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The special session plan

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Lawmakers convene this morning at 9 a.m. for the 24th special session of the Nevada Legislature with a plan they hope will have them finished in a day and a half.

Both the Senate and Assembly plan to review the plan worked out between Senate and Assembly leaders in a committee of the whole. That means all 21 Senators will meet to hear proposed budget cuts in one room while all 42 Assembly members do the same at the south end of the building.

They said the idea is to take action on those items requiring a full legislative vote such as draining the Rainy Day Fund, then approve the other items in the 4.5 percent reductions already approved by the governor and lawmakers. Both Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, indicated they have general agreement on how to make the additional $275 million in cuts needed to balance the budget.

Then they would adjourn with the agreement that future reductions and budget changes worked out by the state’s agencies will be handled in a series of Interim Finance Committee meetings during the next six months.

Several members of leadership said the plan would not only get the special session over rapidly and cheaply – the special session will cost $100,000 today and $50,000 each day after that – but allow them to get back to their lives, jobs and campaigns.

Lawmakers are prohibited from raising any funds from the day after the special session is called (today) until 15 days after the special adjourns. And for Southern Nevada lawmakers locked in campaign races, they are 400 miles away from where they need to be to actively campaign for re-election.