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.
But the mining industry is telling legislators to keep things the way they are. And they're sending that message through an army of lobbyists.
| Coming Thursday: With so much at stake for Nevada citizens where mining taxation is concerned, who are your legislators working for -- you or mining lobbyists?|
In Carson City, lobbyists were asked about how the system works before legislators cast their vote on this issue.
Lobbyists are paid to get in the ears of legislators and advocate for whoever hires them. Critics have lobbyists, too, just not as many as those who represent Nevada's mining industry who want to keep protections for mining in the state constitution
Mining lobbyists were not very open to talking on camera.
Off camera, the lobbyists admit this is a sensitive time for the industry and their fight against SJR 15, which would remove protections for mining from the state constitution.
Knowing billions ride on keeping the status quo, messaging is crucial. And lobbyists want that message to go through one spokesperson: Nevada Mining's Tim Crowly.
Richard Perkins, who used to be the assembly speaker and now lobbies for Newmont Mining, had agreed to talk. But then he sent a text message declining the interview.
Crowly says lobbyists are a part of educating legislators about the issues. Critics of mining say lobbyists are spinmeisters who work for the big money interests of mining.