The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities will be publishing regularly a “Legislative Update” to help inform residents of Nevada about activities and actions during the 2019 80th session of the Nevada Legislature. In our nonpartisan manner, we will (1) summarize committee hearings and actions and recap floor actions in both houses; (2) provide an overview of the upcoming schedule; (3) highlight upcoming events such as deadlines, addresses, joint meetings, and hearings, as well as (4) offer some tips and observations along the way.
With limited staff, at least five standing committees meeting every morning, we cannot watch or attend every committee. But we will set priorities and, through the Legislature’s NELIS (Nevada Electronic Legislative Information System) and Personalized Legislative Tracking (PLT) services, be able to follow legislation and review submitted testimony and documentation in the hearings that we cannot observe. Our focus will be on those issues, studies, reports and recommendations made by the Guinn Center in areas such as education (higher education and K-12), economic development, tax and fiscal policy, health, governance, and natural resource security, as well as other issues of significance to the residents of our State.
The legislative website at http://www.leg.state.nv.us/ provides a wealth of current and historical information on the Nevada Legislature and its processes, with multiple points of access to much of the information. Quick links to the 2019 session are contained on the right side of the page. The Calendar of Meetings at the top right (https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/Calendar/A/) furnishes easy access to the schedule of committee meetings, including links to their agendas and the bills and budgets to be heard each day, along with a “View” link to allow real time Internet access to every meeting and floor session in the current day. Many committee meetings are video conferenced to the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas for those who wish to attend and/or testify in person, and those meetings are noted on the Calendar and agendas. One page summaries of the membership, and regular meeting days and times, are available for both the Senate and Assembly standing committees.
Although the Nevada Legislature is statutorily exempt from the Open Meeting Law, both Senate and Assembly rules require adequate notice to be provided on bills, resolutions, and public hearings, although this requirement may be suspended for an emergency. The standing committees in both houses generally comply for most of the session to provide advance notice and post their agendas at least three days or more before the hearings. Agendas often are revised, sometimes several times, before a meeting so it is important to check them frequently for possible changes (a small number following the “Agenda” link on the Calendar indicates the latest revision).
The Nevada Electronic Legislative Information System (NELIS), which is a free service, provides real time access to legislative actions, along with ready access to the bills, budgets, testimony and documents (exhibits) submitted to legislative committees for their consideration. Most committees set a deadline in the afternoon the day before a hearing for the submission of relevant testimony and documentation.
In addition, budget information is only available in NELIS and PLT. The PLT is an optional, upgraded feature of NELIS that provides immediate notification of hearings, daily status notifications, and access to tailored, exportable reports for the subscriptions (bills) that have been chosen for tracking. This service is free for anyone who chooses to track 10 or fewer bills, and it gradually increases in price for higher numbers of bills, such as those followed by lobbyists and other organizations. This service also allows users to tag and sort bills by subject matter or other personal classifications, attach multiple tags on bills, and add personal notes to tracked bills.
We will use the standard NELIS abbreviations for the Assembly (A) and Senate (S) standing committees of the Nevada legislature as follows:
ACL/SCL—Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor/Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Energy
AED/SED—Assembly and Senate Committees on Education
AGA/SGA—Assembly and Senate Committees on Government Affairs
AHHS/SHHS—Assembly and Senate Committees on Health and Human Services
AJUD/SJUD—Assembly and Senate Committees on Judiciary
ALOE/SLOE—Assembly and Senate Committees on Legislative Operations and Elections
ANRAM/SNR—Assembly Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining/Senate Committee on Natural Resources
ATAX/SREV—Assembly Committee on Taxation/Senate Committee on Revenue and Economic Development
AGI/SGI—Assembly and Senate Committees on Growth and Infrastructure
AW/SFIN—Assembly Committee on Ways and Means/Senate Committee on Finance (also known as the “money” committees)
[For a full list of abbreviations, see here: NVLEG Abbreviations ]
When not meeting separately every morning during session, the “money’ committees often will meet in Joint Subcommittees to help expedite the detailed budget review process, in one or more of the following areas: Audit; General Government; Human Services; K-12/Higher Ed./CIPS; and Public Safety, and Natural Resources.
During this first week, many of the standing committees are conducting organizational hearings to adopt committee rules and policies, introduce bill draft requests (BDRs), hear presentations from the State agencies and departments under their jurisdiction, and receive committee/policy briefs from the assigned LCB Research and Fiscal staff. These briefs typically cover the range of issues that are charged to the respective committees, the number and types of measures heard in the last session, and issues and interim study recommendations expected to come before them in the current session. Some committees are scheduled to hear a few of the prefiled bills. Some of the highlighted meetings and times are as follows.
