Associated Press Writer
Nevada lawmakers start their third week of the 2009 session today, Presidents Day, with a full schedule of hearings and a scheduled Senate vote on whether to override a 2007 veto by Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Working on a holiday is the norm for lawmakers, Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said, adding, “We only have a 120-day session and we can’t afford to take holidays off when we have limited time to work.”
Lawmakers already had concluded the 2007 session when Gibbons vetoed SB146, which would have allowed small counties to raise property taxes by 4 cents for every $100 of property value to build juvenile detention facilities. They had to wait until the regular 2009 session to consider an override.
Besides the override vote, today’s agenda includes joint Senate-Assembly budget subcommittee hearings on services and programs for children; and on services for workers, including those who don’t have jobs or are in need of rehabilitation because of injuries.
Assembly Health and Human Services considers AB76 and AB83, which deal with child welfare services and investigations into cases of child abuse and neglect; and Assembly Education discusses ways to increase Nevada’s high school graduation rate.
On Tuesday, Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation plans a work session on SB51, which expands investigative powers of police before they’re armed with a search warrant from a judge. Critics say the bill is too broad.
The same Senate panel and Assembly Transportation members will meet later in the day to review the federal stimulus plan that’s expected to net Nevada about $1.5 billion. That includes just over $200 million for transportation-related projects.
Measures dealing with sex offenders will be debated by Assembly Corrections, Parole and Probation. They include AB38, which blocks automatic restoration of civil rights for sex offenders under lifetime supervision.
Wednesday’s schedule includes a speech to lawmakers by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., whose long political career included one term in the state Assembly 30 years ago. As state lieutenant governor, Reid also presided over the state Senate in the early 1970s.
Assembly Judiciary reviews AB1, barring demonstrations within 300 feet of a funeral or memorial service. Such restrictions have faced court challenges in other states on grounds they went too far in limiting free speech.
A joint budget panel reviews Nevada’s Medicaid program, in line for more than $400 million of the federal stimulus funds; and Assembly Health and Human Services will get an update on the investigation into a Hepatitis C outbreak that linked nine cases of the infection to two Las Vegas clinics.
On Thursday, a Senate-Assembly budget panel reviews Nevada’s K-12 education funding, which would be cut under Gov. Jim Gibbons’ budget proposal. The federal stimulus money for Nevada could ease or avert those cuts, depending on guidelines for use of the money.
Also, Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation reviews SB116, which would enable officers to stop a driver not wearing a seatbelt. Under current law, someone can be ticketed for no seatbelt only if initially stopped for another offense.
Senate Judiciary considers SJR9, a proposed constitutional change to allow for an intermediate appeals court between Nevada’s existing district courts and state Supreme Court; and Senate-Assembly tax panels will review the many tax breaks and abatements now allowed under state law.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, plans to detail his “green jobs” initiative in Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation; and Assembly Ways and Means will review state efforts to fight federal plans for a nuclear trash dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain.
For some legislators, the workweek will extend into Saturday. A special hearing into legislation proposed as a result of the Hepatitis C outbreak is planned that day in Las Vegas.