Nevada Legislature deadline looms: What bills are through, what’s not …
Panel OKs bill allowing governments to not work with unions
A Nevada committee has passed two Republican-backed bills affecting public employee retirement payouts and allowing local governments to opt out of collective bargaining.
The Assembly Government Affairs Committee passed amended versions of AB280 and AB312 on Friday. The bills now move to the Assembly floor.
Republican Assemblyman Erv Nelson is sponsoring AB280, which would allow local governments to opt out of collective bargaining agreements with employee unions. The proposal passed with an amendment exempting law enforcement unions.
Assemblyman Glenn Trowbridge’s bill, AB312, would change how retirement compensation for public employees is calculated in an attempt to save the state money. The bill was passed with an amendment removing an increase in the minimum retirement age.
Friday marks the deadline for bills to pass an initial committee vote.
Bills changing early voting, registration rules move forward
Several bills to change rules on early voting and voter registration have passed their first hurdles in the Nevada Legislature.
The Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee approved SB433 on Friday, which allows early voting sites to remain open until 8 p.m. A Democratic proposal allowing the sites to remain open longer failed.
The committee passed SB331, which would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to forward voter registration information to the appropriate county clerk if the applicant chooses. The current procedure involves paper forms.
A measure that would allow 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote is moving forward as part of SB203.
The panel also advanced SB436, which requires people who intend to register more than 50 people to vote in a year to register with the Secretary of State.
Panel advances bill allowing state money for private schools
A Nevada Senate committee has passed a bill allowing students to use the state funds designated for their public education at a private school.
Republican Sen. Scott Hammond is sponsoring SB302, which would create education savings accounts. It passed on Friday and heads for a full Senate vote.
The bill would allow students a grant equal to 90 percent of their per-pupil state and local funding allotment.
Students could use the state money deposited in the education savings account for tuition, textbooks, tutoring or college savings.
An amendment specifies that students who are currently attending private school or homeschoolers wouldn’t be allowed to participate, and the program would pay out more for low-income students and those with disabilities.
Democrats opposed the bill, saying public education needs to be funded first.
Bill repealing class size reduction gutted, changed, passed
A measure that originally repealed Nevada’s class size reduction program has been gutted and changed into a bill promoting more equity in funding between charter and regular public schools.
The Assembly Education Committee passed an altered version of AB378 on Friday.
The original bill would end a state program that hires more teachers to keep class sizes small and costs about $177 million a year. Presenters said reducing class sizes isn’t always cost-effective.
It would have also created a Fund for Master Teachers and offer incentives for exemplary performance. Teachers in the program would make $150,000 to $200,000 a year, and mentor educators in at-risk schools.
The new version of the bill removes all those provisions and instead aims to capture more money for charter schools.
Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights moves forward in Senate
Lawmakers have passed a measure that could lead to a Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights in the Nevada Constitution.
The Senate Judiciary Committee amended and passed SJR17 on Friday. The measure is similar to a constitutional amendment passed in California in 2008 called Marsy’s Law.
It would guarantee certain rights to crime victims, including the right to know about different steps in the defendant’s court case and to have their safety considered when a bail amount is set.
Two Democrats voted against the measure. Sen. Aaron Ford said provisions about speedy processing of cases could lead to wrongful conviction and punishment.
Sen. Tick Segerblom said the bill seemed to copy provisions already in law.
Voters would have to approve it before it’s added to the constitution.
Bill breaking up Las Vegas school district clears panel vote
A Nevada panel has passed a bill attempting to break up the Clark County School District.
The Assembly Education Committee unanimously passed a heavily amended version of AB 394 on Friday.
The bill originally would have given the Nevada Board of Education the opportunity to approve deconsolidation but was amended to create a legislative commission charged with creating a blueprint to break the district into five regional bodies.
The commission would be composed primarily of Nevada lawmakers and would be given about a year to develop a break-up plan. Republican bill sponsor Assemblyman David Gardner said he hopes to have the independent districts created by the 2017-18 school year.
Democratic Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz voted for the amended bill and said the district could be better served by more local control.