Fiercely debated bills die as session closes
Nevada’s 120-day legislative session has finally drawn to a close, and many of the hot-button issues debated during the session ended up dying at midnight on Monday.
Here are 10 of the bills that garnered headlines but ultimately didn’t make it:
Republicans tried several times to quietly do away with AB405, a hot potato of a bill requiring doctors to notify a girl’s parents before performing an abortion. Assembly leadership tried to downgrade it to a study, but social conservatives rallied, pushing it through the Assembly and clamoring for a hearing in the Senate. In spite of an urgent social media campaign from opponents and passionate testimony from proponents, the measure failed to garner enough support in the Senate and was never brought up for a vote.
A measure that catapulted Nevada into the national debate over transgender rights never became law after failing to clear an Assembly vote. Lawmakers rejected AB375, the so-called “bathroom bill,” in April when five Republicans broke rank and joined Democrats to defeat the measure 20-22. The measure, which drew sharp criticism from transgender advocates, would have required students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponded to their biological sex.
Despite multiple attempts by some Assembly Republicans, the hot-button issue of allowing people with concealed firearm permits to bring guns onto college campuses never made it to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s desk. AB148 failed to get a committee vote in the Senate after passing the Assembly in April, and other attempts to add so-called “campus carry” language to other bills failed. Colleges and student leaders sharply opposed the efforts.
Several pending bills that would have required a government-issued identification card failed to become law this session. Assembly members shelved AB226 in April primarily because of a perceived fiscal cost to the state, said Assemblywoman Jill Dickman, the Republican bill sponsor. A similar bill in the Senate died without ever receiving a hearing.
PETS AND POT
Democratic Sen. Tick Segerblom included a provision allowing medical marijuana cards for pets as part of a broad-ranging, ill-fated marijuana bill. The issue garnered national headlines and concerns from animal advocates who wondered whether such an untested treatment was suitable for pets. The bill eventually died without a hearing.
LGBT CONVERSION THERAPY
SB353, a proposal that would have banned therapies that aim to change the sexual orientation of minors, was held in limbo for weeks before eventually passing the Senate late in the session. But it was never brought up for a hearing in the Assembly, which is more socially conservative, and died there on Monday.
A bill that would have initiated switching Nevada’s presidential caucus to a primary election ultimately failed to win legislative approval. Assembly members continually delayed a vote on SB421 on Monday, which would have allowed national political party heads to request that Nevada’s current caucus system for selecting a presidential candidate be changed to a primary election.
Assemblyman Randy Kirner led the charge to overhaul public employee pensions, hoping to make them look more like private 401(k) plans. Concerned state employees crowded hearing rooms, and PERS officials panned the idea as unconstitutional. Kirner’s bill, AB190, ultimately fizzled, but a measure backed by Republican Majority Leader Michael Roberson that slightly reduces payouts to retirees garnered wide support.
Unions sounded the alarm over another bill from Kirner, AB182, which drastically reduced the role of collective bargaining in local government. Labor groups rallied supporters against what they called “Union Armageddon” and fought it even in its weakened form. The bill eventually died, while another Roberson proposal to pare down the power of collective bargaining won broad approval and passed both houses.
Nevada lawmakers narrowly rejected a compromise proposal that would have raised the state’s minimum wage to $9 for some workers but also made it harder to qualify for overtime pay. The measure would have upped the state’s minimum wage for workers without employer-offered health insurance to $9 and required at least 10 hours of work in a day before employees qualified for overtime pay. Assembly members rejected the measure Monday night on a 21-19 vote, falling a vote short of the constitutionally-required majority.