Bill deadline Monday for lawmakers
Week seven of the Nevada Legislature begins Monday with a marathon day that will include a big student protest over higher education cuts and the first nighttime floor meetings of the 2011 session.
Monday is the deadline for individual lawmakers to introduce bills that they are sponsoring. Leaders of the Senate and Assembly warned their members on Friday to be prepared for evening floor sessions to get through the rush of introductions.
The same day, the Nevada Tax Commission holds an emergency meeting to discuss the lack of audits of the state’s mining industry – an admission that cost the state’s tax chief his job.
On Tuesday, money subcommittees continue the discussion on higher education budgets, while the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee considers AB108, a bill that would remove voter registration deadlines and allow people to register and vote until polls close on Election Day. The panel also will consider AB301, involving restoration of civil rights for ex-felons to vote, serve on juries and hold public office.
On the Senate side, the Legislative Operations and Elections Commission will take up SB170, which would require backers of initiatives to form an organizational committee and file certain forms before gathering signatures. Senate Health and Human Services is set to consider several bills on reporting by hospitals of infections, with the Transportation Committee to hear SB235, which would make failure to wear a seat belt a primary traffic offense in Nevada.
U.S. Sen. John Ensign, who last week announced he will not seek re-election in 2012, will speak to a joint session of the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday night. All members of Nevada’s congressional delegation traditionally address lawmakers during the regular legislative sessions held every two years. Ensign acknowledged in June 2009 that he had an extramarital affair with Cynthia Hampton and that he had helped her husband, Doug Hampton, a member of his congressional staff, obtain lobbying work with a Nevada company.
On Wednesday, Assembly Ways and Means considers AB192, which would add $2 to filing fees charged by city and county clerks, a bill backed for former Democratic Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley. The money would be used to fund legal services for abused and neglected children.
Senate Government Affairs will hear SB251 to create a sunset commission to evaluate government programs and services and recommend which can be eliminated. Senate Judiciary will take up several bills dealing with foreclosures, while Senate Natural Resources holds a hearing on SB223 dealing with animal cruelty.
A bill setting the stage for Internet gambling will be considered Thursday by the Assembly Judiciary Committee. AB258 would ask state gambling regulators to create rules for Internet poker operators and companies that make related equipment. It would also specifically prevent the Nevada Gaming Commission from denying a license to popular existing poker sites – like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker – just because they have been operating offshore in a legal gray area after a federal law effectively banned online gambling in 2006.
Assembly and Senate committees on Legislative Operations and Elections hit the road to hold a hearing Thursday night in Fallon on redistricting, an exercise that involves re-drawing Nevada’s voting districts every 10 years based on U.S. Census Bureau population figures. Lawmakers this session also will carve out a fourth U.S. House seat. Members of the Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance subcommittees also will hold a public hearing in Fallon that night on K-12 education budgets.
On Friday, Senate Education holds a hearing on various education reform bills, including SB229 to adopt a policy encouraging parental involvement in the children’s education; SB230 prohibiting sale or offering of foods containing trans-fat at schools, and SB216 establishing reading skills development centers.