The 2019 80th Legislative Session in Nevada began Monday, February 4th. For a calendar of the 120-day session, click here. As of Friday, February 8, there were 276 bills referred to committee or set for special business. There are 22 bills from the 2017 79th legislative session that may be considered; 15 of those were passed by both houses but were later vetoed by former Governor Brian Sandoval. During the first week, the Nevada Legislature renamed the Committee on Transportation to the Committee on Growth and Infrastructure.
Democrats hold majorities in both houses of the Nevada Legislature, and Nevada has the honor of being the first state legislature to have a majority of female representatives.
The Senate leadership includes:
- Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson (D-Vegas, District 4)
- President pro Tempore Moises “Mo” Denis (D-Vegas, District 2)
- Minority Leader James Settelmeyer (R-Minden, District 17)
In the Assembly, leadership includes:
- Speaker of the Assembly Jason Frierson (D-Vegas, District 8)
- Majority Floor Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D-Reno, District 27)
- Legislative Executive Committee Chair Jill Tolles (R-Reno, District 25)
- Minority Floor Leader Jim Wheeler (R-Minden, District 39)
For a list of all members of the Senate and Assembly and their contact information, see here: Nevada Legislators 2019. For a list of Senate Committee Assignments, see here: SENATE MEMBERS AND COMMITTEES. For a list of Assembly Committee Assignments, see here: ASSEMBLY MEMBERS AND COMMITTEES.
Understanding the Committee Process
Most standing committees (e.g., Senate Committee on Health and Human Services) do not take action on a bill at its initial hearing, unless it is noncontroversial or deemed to require prompt action. Time is provided for Committee members to review testimony, and consult on possible amendments with their colleagues, lobbyists and other groups. Usually, when issues are resolved, bills will be placed in a “work session,” often toward the end of a week, to be considered for adoption. In general, work sessions are reserved for open discussion among the Committee members and public testimony is not taken. The opportunity for general public comment is included at the end of every agenda and hearing. Some complicated and/or contentious bills may be heard in one or more subsequent committee meetings to further discuss issues, proposed changes, and conceptual amendments.
First Week’s Committee Schedule (Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019-Friday, Feb. 8, 2019)
On Tuesday, February 5th
AJUD received an overview by the Nevada Department of Corrections and a report on the success of department programs especially those regarding rehabilitation. Scheduled but not heard was AB 10, which revises existing provisions to allow the Dept. of Corrections to issue photo identification cards to offenders leaving prison, even if officials have not verified the person’s full legal name and age using documents that would be required for identification at the Department of Motor Vehicles; and AB 61, which revises provisions governing the authority of the Dept. of Corrections to assign certain offenders to serve a term of residential confinement.
On Wednesday, February 6th
ACL received an overview presentation by Michael Brown, Director of the Department of Business and Industry.
AGA received presentations on State Public Works and State Purchasing.
AHHS received a presentation regarding lessons learned from the Emergency Management System (EMS) response to the October 1st mass shooting in Las Vegas.
AJUD received an overview of the Nevada Judiciary and Criminal Procedure in Nevada.
AWM received a budget hearing from both the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s Offices.
SCL received arguments on SB 40, which revises provisions governing penalties for violating occupational safety laws.
SED received a presentation from the Education Commission of the States regarding the educational policy trends and developments of other US states. Furthermore, it heard arguments for: SB 100, which would revise provisions relating to the licensure and employment of veterans, military personnel and their spouses in the public schools and requires an expedited processing of applications for a license to teach for spouses of certain members of the US Armed Forces, and permits members and veterans of the Armed Forces of the U.S. and their spouses to obtain a license to teach through the alternative route to licensure program under certain circumstances; and SB 80, which is one of the Clark County School District’s bills. SB 80 would replace the Safe-to-Tell program with the SafeVoice Nevada Program, in conjunction with the Handle with Care program, a national initiative that attempts to provide trauma-informed care for children who experience a traumatic incident. It allows a first responder to send a tip through Safe Voice to a school-based team. This information respects the privacy of the child in a sensitive situation but alerts the school to the student’s need for potential school-based services or referrals to wraparound services. Combined these programs are tailored to allow anonymous tips concerning dangerous, violent or unlawful activity that is conducted, or threatened to be conducted in relation to a public school and allow law enforcement and agencies to report certain information about a child within the public-school system who may be dealing with a traumatic event.
SFIN received a budget hearing from the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation (OWINN), highlighting Nevada’s P20 Workforce Reporting System (NPWR), which collects and compiles data from agencies for the purpose of better understanding the trends shaping Nevada’s education and workforce programs, initiatives, and outcomes.
SGA received presentations on three bills: SB 16, which revises provisions relating to the Gift Account for Veterans; SB 36, which revises provisions governing the purchase, sale or lease of real property by a board of county commissioners; and SB 59, which requires proceeds from fees collected for the use of Stewart Indian School land be credited to the Nevada Indian Commission’s Gift Fund.
