The state printing office will become part of the Legislative Counsel Bureau July 1, solving both the governor's desire to privatize the operation and special needs of the Legislature and Supreme Court.
Gov. Kenny Guinn has wanted to privatize the printing division for several years, saying state agencies can get most of their forms, pamphlets and brochures done more cheaply and quicker by private industry.
The sticking point has always been the special needs of the Legislature, which requires next-day service for bills, amendments, journals, histories and other documents. And the Supreme Court has special needs for its reports, opinions and other published materials.
But when Guinn ordered budget cuts in state agencies, one of the things many departments decided to cut back was their orders for business cards, letterhead and forms. That caused the printing division's budget to nose dive to the point where Guinn threatened to shut it down.
LCB Executive Director Lorne Malkiewich said that raised some serious concerns for the counsel bureau.
"there was a concern the governor might shut down the printing office July 1, and we became more and more concerned our ability to print bills and the Supreme Court's ability to print Nevada Reports was in jeopardy," he said.
Malkiewich said moving the printing division into the legislative branch should satisfy all those issues.
"It's a partial privatizing of state printing," he said, adding that the governor supports the plan.
State Printer Don Bailey said he is excited about the change because it will enable the printing division to focus on the things it does best. He said the division will still be able to bid on state printing jobs, but that agencies can use commercial printers for most work. He said his agency will no longer be required to do work for state agencies, except the Legislative branch and the Supreme Court.
Printing will keep its existing employees, Malkiewich said. That includes the printer's union -- the only labor organization in state government with collective bargaining rights. Malkiewich said he doesn't anticipate any major problems dealing with the union.
He said the change should help stabilize the printing division budget. Personnel hope to lower staffing and overhead in the agency, which now has a budget of $3.5 million a year.
Malkiewich said since the Legislature and court are probably its two biggest customers, the division will still have plenty of work.
"I like an exciting new program so I'm looking forward to it," said Bailey.
Malkiewich said they will work out the details over the next month or so. He admitted the idea was developed only a few weeks ago.