Nevada Legislature roundup: $8 million for new voting machines approved | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Legislature roundup: $8 million for new voting machines approved

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Senate on Sunday gave final approval to an $8 million appropriation to buy new voting machines.

Assembly Bill 519 would provide a maximum of $4.5 million to Clark County and a $1.7 million to Washoe County. The remaining $1.8 million would go to Nevada’s rural counties based on need.

Supporters told lawmakers the existing machines all need replacement because the Sequoia system is now well over a decade old and the machines are failing, causing problems and delays in early voting and on election day.

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The Senate has given final legislative approval to an appropriation of up to $25,000 to commission a portrait of Gov. Brian Sandoval. The vote was unanimous.

Nevada has commissioned a painting of every outgoing governor in the state’s history. The last bill provided $20,000 but the cost actually came in less than that to paint Jim Gibbons.

The portraits are displayed on the hallway walls of the state Capitol.

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The Assembly Sunday gave final approval to the bill designed to fix the retiree “orphans” problem.

They are non-state retirees covered by the Public Employee Benefits Program who are not Medicare eligible.

Before 2003, public employees from non-state governments could retire and join PEBP. That session, the Legislature changed the rules so only those who had their active workers in PEBP could retire in PEBP.

Over the years, that resulted in a pool that is almost entirely composed of retirees with only a couple dozen active members, causing their premiums to rise out of control.

SB552 fixes that issue by aligning those retiree premiums with those charged state non-Medicare retirees. Then, over four years, it shifts the cost of those premiums from the state to the local governments that they retired from.

They also approved SB551 setting the monthly subsidies for active and retired state workers. It provides $743 a month in 2018 and $741 in 2019 for active employees. Non-Medicare retirees would get $445 a month and $451 a month. Those who are Medicare eligible would get $180 a month if they retired before 1994 and $240 a month if they retired after that.

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The Senate on Sunday approved an amended version of SB405 that restores net metering and the rooftop solar industry in Nevada. The Assembly is expected to concur with this final version of the bill and send it to the governor for his signature.

The bill creates the Renewable Energy Bill of Rights and requires a utility to provide customers with electric generating systems credits for excess electricity generated by that system. The bill also repeals the cap of 235 megawatts in total net metering for customer generating systems.

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Gov. Brian Sandoval on Sunday signed SB352 to help homeowners whose property was harmed in a flood, fire or other disaster to avoid a huge tax increase when they rebuild. The bill by Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, allows people to rebuild their home without seeing their property tax bill sharply increase because it’s now a new residence.