Special Session: Senate approves eviction mediation and mail in balloting for November
During the Special Session on Sunday, the Senate voted out four bills including the creation of an eviction mediation program proposed by the Nevada Supreme Court and the mandate to provide mail-in ballots to all active voters for November’s elections.
Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, presented the mediation program plan saying with the upcoming end of the evictions moratorium, Nevada may be looking at upward of 100,000 evictions in a month, a number that would overwhelm the courts and cause huge delays in processing them.
The program in Senate Bill 1 would stay evictions for 30 days and put each case before a mediator to try work out a plan both landlord and tenant could agree with to avoid eviction. Supreme Court Justice Jim Hardesty presented the proposal to lawmakers saying it would be modeled after the foreclosure mediation program that was very successful during the great recession.
The measure was approved 18-3 and goes to the Assembly.
In addition, the Senate approved AB4, the measure that provides every active voter in the state receive a mail-in ballot for the November elections.
It passed on a 13-8 party line vote with Republicans opposed saying it could compromise the integrity of the election by allowing “ballot harvesting” by people who could collect and turn in hundreds of ballots to their county clerks.
Opponents argued Nevada already has a strong absentee ballot system and anyone who wants to avoid in-person voting can easily vote absentee.
But Democrats pointed out that the mail-in primary election was successful with very few problems and that the situation with the pandemic hasn’t changed since then. The Democrats rejected the idea the November election would somehow be corrupted. They also pointed out that there will be in-person voting stations in every county for those who want to vote that way.
That measure goes to the governor’s desk.
Senators approved AB1 containing technical corrections to bills passed in the 2019 session. The bill passed 19-2 with Sen. Ira Hansen, R-Sparks objecting to language restoring voting rights to convicted felons before they complete their sentence. He said they should complete their punishment before getting back voting rights. That measure also goes to the governor’s desk.
Finally, Senators approved SB2 allowing remote floor and committee meetings during the pandemic. The bill also formally creates the General Counsel’s post within the LCB Legal division, a position co-equal to the Legislative Counsel and paid well over $100,000 a year.
Minority Leader James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, objected to the language in the bill removing the requirement that proposed state constitutional amendments be published for three months before action can be taken. He said that overturns 150 years of procedure the legislature has followed and, in his opinion, violates the intent of Nevada’s constitution. SB2 was approved 15-6 and goes to the Assembly.
The Assembly adjourned until Monday with no start time announced at this point