Education budgets and constitutional amendments on tap at Nevada Legislature

Week four of the 2017 Nevada Legislature will see the first appearance by advocates for two of the largest budgets — K-12 and higher education.

But there also will be hearings on two proposed constitutional amendments that would turn several elective offices in state government into appointed posts.

For lawmakers, Monday is also the deadline for leadership to provide details of requested legislation so the bills can be drafted by legal staff.

The Nevada System of Higher Education appears before a subcommittee of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees on Tuesday. When student tuition and fees are added to the $1 billion in state money funding the various campuses, the total NSHE budget is more than $1.6 billion for the coming biennium.

The proposed budget includes more than $21 million for expanded Career and Technical Education programs, a chunk of which will go to Western Nevada and Great Basin colleges. WNC also will get $532,000 in added cash from enrollment increases to help meet demands for skilled workers.

Wednesday it’s K-12’s turn, including examination of the largest single General Fund budget, the Distributive School Account that contains more than $2 billion over the biennium.

Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, D-Las Vegas, has two proposed constitutional amendments on this week’s agenda. AJR6, which would eliminate the elected positions of state Treasurer and Controller. Their duties would be transferred to the executive branch under control of the governor. Advocates have long argued that those are professional positions that should be held by qualified professionals. There are currently no educational requirements for either of those posts and few of those elected over the past 30 years have had the degrees and experience to do either job. The resolution will be heard Tuesday in Legislative Operations and Elections.

On Wednesday, that same Assembly committee will take up Anderson’s AJR5. That constitutional change would basically remove the Board of Regents from the list of state elected officers allowing the governor and lawmakers to establish the composition of the university system’s governing body and provide for appointment of its membership.

Both would have to win approval from lawmakers in two consecutive sessions then concurrence by the voters.

Welfare budgets are before the money committees on Thursday followed by Public and Behavioral Health budgets on Friday.

Wednesday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee will hear AB145, a bill extending the statute of limitations for civil suits against those convicted of sexual crimes against minors to 20 years after the person reaches age 18 or after a court enters a verdict in the accompanying criminal case.

The Senate Revenue and Economic Development Committee will take up SB54 on Thursday. That bill would expand the ability of small counties to impose a sales tax for construction and rehabilitation projects — especially schools. The bill would allow county commissions outside of Clark and Washoe to be able to use the taxes to pay operating and maintenance costs of governmental facilities as well.

Monday is Opportunity Village Day and Tuesday both Mayor’s Day and Stroke Day hosted by the American Heart Association.

Cancer Awareness closes out the events calendar Friday along with Speech and Debate Day in the Assembly Chambers.

The Nevada State Railroad Museum’s reception is set for April 11, Sunday’s print edition story was incorrect.


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