CARSON CITY, Nev. — Exhaustion has set in. Nerves are frayed. Welcome to the frenzied, final days of the Nevada Legislature, where lawmakers are trying to close deals by midnight Monday and head for home. With time running short, there’s still much work to be done. Here are five things to know about the waning hours of the Nevada Legislature:
The five major bills are being approved in committees and hustled to the floors for votes after months of painstaking review by the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees. As of Saturday afternoon the finishing touches were being put into the big K-12 public education bill. Under the Nevada Constitution, legislators must approve the Distributive School Account funding before any other spending authorization bill. A vote on that is expected Sunday. The four remaining budget bills dealing with state worker pay, capital improvement projects, agency spending limits and authorization to spend federal dollars and state highway funds will then be acted upon quickly.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick introduced a new bill Friday revamping her admissions tax plan. AB508 is a redo of an earlier bill that sought to impose an 8 percent tax on just about anything that involves an admission charge. The new version would close loopholes in the existing live entertainment tax and remove movie tickets, golf and gym memberships from the levy. A joint hearing before the Senate Revenue and Assembly Taxation committees is scheduled Sunday afternoon — less than 36 hours before the session adjourns.
WARREN BUFFET COMES TO NEVADA
The Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee is scheduled to vote Sunday on a package of renewable energy bills, including SB123, a bill setting out NV Energy’s plan to retire its coal plants in Nevada. Under the plan that’s already cleared the Senate and is backed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, NV Energy will eliminate at least 800 megawatts of coal-fired electric generating capacity by Dec. 31, 2019. It also provides for the construction or acquisition of 350 megawatts of generating capacity from renewable energy and another 550 megawatts of capacity from other electric generating plants such as natural gas. Some critics, however, say the legislation loosens regulatory oversight and would harm ratepayers.
Days after passage in the Senate, Warren Buffett announced his Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy utility will buy NV Energy for $5.6 billion.
As of late Saturday, the Senate Finance Committee still had not taken action on SB475, a bill that would extend for another two years taxes that otherwise will expire June 30. Revenue from extending the taxes is included in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $6.5 billion general fund spending plan. But the bill also includes more breaks from the state’s Modified Business Tax for Nevada businesses — a provision that doesn’t sit well with some members of the Democratic leadership.
There are many. And while it may be putting lobbyists in a tizzy, there is one consolation. Come midnight Monday, it will all be over. Hopefully.