LEGISLATIVE ALERT VIII March 25, 2019
The Nevada State Legislature got down to business without any unusual interruptions for the week ending March 22, as the 8th week of the 80th session begins today, March 25. There are 410 bills to be considered this session in the Assembly and 427 bills filed in the Senate.
A major bill that has been heard by the Senate Government Affairs Committee is expected back before that committee this week for a work session. The Privacy Bill, Senate Bill 224, was heard the first time on March 1, and the Senate’s Government Affairs Committee, chaired by Senator David Parks is expected to work session the bill Wednesday, although the agenda for that meeting hasn’t yet been posted on the legislative website.
RPEN’s Lead Lobbyist/Legislative Advocate Marlene Lockard joined one of the sponsors of SB 224, Senator Julia Ratti, at the table March 1 to help explain the need for clarification of public information relating to public employees, retirees and actives. SB 224 seeks to only provide an ID number rather than a name, along with a person’s last public employer, the number of years of service credit a person has with the public employee retirement system, the retirement date, the amount of annual pension benefit paid and whether the person is receiving a disability or service retirement allowance. NV PERS Executive Officer Tina Leiss recommended her Board of Directors’ vote to support of SB 224 at the agency’s meeting March 21, saying this issue needs legislative clarification as to what is public and what should be private in an effort to stem the number of lawsuits PERS has faced in recent years. RPEN has been instrumental in pushing clarity in this issue, starting with the 2017 session when Senator Ratti also championed the bill, SB 384 that was approved in both houses only to later be vetoed by then Governor Sandoval. We’re hoping once SB 224 is approved it’ll go on to garner Governor Sisolak’s signature.
Another bill surfaced last week during the deadline (that was extended by the way) for Legislators’ Bill Introductions, was SB 287 which revises provisions governing public records. This bill, sponsored by Senator Parks, Senator Ira Hansen, Senator Pat Spearman, Senator Mo Denis and Senator Joyce Woodhouse, would require agencies to assist requester in finding information responsive to the purpose of the request, and limit production fees to the direct cost of duplication, excluding staff time. This bill has the support of such groups as the Nevada Policy Research Institute along with the Las Vegas Review Journal and Reno Gazette-Journal. This bill would seem to conflict with SB 224 in some regard, so we will be watching this bill closely. It has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.
Today also marks another milestone for the session’s 120 day calendar, Joint Standing Rule No. 14 and other remaining Bill Introductions followed by an April 2 marker when legislators start closing budgets. On April 12, bills (not marked as exempt) must face Committee Passage out of the First House, and must receive First House passage by April 23 (again, this deadline is for all bills not already marked as being exempt from these deadlines).
For those RPEN Members living within driving distance of Carson City and the State Legislative Building, you might also want to mark your own calendar for Tuesday, May 7, which happens to fall during Public Employee Recognition Week, and also happens to be “RPEN Day at the Nevada State Legislature”. The State Office will have a table in the foyer at the Legislative Building and we will be distributing RPEN Non-Member Newsletters to the many staffers at the session, many of whom are likely eligible to join RPEN. We’ll also be seating a few of our state leaders of RPEN on the Senate and Assembly floors during floor sessions that day. So stay tuned for more information on this event.
Terri Laird, RPEN Executive Director