Nevada Legislature enters week eleventh week

The 11th week of the 2003 Nevada legislature may seem calm when it starts today -- but it's just the calm before expected stormy debate over taxes later in the week.

Today, both the Assembly and Senate will both have long lists of bills up for final votes. Many of those votes were delayed last week as legislative committees rushed to meet a deadline for final action on scores of measures.

Also today, Assembly Ways and Means will hear AB7, Assemblyman Mark Manendo's seventh attempt at reducing the legal level for driving under the influence of alcohol from 0.10 to 0.08.

Manendo, D-Las Vegas, says millions of federal highway dollars hinge on the bill's approval. Thirty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico already have adopted the 0.08 standard.

Several other committees that normally meet on Monday aren't holding start-of-the-week sessions.

On Tuesday, Senate Judiciary will begin considering Assembly bills, including AB105 which provides good time credits for inmates released on parole.

Also Tuesday, Assembly Ways and Means reviews AB341, a bill to erase Nevada's immunity from lawsuits filed by state workers claiming violations of federal civil rights and fair labor laws.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., will address a joint session of the Senate and Assembly Tuesday evening, followed by an address from U.S. Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., Wednesday.

Debate over Nevada's medical malpractice insurance crisis will pick up on Wednesday as Senate Commerce and Labor discusses possible amendments to SB250, a "med-mal" measure approved by the panel last week.

Commerce and Labor Chairman Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, said the amendments up for consideration include elements of bills that were shelved in committee as a result of last week's deadline for committee action.

Several Assembly-Senate budget subcommittees have scheduled midweek meetings, all with the goal of wrapping up work on the various elements of Nevada's $4.81 billion spending plan for the next two fiscal years. Those subcommittee sessions continue on Thursday and Friday.

Also Wednesday, Senate Natural Resources considers AB74, which sets up a funding mechanism for programs to clean up polluted industrial sites known as brownfields.

On Thursday, Senate Taxation Chairman Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, said he may hold a work session to go through various tax proposals -- starting with some of the "easier" ones such as liquor and cigarette tax increases.

His goal is to start drafting a final tax plan that the Senate will take to expected conferences with the Assembly in the final weeks of the 2003 session.

Assembly Taxation Chairman David Parks, D-Las Vegas, said he also plans to get his committee working on a final Assembly version.

Also Thursday, Senate Commerce and Labor considers AB232, an Assembly-approved bill aimed at curbing unwanted telemarketing calls by creating a "do not call" registry.

On Friday, the Assembly Committee on Constitutional Amendments will take up AJR9, which would give each county the authority to set the pay rates for their elected officials. That duty currently is in the hands of the state Legislature.


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