Nevada Legislature: Quarter of bills listed as dead | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Legislature: Quarter of bills listed as dead

A total of 246 bills were listed as dead last weekbecause they failed to get out of committee.

Friday was the deadline for bills to pass out of committee in the house where they originated.

That is fully a quarter — 24.7 percent — of the 995 measures introduced thus far in the 2015 Legislature.

In the Senate, 119 of 509 measures were left behind along with 127 of 486 measures in the Assembly.

There were, however, more than two dozen additional measures whose fate had not yet been updated on the Legislative website as of noon Saturday. Those measures will undoubtedly further increase the total number of dead bills.

Legislative veterans, however, would quickly point out no specific measure is actually dead until the Legislature adjourns in June.

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A significant number of the remaining bills are declared exempt because they have a financial impact — usually on the state or schools. Those measures are referred to the money committees for further consideration.

Education Superintendent Dale Erquiaga said Friday all of the governor's education bills have survived including free or reduced school breakfasts, anti-bullying and funding to hire literacy specialists.

Among the dead is Assembly Bill 277 prohibiting any actions that would "burden a person's religious freedom." Opponents said that was yet another attempt to allow businesses to discriminate against gays and other people on religious grounds — mirroring laws that have drawn national protests in other states.

But among the living are AB405 requiring parents of a minor be notified before she can get an abortion and AB375 which would mandate transgender students use the bathrooms, showers and locker rooms designated for their biological gender.

There was extensive opposition to both measures during Friday hearings before the Assembly Judiciary Committee, following which both were passed on a party line vote with Democrats opposed.

Transgender Allies Group President Brock Maylath said statistically, transgender students are faced with more bullying and commit suicide at higher rates than any other student group. He said the bill would effectively legalize discrimination.

"A vote in favor of this bill will lead to institutionalized marginalization," he said. "The blood of innocent children affected by this act will be on the hands of anyone who votes for this bill."

American Civil Liberties Union lobbyist Vanessa Spinazola said the group would likely sue if the law was passed.

Lisa Mayo-DeRiso a Las Vegas-based political consultant, testified in favor of the bill and said it wasn't fair parents didn't get a chance to weigh in school district policy.

"It's important that parents have the right to make decisions and be involved in these decisions that impact our children," she said.

Also dead were a proposed constitutional amendment that would have given the governor a line item veto and removing the state's constitutional ban on lotteries.

Several measures changing the operation of the Public Employees Retirement System survived the deadline including Assemblyman Randy Kirner's AB190 that would basically convert PERS to a modified 401-K plan for all new hires. In addition, AB312 by Assemblyman Glenn Trowbridge would raise the minimum retirement age for regular PERS members to the Social Security age for full benefits, 67. Both will have to be reviewed by money committees because they have a fiscal impact.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson's Senate Bill 406 would change the rate members accrue benefits from 2.5 to 2.25 percent a year and cut off benefits for any worker with a felony conviction. That too went to the money committees.

Sen. Pat Spearman's SJR16, an attempt to revive a 30 year old issue — ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment for women — died. The move to ratify the ERA failed in the waning hours of the 1977 session.

Republican Sen. Greg Brower said Congress set a 1982 deadline for states to ratify the amendment, and an action by Nevada would only take effect if Congress later acted to extend the deadline.

But SJR15 calling for a constitutional amendment to require voters to show ID at the polls is still in play.

Sen. Don Gustavson's SJR13 that would have enshrined California's property tax cutting Proposition 13 into Nevada law, further reducing what any school district or local government could collect in revenues, died.

SB28, an attempt by local government to roll back legislation two years ago that strictly limited the ability to charge the public for documents and information, died without a vote. Opponents said it would allow local governments and state agencies to effectively prevent the public from seeing many documents by letting those agencies make them too costly for people to afford.

A laundry list of bills dealing with voter registration and elections survived the deadline including SB331 that would let a person register to vote at his or her DMV office. SB433 would expand the hours early voting sites can remain open.

But SB436 would require a person to show proof of residence before returning to the list of active voters.

A number of gun-rights bills also survived including the ironically numbered AB357 that would make it easier for an ex-felon to get 2nd Amendment rights restored without having to go before the state Pardons Board. But Don Gustavson's bill to completely repeal laws restricting concealed weapons died.

SB411 also survived the deadline. That measure would allow a county school board to effectively put a question on the ballot imposing a tax for the construction and maintenance of schools. If voters approved, the county commission would be required to impose the tax. That measure resulted from the decision by Gov. Brian Sandoval two years ago to let Washoe commissioners decide whether to impose taxes to repair schools — many more than 50 years old — in the district. The commission refused to do so.

The next important deadline for lawmakers this session is April 21, the last day on which non-exempt bills can pass out of the house where they were introduced.

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