SHHS received presentation on Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and its Division of Child and Family Services, Aging and Disability Services Division, and Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
SJUD was presented with an agency overview from the Gaming Control Board. In addition, the committee heard SB 46, SB 72, and SB 73, which all would make various, minor revisions to current regulations regarding gambling.
On Thursday, February 7th
AED received a presentation from the Education Commission of the States on the trends in state education policy and received a presentation on the Annual Report of the State of Public Education in Nevada by the Department of Education.
AGA received a presentation on the Nevada Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and the Nevada Public Employees’ Benefits Program.
AGI received an agency overview on the Nevada Transportation Authority as well as a report on the State of Traffic Safety. These presentations are pertinent if SB 43 reaches a floor vote in the Assembly, which will allow for the installation of an automated traffic enforcement system.
AJUD received a presentation on the Department of Public Safety and the State Board of Parole Commissioners.
ALOE received a presentation on the Nevada Commission on Ethics.
AWM and SFIN held a joint committee session, receiving a budget hearing from the Department of Agriculture, covering various programs (e.g., nutrition education, livestock inspection).
SGI heard arguments regarding SB 42, which would repeal provisions requiring certain fleets of motor vehicles in Washoe and Clark County to use alternative fuels, clean vehicles or vehicles that use alternative fuels.
SJUD received an agency overview from the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Division of Parole and Probation. As well, the committee heard arguments regarding SB 29 from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which would update revisions regarding unarmed combat (Mixed Martial Arts and amateur boxing). Furthermore, they heard arguments regarding SB 74, which would revise provisions governing eviction actions. Specifically, SB 74 would specify that “either the tenant or the landlord can appeal a court order for eviction, establishes a five-day timeline for appeal of such an order, and opens up the appeal process to mobile home park evictions.”
SREV and ATAX received an overview of the Nevada Markets Jobs Act Credit Program by the Department of Business and Industry, in addition to an overview of State and Local Fuel Taxes by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This is pertinent due to proposed legislation SB 61, which, if passed, may result in an excise tax imposed on diesel fuel.
On Friday, February 8th
AGA received an agency overview from the Division of Human and Resource Management and the Nevada Equal Rights Commission. The Resource Management presentation provides background information for three proposed bills (SB 31, SB 50, and SB 51) regarding the State Personnel System.
AHHS received an overview of Medicaid in Nevada. AHHS is currently scheduled to hear three bills regarding Medicaid later in the session including: AB 374 and AB 408 (both introduced in the 2017 legislative session) and AB 116.
AJUD received agency and department overviews from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Clark County and Washoe County Offices of the District Attorney, and the Clark County and Washoe County Offices of the Public Defender.
AWM and SFIN held a joint committee session, receiving a budget presentation from the Department of Health and Human Services. Programs under DHHS presented include grants management, problem gambling, consumer health assistance, and public defenders.
Second Week’s Committee Schedule (Monday, Feb. 11—Friday, Feb. 15, 2019)
Please note that committee agendas can and do change during the week as bills, presenters and other items are added or deleted. The Calendar of Meetings on NELIS should be checked frequently for such changes as the week progresses. Some highlighted meetings currently scheduled for the second week are as follows.
On Monday, February 11th
AWM (8am) hears a presentation from the Governors Office of Workforce Innovation (OWINN).
SFIN (8am) will receive a budget hearing from both the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s Offices.
SJUD (8am) will receive an agency overview regarding the Office of the Nevada Attorney General by newly elected Attorney General Aaron Ford. They are scheduled to hear SB 3 regarding postconviction petitions of habeas corpus, and SB 4 regarding remittiturs provisions.
AGA (9am) will receive presentations by the Mayors of Carson City and Lovelock, and the city manager of Las Vegas.
SGA (1pm) will hear 4 bills: SB 12 regarding provisions for telephone systems used for reporting emergencies; and SB 13, which would allow county commissioners to form a nonprofit corporation to aid in providing government services. Two bills, SB 103 and SB 104, regarding housing. Specifically, SB 103 would allow certain local governments to reduce or subsidize impact fees, fees for the issuance of building permits and fees imposed for the purpose for which an enterprise fund was created. SB 104 relates to provisions concerning the statewide low-income housing database maintained by the Housing Division of the Department of Business and Industry.
ACL (1:30pm) will receive agency and commission overviews from the Legislative Audit Division and the Sunset Subcommittee of the Legislative Commission.
AHHS (upon Adjournment of the Assembly Floor Session) will receive a presentation regarding public healthcare priorities in Nevada and an overview of the behavioral healthcare system in Nevada.
SCL (1:30pm) will hear arguments for four bills regarding insurance, SB 21 (would enact the Insurance Data Security Law), SB 86 (changes provisions related to the regulation of insurers), SB 87 (related to provisions governing the Nevada Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association), and SB 88 (related to provisions governing producers of insurance and other persons regulated by the Commissioner of Insurance).
