Committees introduce 217 bills – total of 1,059 | NevadaAppeal.com

Committees introduce 217 bills – total of 1,059

With the passage of two key deadlines for introducing legislation, there are now more than 1,000 bills being considered by the 2011 Nevada Legislature.

That includes several designed to increase the amount of money lawmakers plan to restore for programs that would be sharply cut under Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recommended budget.

Senate committees introduced 107 new bills Monday and Assembly committees 110.

That brings the number of pieces of legislation under consideration by the 2011 Legislature to 495 are in the Senate and 564 in the Assembly – a total of 1,059.

There also are several proposed constitutional amendments in the mix in the form of joint resolutions. One of those, Senate Joint Resolution 15, would take what Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, described as “special taxing provisions” protecting the mining industry out of Nevada’s Constitution. She said the idea is to give the governor and lawmakers more flexibility to impose other taxes on mining.

Another is Assembly Joint Resolution 8 which would change the constitution so that, not only could a school voucher program be created in Nevada, religion-based schools could participate and receive state funding.

One major bill referred to the Senate Revenue Commit-

tee Leslie chairs is Senate Bill 491 repealing the sunsets on tax increases and revenue grabs approved by the 2009 Legislature and 26th Special Session a year ago February.

The bill would continue taking property taxes, administrative assessment money and funding including the indigent accident fund from local governments for at least another two years. It also would continue the temporary increase in the Modified Business Tax.

Altogether, the bill would make available more than $700 million during the next two years.

There also are several bills in the mix which implement portions of the governor’s proposed pay and benefit cuts. Assembly Bill 560, for example, cuts back vacation, sick leave, holiday pay and longevity and merit pay for state workers.

Assembly Bill 561 changes state law to enable the state to sweep money from school district bond reserves and other portions of Sandoval’s budget plan including continuation of the industry pre-payment of net proceeds of mines taxes.

Assembly Bill 558 creates the categorical block grant program for school districts, funded with money formerly dedicated to specific programs including class size reduction and all day kindergarten. The Sandoval administration Monday announced a change in that plan that would delay it’s implementation until the second year of the biennium. And Assembly Bill 557 creates a $20 million pilot program of performance pay for teachers.

Assembly Bill 555 would set up the performance-based system for evaluating classroom teachers proposed by Sandoval.

In addition, there is Assem-bly Bill 545, which changes dozens of statutory references in Nevada Revised Statutes that either grant Clark County different powers and authority than the other 16 counties or exempt those counties from requirements imposed on Clark County. That determination is made by setting a population cutoff. For years, that cutoff was for counties with more than 400,000 population – historically only Clark. But the latest census now has Washoe County at more than 400,000. Assembly Bill 545 avoids all the changes Washoe would have to make in its operations by raising the population limit to 700,000.