Nevada Legislature in brief: PERS confidentiality bill dies
The Senate on Monday declined to try overturn Gov. Brian Sandoval’s veto of the PERS confidentiality bill.
Senate Bill 384 was introduced by Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, to close off public access to the information tying how much a retiree makes to their name. The bill was sought by retirees who argued their retiree benefits aren’t the public’s business and that providing that information exposes them to potential identity theft.
Sandoval wrote that, “the public’s right to know cannot be compromised absent a compelling case that such limits are justified and in the public interest.”
He said SB384 doesn’t meet that test and there is no assurance Assembly Bill 384 would prevent identity theft.
The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the report listing the name and retirement benefit of public workers was a public document. No other information about those retirees is included in the public list.
It takes a two-thirds vote of both houses to overturn a gubernatorial veto in Nevada. After the veto message was read on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, moved no further consideration, upholding the veto.
Amendment adds $5 million to schools bill to cover Washoe shortfall
The Nevada Legislature voted Monday to add $5 million to a Clark County school district project to help cover an unanticipated shortfall in the Washoe County School
The shortfall happened because the district’s fiscal staff failed to take into account what would happen to their funding once kindergarten was fully included in the per pupil formula. Since Washoe schools added just 110 students over last year while Clark added nearly 4,000, that shifted money away from Washoe.
The result, according to Washoe officials, was a $6.6 million deficit in each year of the coming biennium.
Lawmakers declined to provide the entire amount, instead agreeing to put $5 million in as bridge funding while district officials figure out how to deal with the rest of the shortfall.
They put the cash into SB550, a bill designed to pay for a major upgrade in the Clark County district’s human resources management system made important by the planned reorganization of the district.
Lawmakers approve plan for statewide fine arts museum system
Lawmakers on Monday gave final approval to a bill establishing a southern Nevada fine arts museum and merge it with existing museum facilities in the north.
According to SB187, the plan is to unify the new museum at Symphony Park with bill seeking to create the Donald W. Reynolds Center forhte Visual Arts and E.L. Wiegland Gallery in Reno to create a unified accredited nonprofit entity responsible for establishing and operating fine arts museums and educational programs in the state.
The bill provides $1 million to fund the project.
Lawmakers give final approval to pot tax
Lawmakers on Monday gave final approval to a 10 percent marijuana excise tax and Gov. Brian Sandoval said he would sign it into law.
Sandoval actually proposed the tax in SB487 to generate $60 million or more toward funding K-12 education. But after Republican Senators refused to support it, Senate MNajority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, took the $60 million Sandoval proposed for Educational Savings Accounts to fill that gap.
After the deal was reached to end the budget stalemate late Sunday, Senators voted to direct the pot tax revenue to the state’s Rainy Day Fund instead of education and approved it.
Sentencing Commission formed
The Assembly Monday gave final approval to creation of a sentencing commission.
The commission will be charged with evaluating the effectiveness and fiscal impact of criminal sentences imposed in Nevada. There have been a number of people who say Nevada’s criminal sentences are inconsistent and, in some cases, disproportionate to the nature of the crime. The commission would be charged with making recommendations for changes to the state’s sentencing structure. The panel was given one bill draft to submit its recommended changes to the 2019 Legislature.
Energy portfolio heads for governor
The bill establishing tough renewable energy standards has won legislative approval and is headed to the governor for his signature.
AB206 mandates that, by 2030 that 40 percent of Nevada’s electric energy come from renewable sources.
Sponsor Assemblyman Chris Brooks, D-Las Vegas, said the bill is the product of work by the governor’s office, stakeholders and businesses including Apple, Tesla and MGM.
He said it will help Nevada become the nation’s leader in the coming generation of clean energy. He said that will help diversify the state’s economy, creating good paying jobs.