Legislature stays up all night

The Nevada Legislature continued a marathon special session today after failing to conclude business on time early this morning.

Gov. Kenny Guinn called the special session about 3 a.m., and lawmakers worked through the night to try to resolve differences on a number of budget issues.

About 3:45 a.m. today, they finally finally reached a deal on the Millennium Scholarship program.

The legislation will put more than $35 million in surplus money into the program along with $7.6 million a year from the unclaimed property proceeds.

The Assembly agreed to accept a 12-credit per semester limit on what the scholarship program will fund. Senators and state Treasurer Brian Krolicki said the limit was necessary to reduce the financial drain on the program and keep it from going prematurely bankrupt.

In return, senators gave up on their attempts to require recipients have a Social Security number to qualify - an attempt to exclude undocumented aliens - and increase the residency requirements so that recipients must have attended a Nevada high school at least three years to get the scholarship. The requirement will stay at two years.

The final plan allows recipients to keep the scholarship by getting a 2.6 grade average their first year in college and 2.75 after that. The Senate originally wanted the grade required to rise to 3.0 for a student's junior and senior year.

Finally, senators agreed the new requirements shouldn't apply to students already in college in the program.

The regular session of the 2005 session was supposed to conclude at 1 a.m. Monday, according to the 120-day limit set by voters.


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