The speaker revises history of 2013 session

I like Marilyn Kirkpatrick -- always have.

Her no-nonsense style. Her work ethic. Her policy imperatives.

But it must be said: This piece she wrote for The Las Vegas Sun this week is an exemplar of putting the best face on a disaster.

I wasn't surprised to see Democratic lawmakers such as Sen. Aaron Ford and Assemblyman Elliot Anderson praise the piece on Twitter. After all, it makes it seem as if a session where Democrats promised much and delivered little should make them proud.

Let's not forget that this was the session where Democrats said they would have a tax plan and never delivered, where the Assembly and Senate had little integration and where a GOP leader in the minority (Michael Roberson) had more impact than any Democrat.

Permit me to annotate the speaker's prose:

With the end of the 77th legislative session now in the rearview mirror, it’s important to recognize the gains that were made, particularly for Southern Nevada, and the work that still needs to be done.

There were more than 1,000 bills considered this legislative session, with more than half becoming or affecting statute. While some of the headlines may have been what wasn’t accomplished this session instead of what was, our state has much for which to be proud. (Damn media!)

This session, we respected the fragility of our economy while laying the groundwork for the future. (Oh? When the governor said the economy was too fragile to raise taxes, Democrats wailed.) We increased statewide support for our children in schools by almost 6 percent. Full-day kindergarten was extended to an additional 75 schools (a robust number in Clark County). (Now we have a caste system of the haves and have-nots. Progress, though!) There was almost $400 million invested to reduce class sizes statewide, and for the first time, the Legislature implemented a statewide program targeting the needs of English-language learners. (Roberson made noise about this befroe any Democrat did. And it's a pittance that was passed) The ELL programs will be supported with a package that includes free pre-kindergarten schooling, expansion of full-day kindergarten, reading skills centers and reading academies while school is out of session.

This Legislature also put a focus on our campus at UNLV and Southern Nevada community colleges. The Legislature recognizes the importance of continuing to support higher education and ensuring we do everything in our power to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow. With that came the opportunity for the university and community to support a potential stadium project as well as making improvements to existing infrastructure. (Really, the South rose again!)

In addition, this session we made it harder for criminals to perpetrate crimes by enacting a statewide DNA database for persons arrested for felonies. We maintained our gold standard in gaming by being the first legislature in the nation to license Internet gaming while also giving Nevadans a chance to take out discriminatory language in our Constitution against LGBTQ friends and family. (Yes, the gay marriage resolution was ground breaking. I'll give her that.)

The Legislature also focused on getting Nevadans back to work. We passed a bipartisan bill on fuel indexing that will be used for critical infrastructure projects and job creation in Southern Nevada. (Oh? They passed nothing that will do this. They ENABLED the Clark County Commission to do so.) We passed a film bill that gives incentive to the industry to film in Nevada, bringing jobs and needed economic injections into our community. (No wonder Ford liked this piece. His bill may or may not do anything.) We also reinvested in our critical state worker infrastructure by beginning to restore the pay cuts that had been made during the Great Recession.

Although we accomplished much this session, our work is not yet done. Our state continues to face economic challenges and must decide how to fully fund education. I strongly believe that we need to look at long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes to these challenges.

Too often this legislative session, Democrats in the Legislature found themselves confronted by a rigid Republican orthodoxy. (Which they folded in the face of -- every time.) I had high hopes going into this session that we could work together on a tax package. Unfortunately, while we were able to work in a bipartisan manner on many other issues, we could not come to the table and have an honest discussion about what our state needs in terms of tax policy. (Yes, it's the minority's fault. Must be the power of the filibuster.)

Again, a minority of members in the Legislature can slow even the will of the people to push for an honest tax discussion. Unfortunately, we will be confronted again next session with the same question we have been for the past five sessions: Will we have a tax structure designed and built in the 21st century or one that targets single industries and relies on the boom-and-bust mentality of what has gotten us into our current morass? (Right question. It was the right question 10 years ago, too. Action? Wait until next session!)