Passing the half-way mark
April 7, 2015
The Legislature has now reached the halfway point with bills on important topics still awaiting passage from both the Senate and Assembly.
One piece of legislation that would punish counties is a proposal to assess counties at least $1.3 million per year in costs to care for mentally incompetent offenders housed at Lakes Crossing, the state's high security facility for the mentally incompetent facing criminal charges.
This is just another unfunded mandate, especially when a district court judge — a state judge — sends an offender to Lakes Crossing. The 10 inmates currently there facing serious felonies are from Clark, Churchill and Washoe counties.
As with the other counties, Churchill is in no position to pay the state $163,000 for each individual sentenced from here. It's a state problem, so Nevada needs to deal with SB487, not the counties.
Too much back and forth is occurring between the state and critics of the state's Public Employees Retirement System and whether a hybrid system is the best solution for future employees.
Trying to change PERS seems like it would take longer than a 120-day legislative session.
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Cost cutting from previous session is catching up.
In 2008, the Legislature cut cloud seeding because of recession and a tightened budget; now, the state has entered its fourth year of drought, laving some municipalities to scramble in calling for cutbacks in water usage. Closer to home, Lahontan Reservoir is at one of its lowest levels at this time of year, and the Truckee Carson Irrigation District may be shutting off water to area ranchers and farmers this month.
Both the Senate and Assembly need to take a closer look at SB423. Passage seems like a good idea.
AB 148, a bill to allow students to carry firearms on state university and college campuses, passed; however, to gain more of a buy-in, provisions to allow concealed weapons on high school campuses, daycare centers was amended. The bill allows CCW holders into the unsecured portions of airports. Now, the bill goes onto the Senate, and if passed, then to the governor's desk.
Most of the state's sheriffs and police chiefs opposed allowing concealed weapons in K-12 schools, daycare facilities and airports.
Although the Legislative Counsel Bureau has told lawmakers that any bills trying to wrestle federal lands to state control would be futile and illegal, legislators should continue to move forward.
Nevada is not alone in either proposing or passing laws demanding more control of its land.
If nothing else, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. haven't been as responsive to the states, and this is one way for the states to make their feelings known.
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.