Now showing at the Nevada Legislature: reruns
Now showing at the Nevada Legislature: Reruns. At least, that’s what’s on the marquee. But it’s the unadvertised, sneak preview everyone is waiting for as lawmakers enter the final month of session.
In the meantime, it’s Round 2 for bills dealing with election law, campaign finance and DNA testing.
Here are five things to know about the upcoming agenda as the Nevada Legislature enters its 15th week of session Monday:
WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART
From Day One back in February, Democrats promised a top-to-bottom review of Nevada’s tax structure and a plan to tweak more revenues for education and other vital state services.
With only 30 days to go in the session, time is running short. Democratic leadership has said they were awaiting final revenue projections from the Economic Forum before putting the finishing touches on their tax plan. After its meeting last Wednesday, the forum declared Nevada should have about $44 million more for the upcoming two-year budget cycle than the $5.8 billion it projected last fall.
Will Democrats introduce their tax plan this week? Will Senate Republicans come out in writing with their intent to seek raise taxes on Nevada gold and silver mine operators?
Meanwhile, about those reruns:
Bills seeking to slow the revolving door and restrict the influence former legislators and public officers have on their former colleagues will be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.
Assembly Bill 77 deals with state legislators. It would bar lawmakers from lobbying at the Legislature until after the next regular session following their exit from office. An amendment added in the Assembly would allow legislators to lobby if it’s not the primary duty of their new job and if they are only lobbying for their immediate employer.
Assembly Bill 438 imposes a two-year cooling off period for local elected or appointed officials and members of the Nevada Board of Regents. Both measures were approved in the Assembly.
YOU LIVE WHERE?
The same Senate panel could vote Tuesday on a bill seeking to address shortfalls in the state’s candidate residency laws.
AB407 comes after a judge, on the eve of last year’s general election, ruled Andrew Martin didn’t actually live in the Assembly district he was running to represent. Martin won the election and represents District 9 in Las Vegas.
Democratic Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-Las Vegas, and Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno, say both political parties have pushed the boundaries of candidate residency laws in the past.
The intent of the bill, which has already been approved by the Assembly, is to clarify that residency means where you hang your hat — or plug in your electric car, as in Martin’s case.
The Nevada Senate voted to overhaul the way municipal elections in four cities are conducted.
Now an Assembly panel will consider a bill changing the city charters of Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Henderson to require ward-only voting in elections for city council or board of supervisors.
Backers of SB457 say it’s about ensuring people who live in a ward or district are able to choose their representative without undue outside influence. Supporters say too often voters who are more affluent are deciding the outcome of all city races and diluting the power of minority voters.
Under the existing charters of Reno and Sparks, primary winners are chosen by voters in respective wards, but candidates run city-wide in the general election. In Carson City and Henderson, both primary and general election ward contests are determined city-wide.
The bill passed the Senate on a 14-7 vote. It will be heard Tuesday in the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.
A bill authorizing the collection of DNA from people arrested on felony charges comes up for another debate this week.
A different version of the bill died on the last day of the 2011 session. But Brianna’s Law is back, and after sailing through the Senate 21-0, it is headed for a hearing Thursday before the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
SB243 is named in honor of Brianna Denison, a 19-year-old college student who was kidnapped from a friend’s couch in Reno and found murdered in 2008. Her family and backers of the bill believe she might be alive today if such a law existed then because her killer, James Biela, had a previous felony arrest.