Legislators’ special session proposal heads to people | NevadaAppeal.com
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Legislators’ special session proposal heads to people

The proposed constitutional amendment that would permit the Legislature to call itself into special session is headed for a vote of the people.

AJR13 of the 2003 session received its final legislative vote in the Nevada Senate on Friday.

A total of 16 Senators voted to put the issue before voters in November 2006. Democrats Maggie Carlton and Bernice Mathews joined Republicans Mark Amodei, Bob Beers and Randolph Townsend in opposing the proposed amendment.

Not only does Nevada’s legislature have to wait for the governor to call a special session, the governor has complete control over their agenda. The resolution points out only 16 states bar legislative bodies from calling themselves into special session and only nine say lawmakers have no right to set the agenda.

The amendment would require two-thirds of each house to sign a petition before lawmakers could convene in special session. The agenda would be limited to issues spelled out in that petition. Like special sessions called by the governor, the session would be limited to a maximum of 20 calendar days.

Nevada requires two consecutive sessions of the legislature followed by a majority vote of the people or two consecutive votes by the people to change the state constitution. AJR13 has now been approved by two consecutive legislatures.

However, a Senate proposal authored by Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, to change initiative and referendum provisions in the Nevada Constitution was narrowly defeated Friday.

SJR8 would specify, if any part of an initiative or referendum petition were found unconstitutional in court, the entire petition would die.

It would also require any constitutional amendment requiring an appropriation or expenditure of public funds identify the source for those funds or impose a tax to cover the cost.

Finally, it would have allowed the legislature to set aside statutes and resolutions approved by voters except those setting a tax rate or ordering an expenditure. Lawmakers would have to wait three years after voter passage of a statute.

The proposal failed 10-11 with Republicans Bob Beers, Joe Heck and Sandra Tiffany joining the majority of Democrats voting “No.” Mike Schneider of Las Vegas was the only Democrat who voted for the resolution.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.