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Deadline for committee action passes

The deadline for bills to make it out of committee in their house of origin passed Friday more with a whimper than a bang.

Most committees were adjourned by 2 p.m., and many Southern Nevada legislators left immediately to catch a flight home for the weekend. As of 4:30 p.m., only the Assembly Government Affairs Committee headed by David Parks, D-Las Vegas, was still working.

Under the strict schedule adopted by leadership of both houses, any bill that didn’t get a “do pass” recommendation out of committee in the house where it was introduced by midnight Friday is declared dead.

The exceptions to that rule are bills containing appropriations, bills that change or add to the budget and resolutions.

When bill introductions were cut off two weeks ago, lawmakers had 707 proposed laws to process. Probably more than half of those survived and were passed out by Friday, but Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said his staff probably won’t have everything totaled up until Tuesday.

This was the second major deadline of the session.

Malkiewich said the burden will be on research staff over the next few days to get all the amendments in order and delivered to the legal division for drafting. Then the burden again falls on the bureau’s lawyers to prepare more than 200 amendments ordered by Senate and Assembly committees. Without those amendments, the bills can’t be voted on and moved to the other end of the building.

“They worked very hard during the week,” said Malkiewich. “We had nights with five or six committees meeting after 5 p.m. working until 8 or 9. The result was they were able to come in Friday and finish in a timely manner.”

The next deadline is just two weeks away: All non-exempt bills must pass the first house and be delivered to the other end of the Legislative Building by April 26. Again, any that don’t make it are dead.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.