City expected to retain lobbyist between sessions | NevadaAppeal.com

City expected to retain lobbyist between sessions

Cory McConnell
Appeal Staff Writer

Although the 2005 state legislative session ended a week ago, work for Carson City’s lobbyist Mary Walker continues.

Carson City supervisors on Thursday are expected to extend Walker’s contract, paying her $37,000 through next June to work on bill drafts and keep an eye on lawmakers between sessions.

“Anymore, the legislature doesn’t just meet every two years,” said Carson City Manager Linda Ritter.

“We want to keep her on through the interim because we understand there’s going to be more discussion on the tax cap and things that can really affect us.”

Walker said that in the next 18 months leading up to Nevada’s 74th legislative session, lawmakers are going to be studying the measure passed this year that caps property tax increases at 3 percent on residential property and up to 8 percent on commercial property.

How the cap affects Nevadans will determine whether any changes will be made in 2007.

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“That’s going to be very important to us,” said Walker, who was Carson City’s finance director before leaving to start her own consulting firm in the late 1990s.

Lawmakers will be working on several other issues, from health care to public lands, with potential to impact Carson City, Walker said. Some of those issues are the most important ones facing Nevada, such as the battle over water in this booming but parched region.

“The bigger, more contentious issues they can’t resolve during the session get put into interim studies,” she said.

The interim is also the time for lawmakers or interest groups to work the kinks out of any proposed legislation.

It’s far easier to stop a proposal in both the state and the federal legislatures than it is to get something through. And if a bill is going to make it past both houses and on to the governor’s desk, Walker said, “you really have to have all your legislation hammered out and resolved with its opponents before you submit it.”

Aside from studying the new property tax cap, Walker said, so far, indigent health care, public lands and water look to be issues of most interest to Carson City.

“I think there’s enough interim activity that we want to keep her on,” Ritter said.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at cmcconnell@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

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