets done.

But critics of mining's push to preserve a constitutional protection relative to taxation at least want voters to know their side of the story, which is a side that differs greatly from ads you may have seen lately.


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