Nevada Senate Democrats seek annual legislative sessions
The Associated Press
Democrats in the state Senate have revived an effort to bring annual legislative sessions to Nevada, which is one of the few states that hold sessions every other year.
Ten Democratic senators have signed on in support of a resolution that would create a 90-day legislative session in years that end with an odd number and a 60-day session in even-number years.
To be approved, the measure would have to pass the Legislature this year and the 2021 Legislature before going to voters for approval. Supporters at a hearing Wednesday argued biennial legislative sessions are outdated and a switch to annual sessions will make the Legislature more responsive.
“Our state simply cannot adequately address rapidly changing conditions, a complex budget and policy (matters) by meeting every other year,” said Sen. Joyce Woodhouse at a hearing on the resolution Wednesday. “In the past 17 years alone, our general revenue fund has more than doubled.”
The measure says sessions held in even-number years would “prioritize legislative business” on the executive budget, but also stipulates the Legislature can pass any other bills.
Democrats in the Senate have a firm majority in the body. Only three Democratic senators have not signed onto the resolution. Melanie Scheible, one of those lawmakers, declined to comment.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that Nevada, Texas, Montana and North Dakota are the only states that hold sessions every other year.
Opponents on Wednesday told legislators they have concerns the annual sessions will lead to a rise in the amount of legislation. One opponent said annual sessions would lead to bloated government while other person raised fears Nevada would turn into a full-time Legislature.
A similar resolution to create annual sessions narrowly passed the Senate last legislative session but did not cross the finish line in the Assembly.