The 80th Session of the Nevada State Legislature has officially entered into “legislative time” when all of the traditional rules are suspended, meetings are held “behind the bar” and more deadlines approach. In light of this, our weekly Legislative Alerts may be impacted as well, noting that the week 15 alert is coming to you on a Friday rather than Monday. As the bills RPEN is following start to get heard and voted on, these alerts will be prepared when we have news to report.
This week, on Day 102 (May 16) of the 120 day regular session, Senate Bill 224 faced a work session before the Assembly Government Affairs Committee. As you know, SB 224 is the Privacy Bill carried by Senator Julia Ratti with assistance from RPEN’s Lead Lobbyist Marlene Lockard. But at the last minute Thursday the bill was pulled from the agenda and faced the May 17 deadline of passage out of Committee in the Second House! An amendment was brought forth May 16 to include only the name (instead of an dentification number as the original bill mentioned) and pension amount, removing the number of years of service credit, the last public employer, the recent retirement date and whether the person was receiving a disability or service retirement allowance. This request to amend the bill came from the Governor’s office and was considered at a special hearing May 17 of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee. The hearing was expected to begin at 9:30 a.m. But didn’t begin until almost noon. There was no discussion of the bill or the amendment. The motion to pass it out of Committee was made by Assemblyman Richard Carrillo and seconded by Assemblyman William McCurdy II. There were three “nays”, Assemblyman Gregory Hafen, Assemblyman Glen Leavitt and Assemblywoman Melissa Hardy. Assemblyman John Ellison voted “yea” but reserved his right to vote “nay” when the bill is heard on the floor, saying he wanted to move the bill out of Committee. So now, at least the bill will move onto another deadline, May 24, when all bills need to be passed out of the Second House. SB 224 as you’ll recall from previous Legislative Alerts, seeks to give clarity to NV PERS as to what is and isn’t confidential information and put a stop to continuous litigation that they’ve faced since 2011. In light of the latest developments on SB 224, it’s eerily odd that during the 2017 Legislative Session, SB 384, which also sought legislation intervention to this issue, was also amended to appease then Governor Sandoval, who later vetoed that bill after it had passed both houses. We will now hope for a much better outcome this time!
Much of this week, ending May 17, was spent on education measures seeking to cover a 3% pay raise for the state’s teachers, a promise made by Governor Sisolak in his “State of the State” address in January. There were last minute bills that were introduced, including a sales tax increase to be considered by counties in Nevada as another way to make up a budget shortfall for other education measures.
There remains many bills, many of which are exempt, that need to be heard and/or voted on. Among them, SB 135, the Collective Bargaining bill sought by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. SB 135 was one of four issues on RPEN’s Legislative Agenda for the 80th Session, and currently it sits with the Senate Finance Committee where it was re-referred in late April. There have been no other hearings since it was re-referred, and no hearings are scheduled going into next week, as yet.
This weekend will likely be the last free weekend for lawmakers who need to finish their business by midnight June 3. There are no legislative hearings scheduled for Saturday or Sunday, May 17-18, due to services scheduled for District 17 Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (also an RPEN member) who died suddenly May 4 at the age of 51. He chaired the Assembly’s Education Committee this session. Services in Clark County are to begin at 2:30 p.m., through 6:30pm May 17 at the Victory Baptist Church in Las Vegas at 500 West Monroe Avenue, 89106. A “Homegoing” service is also scheduled there Saturday morning May 18 at 11:00 a.m.
Terri Laird, RPEN Executive Director