April 15, 2019
The first significant deadline of the 80th Session of the Nevada State Legislature has come and gone. Friday, April 12 meant all non-exempt bills faced Committee Passage in the First House, which led to a long day for lawmakers as well as legislative staff who prepare the bills and reports. According to a report April 15 on the legislative website there were 145 bills in the Assembly and 129 bills in the Senate that failed to meet the deadline. Among those are Assembly Bill 75, introduced in November 2018, calling for a hybrid pension plan for Nevada PERS, Senate Bill 83, also introduced in November 2018, calling for placement on the PERS Board of Nevada’s State Treasurer and State Controller. Those two bills’ fate was fairly clear following the November General Election that gave Democrats majorities in the Assembly and Senate. Both of those bills were spearheaded by former Treasurer Dan Schwartz and former State Controller Ron Knecht.
Another bill that didn’t make the April 12 deadline was Senate Bill 405 that proposed a new structure involving disability claims for certain police and firefighters that never existed. NV PERS attached a $38 million dollar fiscal note to the bill and the PERS Board voted earlier this month to oppose SB 405. There were a couple of other health related bills being watched by RPEN as well as PEBP, the Public Employees’ Benefits Program, that failed to meet the deadline, including AB 225 (relating to health care) and AB 372 (relating to emergency services/coverage).
Today marks the 71st day of this session, and Senate Bill 224, the privacy bill that determines what is and is not confidential information, remains on the Secretary’s Desk in the Nevada Senate pending amendments though it’s expected to be acted on at some point this week. Another bill RPEN has supports, Senate Bill 135, has been amended to remove PERS from the list of state workers to be included and place PERS under the group of state workers NOT included. There’s another PERS related bill, AB 415 that would change consideration of legislatively set contribution rates from 2 to 6 years continues to move in the Assembly as it’s exempt due to a fiscal note. The PERS Board took a neutral stance on AB 415 and suggested it be amended to be every 4 years rather than 6. AB 415 would not have an impact on the July 1, 2019 contribution rate changes.
SB 287, the public records bill, faced amendments during a work session held April 12, changing suggested fines from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $250,000 for non-compliance to a schedule of a $500 fine for a first offense, $1,000 for a 2nd offense and $2,500 for a third offense. During the work session Senator Ben Kieckhefer suggested SB 287 could be considered further by Senate Finance since it was exempt from the April 12 deadline. During the same work session, Senate Bill 272 that sought rate pay increases for the Nevada Highway Patrol Association, was also re-referred out of the Government Affairs Committee to the Senate Finance Committee without a recommendation.
The Senate Floor Session today (April 15) started late and ran long until after 2:00 p.m. as they went through a long list of bills to prepare for the next deadline that arrives Tuesday, April 23 when those bills not declared exempt must pass out of the First House. Things moved a little quicker for the Assembly who adjourned their Floor Session before 2:00 p.m. Both houses have floor sessions scheduled again Tuesday, April 16. In addition former State Assemblyman and State Senator Mark Amodei, who now serves the Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives will speak on the Assembly Floor Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 p.m.
Terri Laird, RPEN Executive Director