Nevada legislative leaders stressed bipartisanship on the opening day of the 81st legislative session. Lawmakers kicked off their 120-day legislative session on Monday with swearing-in ceremonies scaled back to just staff and press in Carson City At the end of the evening, the Assembly adjourned without passing the bill, Senate Bill 1, that actually funds the operations of the legislature. SB1 contains a $15 million appropriation to pay for the legislative session. Staff will be paid for Monday’s work but there have been a number of people in the past who argued if lawmakers can’t even pass the bill paying for session on day one, they shouldn’t be paid for that day. The Assembly, in contrast to the Senate, made some progress, introducing 86 pre-filed legislative measures for consideration. It will take time to go through those measures because the were introduced by title with no real discussion of what is in those proposed laws. Senate remained, as it had since about 2 p.m. until well after 6 p.m. in recess. The Senate resumed about 6:36 p.m. It was the Senate’s duty to put forward SB1, the bill paying for the session. Earlier in the day, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, and Majority leader Teresa Benitez Thompson, D-Reno, both called for unity between the parties in the Assembly.
State Senators Ben Kieckhefer and Heidi Seevers Gansert during the first day of the 81st session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)
Frierson said membership in the Assembly,” will require us to set aside partisanship and work together. Frierson described this as a “legislative session that our predecessors would never have imagined.” He urged members to “disagree without being disagreeable.” And to have debates about expanding access to health care, schools and “closing tax loopholes.” “We have to get Nevada back to work and kids back in school,” said Minority leader Robin Titus of Wellington. Unlike many parts of the country and the federal government, Titus said she thinks Nevadans can work together to get things done. “II think we can do that in Nevada.” she said. Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a statement earlier in the day saying he looks forward to a “a strong partnership” with lawmakers. “To meet this historic moment we must commit to work together and focus on legislation that creates jobs , provides immediate assistance and long-term recovery, and improves the outcomes for all Nevadans,” Sisolak said At this point, the only members the public in the legislative building will be members of the press. Titus said she wants that to change. “I’m willing to do anything that gets us open to the public,” she said. But Titus also called for come changes in the laws allowing the governor to mandate closures of businesses and the economy. Sisolak last March overed nearly all Nevada Businesses to shut down. Titus said lawmakers need to define the executive branch’s role in shutdowns and said the changes can be bipartisan. “When does the executive branch have to reach out to the Legislative branch,” she said. The Senate continued into the night.