Legislature takes it down to the last hour
The 78th Nevada Legislature came to a sudden halt early Tuesday morning as legislators prevented having egg on their collective faces because they couldn’t come to terms on Educational Savings Accounts and then a Capital Improvement Projects bill as a bargaining chip.
When the state Republican senators decided to play hardball with the Democrats for what they called backing out of supporting some funding for the ESAs, both parties forgot whom they were representing.
At stake in that CIP was funding for a $33.1 million Northern Nevada Veterans Home. Senate Bill 546, the CIP budget for the coming biennium, died on the Senate floor Thursday evening after Republicans all voted no as part of their protest against the Democrats’ refusal to fund ESAs. Republicans vowed to oppose the entire budget.
While Democrats passed four budget bills on a majority vote, the CIP required support from two thirds of lawmakers. The Senate vote, at 12-9, fell two votes short.
Movement to remove the stalemate, however, began to unfold Sunday like a prisoner waiting for the governor to grant clemency.
Seeing how leaving out the veterans’ home budget could boomerang on both parties, the Democrats compromised by approving a one-time $20 million increase in tax credits for Opportunity Scholarships. The Senate Republicans then approved the CIP bill that also contained money for a new Department of Motor Vehicles building in Reno and a medical building at UNLV.
We think many veterans agree they do not like being held hostage by legislators when it comes to their issues. What if both sides couldn’t agree and went home without their toys? The funding would be delayed and probably submitted in a CIP during the 79th Legislature.
More wait. More money. More frustration. More wrangling.
On the final day, the governor also approved $17 million for the Clark County School District and $5 million to bridge a deficit in the Washoe County School District.
It seems like in every session either the Assembly or Senate wait until the last few days to throw roadblocks at each other and then make the residents feel anguished or frustrated.
We doubt if that will change, but we can always remain optimistic that the 79th Legislature could produce some bi-partisan teamwork that would be beneficial not only to both parties but also to the state’s residents.
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.