A Senate committee’s approval of Senate Joint Resolution 8 marks the first step in a long process to get a proposed constitutional amendment creating annual legislative sessions approved. The resolution calls for 90-day sessions in odd-numbered years and 30-day sessions in even-numbered years.
It should die on the Senate floor.
Nevada is one of only six states with biennial sessions, and the Silver State should stay that way. Our current 120-day sessions allow lawmakers to come to Carson City in mid-January to prepare, and to leave by the end of June after completing all the necessary business for the next two budget years. If they can’t complete their business in the allotted time, there are always special sessions.
Where the resolution really goes south, though, is its provision allowing lawmakers to meet in Las Vegas during the 30-day sessions. Add it up and that’s 30 fewer days every two years that lawmakers could spend in Carson City, away from the distractions and noise in Vegas. That hurts our economy.
Besides, Las Vegas shouldn’t be Nevada’s capital any more than New York City should be the nation’s. Our neighbor to the south has developed numerous ways to attract visitors from around the world; it doesn’t need to lure our Legislature, too.
Only 10 state capitals nationwide have remained in the same place through colonial, territorial and/or statehood eras, according to the Nevada State Library and Archives. Ours, in place since our state’s battle birth in 1861, is one of them.
If the 2013 Legislature approves the annual-sessions bill, it then will have to be approved by voters and the 2015 Legislature.
Let’s hope it doesn’t get that far. When it comes to lawmaking, what happens in Carson City should stay in Carson City.