Gov. Jim Gibbons signs 4 of 11 bills from special session | NevadaAppeal.com

Gov. Jim Gibbons signs 4 of 11 bills from special session

SANDRA CHEREB
Associated Press Writer

CARSON CITY – Gov. Jim Gibbons has signed four of 11 bills passed by state lawmakers during last week’s special session, but major bills dealing with education reform and the state budget won’t be considered until next week, a top aide said Friday.

Since the Legislature adjourned early Monday and is no longer in session, the governor has 10 days from when bills were delivered to his office to either sign, veto, or allow bills to take effect without his signature. Bills still pending were delivered between Feb. 28 and March 2.

Remaining bills will be dealt with next week, Gibbons’ communications director Daniel Burns said Friday.

Bills awaiting the governor’s action include SB2, the so-called “Race to the Top” legislation that removes language from state law that had prohibited student test scores from being used in teacher evaluations.

That provision made Nevada ineligible to apply for up to $170 million in the first round of federal education grants. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia were chosen as finalists Thursday for the first phase of funding.

A total of $4.35 billion in school reform grants will eventually be distributed. Nevada hopes to submit an application in June for the second round of funding.

SB3 establishes a four-day, 10-hour work week for most state agencies beginning July 1, and closes exemptions for some employee groups from taking mandated 8-hour monthly furloughs. Legislators imposed the furloughs last year, amounting to a 4.6 percent pay cut for state workers.

Passed in the wee hours of the waning session, SB5 extends a 1/8 cent gasoline tax in Clark County to fund road construction projects and create jobs.

The biggest bill – the backbone of the session called to close an $805 million budget gap – is AB6. The measure cut most state agencies by 10 percent, but spared public schools and higher education by imposing 7 percent cuts.

It also imposes new temporary fees for annual mining claims on a tiered scale to generate another $25 million, and raises the fee banks pay to file foreclosure notices from $50 to $200, to raise $13.8 million.

The appropriations bill also took $62 million from the Clean Water Coalition in Clark County. The agency and the fund was created in 2002 to raise money for a massive clean water project that has since been put on hold. But agency officials and some users who paid into the fund – mainly big casino companies that were billed the most – say they are reviewing that provision and may challenge it in court.

Other Assembly bills awaiting action by the governor are AB4 and AB5, which temporarily relax class size mandates and waive textbook spending requirements for public schools. AB2 gives counties discretion to change office hours for some services, such as issuing marriage licenses, if the changes are cost neutral or save money.

Bills the governor signed:

-SB1 authorizes money for the special session that cost $100,000 the first day and $50,000 each day afterward.

-AB1 requires businesses with more than 50 employees to transfer electronically any support payments imposed by a court on a worker.

-AB3, the so-called “sweeps” bill, takes $300 million from dozens of agency reserve and trust funds and puts them into the state general fund.

-SB4 expands Nevada’s preferred drug list for Medicaid recipients, making the state eligible for an estimated $760,000 in drug company rebates.




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