Long week ahead for Nevada Legislature | NevadaAppeal.com

Long week ahead for Nevada Legislature

BEN KIECKHEFER. Associated Press

Nevada’s legislative committees will have heavy voting schedules starting today as the 10th week of the 2003 session opens and a deadline for their votes on bills nears.

By Friday, all Senate and Assembly panels must decide what measures that started in their respective houses will get their endorsements. Whatever’s left behind is dead.

The deadline will mean some long hours as committees pass and kill bills. Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, said his panel’s Friday meeting could last until midnight.

Senate and Assembly money committees also will continue closing budgets. Scores of individual budgets for various state agencies should be wrapped up by the week’s end — although the biggest spending plans won’t be resolved for several more weeks.

In addition to the many work sessions on bills already heard, committees will try to complete hearings on measures that haven’t had their first reviews or require more discussion.

Those sessions will include a meeting today of Senate Government Affairs on SB360, dealing with racial profiling; and SB448, revising qualifications for Nevada’s Millennium Scholarship program.

Also Monday, Assembly Education will take up AB506, establishing student-to-administrator ratios in Clark and Washoe counties’ schools.

Assembly Health and Human Services will consider AB504, which would extend drug coverage to additional senior citizens through Medicare.

Assembly Judiciary will review AB300, which creates a panel to evaluate medical and dental malpractice claims. And Senate Judiciary will take up SB303, changing the way the state disseminates criminal history information.

Also today, Assembly Ways and Means will hear AB454, which would require a legislative audit of the Public Employees’ Benefits Program.

And Assembly Commerce and Labor considers several energy-conservation proposals, including AB431 which provides incentives for installing solar energy systems.

On Tuesday, Assembly Elections, Procedures and Ethics will hear AB528, establishing panels to evaluate and write about ballot questions; and AB422, which exempts Nevada from federal laws requiring daylight savings time.

Senate Judiciary will review SB271, letting certain casino licensees move their locations and transfer their licenses; and Senate Commerce and Labor reviews SB379, dealing with ways to prevent identity theft.

Also Tuesday, Assembly Judiciary will hear three bills dealing with construction defects, including AB373 which limits the time frame for lawsuits to be filed.

And Senate Legislative Affairs and Operations will consider SJR9, a proposed constitutional amendment to let the Legislature meet in cities other than Carson City. Also on the agenda is a proposed study into changing part of the state’s boundary line along the Utah border.

On Wednesday the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor will hear AB356, which would increase the minimum wage. Under the bill, the base pay for someone 18 years old and up would be $6.15 per hour. People under 18 would get $5.38 per hour.

Senate Taxation’s midweek agenda includes SB461, which increases taxes on cigarettes. And Senate Commerce and Labor considers SB400, a bill backed by telecom giant SBC Communications to revamp phone line rules and prevent Nevada from regulating broadband services such as high-speed Internet.

On Thursday, an Assembly Taxation subcommittee will consider AB387, which would cut in half the amount motorists would have to pay in fees when they register their vehicles.

Also Thursday, a joint Senate-Assembly budget panel will review more spending plans for the University and Community College System of Nevada.

And Senate Finance considers SB376, establishing a program for school vouchers and letting parents choose the public schools they want their children to attend.

On Friday, Assembly Ways and Means will hear AB470, dealing with one-time costs associated with integrating state and county child welfare programs in the state’s most populous areas.

Also Friday, Senate Transportation will hear SB274, which eliminates helmet requirements for motorcyclists; and SB480, which would allow Nevada police to pull over drivers solely because they’re not wearing seat belts. That’s currently not allowed under state law.