Special session ends – 2:12 a.m.
The 26th Special Session of the Nevada Legislature shut down at 2:12 a.m. after passing a 60 page bill designed to put the state budget back in balance.
The legislation consists not only of budget cuts but sweeps to take unused cash out of a laundry list of accounts, increased fees in parks, gaming, the secretary of state’s office and other areas, redirection of different funds and creative shifts in federal funding.
The budget bill passed the Assembly 34-8 with a core of conservative Republicans opposed. In the Senate, Democrat Bob Coffin of Las Vegas was the only negative vote.
The session also approved legislation implementing four day weeks for state offices that can do so and giving county governments the ability to make similar changes in hours of operation.
It also granted school districts much more flexibility in using the money the state provides.
The budget deal, worth a total of $805 million in adjustments, was worked out over the past week behind closed doors and signed off on not only by the Republicans and Democrats in both houses but Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Gibbons is expected to sign the bill into law within the next day or so.
Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said no one got everything they wanted and everyone agreed to accept certain things they didn’t want in the plan. He praised the players for their work to put the compromise package together.
He also pointed out that the big challenge is still ahead – the shortfall of up to $3 billion facing the 2011 session of the Legislature.
In handling that shortfall, he quoted Reno Republican Sen. Randolph Townsend saying, “This will be the model for the next session: No is not a plan.”
After Horsford finished, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki finished the speeches saying: “It’s been a privilege to spend this week with you. Now, let’s shut it down.”
With that, the process of formally closing the Legislature down began.