SED (1:30pm) will receive a presentation regarding the 2018 external evaluation of recent education programs (e.g., Zoom, Victory, Read by Grade 3, etc.) and a presentation concerning on the state of public education in Nevada. It is scheduled to hear SB 41 relating to teacher and other education personnel licensures; sponsored by the Nevada Dept. of Education, this measure would establish a license for paraprofessionals and transfer the authority to revoke or suspend a teaching license to the Commission on Professional Standards in Education.
ANRAM (4:00pm) will hear a presentation regarding the Alert Wildfire System and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry.
SHHS (4:00pm) will hear division overviews from the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, Division of Health Care Financing and Policy, and an overview of Health and Human Service related budgets.
SLOE (4:00pm) will hear three bills, SB 107 (which would require an elected public officer to resign from that public office prior to filing nomination papers for any other elected public office), SB 118 (would make the office of the registrar of voters an elected position), and SB 122.
On Tuesday, February 12th
SFIN and AWM (8am) committees will hold a joint session with the subcommittee on Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Transportation. They will receive budget hearings from the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, in addition to hearing from the Department of Public Safety.
AJUN and SJUN (8am) will hold a joint session, and special hearing on SB 143 provisions relating to background checks for certain purchases or transfers of firearms. This will likely concern efforts to reconcile the 2016 approved ballot measure that instituted stricter restrictions on firearm background checks. The initiative failed to be put into effect due to an issued opinion by the Nevada Attorney General’s Office in 2016 stating it would not enforce it.
AGA (9am) will receive presentations from the Nevada Association of Counties, and the County Managers of both Clark and Lyon County.
AED (1:30pm) will receive a presentation concerning homeless youth, as well as a presentation of the Final Report of the external evaluation of several education programs (e.g. Zoom, Victory, Read by Grade 3).
ALOE (4pm) will receive a presentation from newly elected Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske regarding the office of Secretary of State.
SNR (4pm) will receive an overview of the programs and activities of the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) from the NDOW Director, Tony Wasley.
SREV and ATAX (4pm) will hold a joint committee session, receiving an overview and discussion of economic development programs in Nevada. Presenters include Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), and Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA). They will also receive updates on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and the Raiders Stadium Project.
On Wednesday, February 13th
SFIN and AWM (8am) will hold a joint committee session with the subcommittees on Human Services and will receive a budget hearing from the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
SFIN and AWM (8am) will hold a joint committee session with the subcommittees on Government Affairs and will receive a budget hearing on the Department of Administration.
SGA (1pm) will hear arguments on three bills: SB 10, which revises provisions governing compensation of board of trustee members of a general improvement district; SB 11, which revises qualifications regarding special exemptions for regulations concerning building codes; and SB 113, which revises provisions relating to membership of the Nevada Commission on Homeland Security.
ACL (1:30pm) will hear four bills: AB 25, AB 26, AB 27, and AB 29, all of which address provisions regarding contractors. For example, AB 25 seeks to reduce the onerous nature of obtaining and maintaining a contractors’ license.
AHHS (Upon Floor Adjournment) will receive presentations on the role of health insurance, hospitals, and safety net providers, in addition to a presentation regarding the Regional Behavioral Health Policy Boards.
SCL (1:30pm) will hear arguments for SB 119, which will require additional safety training for workers on work sites where exhibitions, conventions, or trade shows occur. In addition, they will hear arguments for SB 125, which would revise provisions relating to landscape architecture.
SLOE (4pm) will receive a presentation regarding county election administration from Clark County, Washoe County, Carson City, Douglas County, and Nye County, and a representative from Nevada’s County Election Office.
On Thursday, February 14th
AWM and SFIN (8am) will hold a joint committee session with the subcommittees on Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Transportation. They will receive a budget hearing from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
AWM and SFIN (8am) will hold a joint committee session with the subcommittees on K-12/Higher Education and will receive budget hearings by the Treasurer’s Office and the Department of Administration, State Public Works Division.
AGI (1:30pm) will hear presentations on the benefits of rural renewable energy, an overview by the Nevada Truckee Association, and the Nevada Department of Vehicles. In addition, they will hear arguments on three bills, AB 23, AB 24, and AB 63, relating to motor vehicles.
ALOE (4pm) will receive a presentation by the County Election Administration.
On Friday, February 15th
AJUD (8am) will receive an overview of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, as well as hear arguments on AB 45, which would create the Nevada Threat Analysis Center and the Nevada Threat Analysis Center Advisory Committee.
SFIN and AWM (8am) will hold a joint committee session and will hear a budget review from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), and the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS). Proposed legislation (AB 75) to revise Nevada PERS will be heard later this session.