Nevada Senate passes bill on lobbyist requests
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Nevada Senate voted Thursday for a watered-down bill that asks lobbyists to be honest when making requests to legislative staff.
Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, had pushed a plan to create a paper trail on lobbyist requests to legislative staff. He worried that too many lobbyists are directing the nonpartisan Legislative Counsel Bureau to draft amendments or bills without authorization from lawmakers.
His SB221 originally required legislators to specify in writing any tasks they’re asking a lobbyist to request.
But the measure was gutted by the Senate Legislative Affairs Committee chaired by Sen. Maurice Washington, R-Sparks.
It now simply prohibits lobbyists from telling legislative staff they have authorization if they actually do not. It also prohibits misrepresenting the scope of authorization.
Nolan has said spotty enforcement can undermine such rules. Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, D-Las Vegas, on Thursday wondered what penalties are issued for violations.
Other changes at the Legislature this session have made lobbyists a bit more uncomfortable. They face a smaller office space, less staff help and lawmakers’ pledges of revived limits on the way they push their clients’ causes.
The changes are expected to shake things up after the chaotic final hours of the 2001 session, when several powerful lobbyists were faulted for running key bills back and forth between the Assembly and Senate chambers as final votes were cast.
SB221 passed unanimously and was sent to the Assembly.