Nevada Legislature Week 15: Deadlines, taxes, taxi offensive
The pace is picking up for the 15th week of the Nevada Legislature, with a major deadline for passing bills looming and time running out to hammer out details of a plan to pay for Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed $7.4 billion budget.
A battle over the Uber ride-hailing service remains unresolved, dozens of bills await a signature or veto from the governor, and the flow of potential presidential candidates to Nevada continues with a visit from Jeb Bush.
Here are things to watch in the upcoming week.
Bills that have already passed the Senate or Assembly — wherever they were first introduced — must pass out of a committee in the other house by Friday to stay alive for the last three weeks of the session.
Advocates on hot-button bills such as AB405, which would require doctors to notify a girl’s parents before performing an abortion on a minor, are clamoring for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee, even though that panel’s chairman said that’s unlikely.
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore is pushing for a hearing on AB148, which would allow concealed-weapon permit holders to bring their guns on college campuses. That bill is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Republican chairman Sen. Greg Brower said its prospects of advancing past the deadline are dim.
Of course, there are plenty of exceptions to the Friday deadline. Some of the most hotly debated bills in the session — including a Republican-backed one that would shift Nevada from a caucus to a primary state — have been granted an exemption.
UBER AND CABS FACE OFF
The drama between ride-hailing company Uber and its cab company foes is bound to escalate in the coming week. A compromise bill on the matter fell through on Friday, with Democratic senators casting deciding votes for the second time this session against a bill that would set up a regulatory framework for so-called “transportation network companies.”
The compromise would have placed a 3 percent tax on all taxi or ride-hailing company fares, and was projected to raise as much as $100 million over two years.
But Democrats who said they had serious doubts about the revenue forecast asked to delay their decision, but they ultimately voted against the bill.
Representatives of the taxi industry have planned a rally Monday in Las Vegas and say they’re releasing a poll showing Nevadans want companies like Uber held to the stringent safety standards of cabs.
DREAMERS BECOME TEACHERS
Dozens of bills that have cleared both the Senate and the Assembly are waiting for Sandoval’s signature or veto, including AB27, which would allow teacher’s licenses for qualified immigrants who aren’t U.S. citizens. The bill is expected to help young immigrants with temporary legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.
Bill presenters framed the discussion as a way to tackle an acute teacher shortage in Clark County and to find bilingual teachers for schools with many English-language learners or a foreign language immersion program.
TICK, TOCK, TAX TALK
An Assembly debate on Sandoval’s tax plan, SB252, is expected to be pushed off past the deadline, Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson said.
But that doesn’t mean behind-the-scenes negotiations on a bill to raise revenue won’t be chugging forward. Assembly Republican leaders have a plan of their own for raising taxes, and the two ideas could be blended together.
Meanwhile, an Assembly committee has scheduled a hearing for a tax plan backed by Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler and conservative state Controller Ron Knecht. The plan aims to raise hundreds of millions of dollars less than Sandoval’s tax proposal. Assembly Taxation Committee Chairman Derek Armstrong has called it the least likely to proceed of the three options on the table.
JEB BUSH VISITS
Likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush is planning a stop in Nevada on Wednesday. His trip will include an appearance in Reno and a speech at a Las Vegas fundraiser for the Clark County Republican Party.
Bush, a former Florida governor who’s a mentor to Sandoval, is expected to announce a bid for the White House soon. Nevada is becoming a top destination for candidate visits, with a visit last week from Democrat Hillary Clinton and an appearance by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio expected by the end of the month.