Economic Forum on Friday
Another milestone of the 78th Legislative Session will be reached on Friday, May 1, when the Economic Forum meets to provide the final revenue forecast. This forecast must be used for the final budget approved by the Legislature for the 2015-2017 biennium. The Forum was established in 1993 (SB23, Chapter 528, Statutes of Nevada, 1993) consisting of five private sector experts in the field of economics, taxation, or other economic forecasting discipline. Three members are appointed by the Governor, and the Senate Majority Leader and Assembly Speaker each nominate a member for appointment by the Governor. A Technical Advisory Committee (comprised of certain Executive and Legislative Branch budget, demographic, fiscal and economic officials) assists the Forum in preparing its forecasts. Further information about the Economic Forum is found in Chapter 5 of the 2015 Legislative Manual (page 200), and Nevada Revised Statutes 353.226 through 353.229.
Guinn Center Tax Policy Town Hall
The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities held a Tax Policy Town Hall on April 21, 2015, co-sponsored by the UNLV Boyd School of Law, College of Southern Nevada, Accion Nevada, Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, Urban Chamber of Commerce and Latin Chamber of Commerce. See our website for a copy of the presentation and handout summarizing the three major tax proposals. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like the Guinn Center to conduct an informational session on the tax proposals for your organization or community group.
By the end of the twelfth week, 486 Assembly bills and 509 Senate bills had been introduced. Of the total 995 bills introduced in the Legislature by the end of the twelfth week, 421 were committee introductions that essentially are controlled by the majority party in each House, and 574 were introduced by individual Legislators.
The bills introduced by Legislators may be co-sponsored by other lawmakers. An indicator of bipartisanship is the number of bills that attract co-sponsors from the other party. Among the current, total 574 legislator bills, 122 (21.3 percent) were bipartisan in that they included one or more co-sponsors from the opposite party. Among the 294 Senate bills in that category, 51 (17.3 percent) were bipartisan. Among the similar 280 Assembly bills, there were 71 (25.4 percent) that featured bipartisan support.
Note: Bills going forward may be designated as (R1), (R2), and so forth to indicate the First or Second Reprints, etc. that reflect the latest amended versions that were adopted by the respective Houses during the legislative process.
Committee Hearings and Actions (Twelfth Week)
On Monday, April 20
AWM/SFIN, meeting separately, closed certain budgets for the Offices of the Governor, Treasurer, and Controller, along with the Department of Administration. They also received subcommittee reports on budget closings for the Department of Agriculture, the Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Deferred Compensation, and the Office of the Military. SFIN rejected funding for office moving/relocation in Las Vegas and for a Public Information Officer position in the Office of the Treasurer since there was insufficient justification.
All other regular standing committees did not meet due to the First House Passage deadline.
On Tuesday, April 21
All regular standing committee meetings were canceled or not scheduled on this date due to the First House Passage deadline.
On Wednesday, April 22
SFIN, in work session, amended and approved SB503(R1) to create and implement the Breakfast After the Bell Program. The amendment deletes the appropriation language since $1 million per year has already been included in the Governor’s budget. The Guinn Center previously testified on this bill based on our report, Examining Nevada’s Education Priorities: Which Initiatives are Worth the Investment? The committee also reviewed and amended SB506, the “sweeps” measure, to transfer funds in various accounts to the State General Fund to help offset the current year budget shortfall. Staff changes and amendments were suggested based on updated information and legal considerations, which reduce the sweeps from approximately $67 million to $60 million
AWM considered SB505 to provide for the temporary suspension of employer subsidy collections paid to the Public Employees’ Benefits Program, with an approximate amount of $18 million, to help shore up the General Fund shortfall in the current fiscal year. The committee also heard AB483, the Governor’s pay for performance bill, which requires school districts to reserve money each year to pay an increase in base salaries, not to exceed 10 percent, for not less than 5 percent of the teachers and administrators beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. The measure eliminates the requirement that the program of performance pay and enhanced compensation be the subject of collective bargaining, and that implementation be considered for the lowest rated underperforming schools under the statewide accountability system.
AGA received a presentation from the State Engineer on the Division of Water Resources Overview and Water Law 101. The committee heard SB485, with testimony from the State Engineer, to establish a sunset date of December 31, 2025, for the filing of proofs of appropriation for pre-statutory, vested water rights with the Division.
ACL considered SB193(R1) to increase the State’s minimum wage to $9 per hour and to remove provisions in Nevada’s law requiring payment of overtime for more than 8 hours of work in any workday, and retain existing provisions for overtime payments in excess of 40 hours in any work week. The committee also heard SB440(R1) relating to motor vehicle insurance for transportation network companies (TNC) such as Uber and Lyft. The testimony was limited to insurance issues since a TNC regulatory measure [SB439(R1)] failed to pass the Senate and is not currently under consideration. Both of these bills received extensive testimony in favor and opposition.
AED heard SB200(R1), which provides a new enrollment preference for military families for charter schools on military bases. The enrollment preference would apply to children of people who reside or are employed on a federal military base. The Committee also considered SB212, which authorizes each school superintendent to waive requirements to suspend or expel pupils from public school for certain acts; and revises provisions governing the crimes of disturbing the peace at a public school and assault on a pupil or school employee. The Nevada State Education Association proposed an amendment to require a corrective behavior plan be developed by the campus administrator in conjunction with each teacher assigned to the student prior to the student being returned to class when the superintendent waives suspension or expulsion. In addition, the Committee heard SB418(R1), which revises current laws regarding refunds by private colleges and universities. If a student withdraws prior to the start of a program, the bill requires institutions to provide a refund of the full amount minus 10 percent of the tuition, or $150, whichever is less. Non-refundable deposits may also be retained. If a student withdraws after classes have begun, the maximum retained by an institution would be $150. Lastly, the Committee heard SB25(R1), which is a Nevada Department of Education general clean-up bill, and SB205(R1) that revises provisions relating to plans to be used by a school in responding to a crisis or emergency.
On Thursday, April 23
SFIN/AWM in its Subcommittee on Human Services heard a budget amendment presentation from the Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH)concerning the Northern and Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services. After the state increased Medicaid reimbursement rates, private providers stepped in to take more mental health patients. DPBH now projects lower inpatient and outpatient caseloads at State facilities, which has resulted in a projected $21.3 million shortfall. DPBH recommended several changes and staffing realignments to address this shortfall. The Subcommittee also conducted a work session on the welfare budget of the Division of Welfare and Supportive Services, and closed certain budgets for the Public Defender in the Director’s Office of DHHS and for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, which included Employment Security.
AWM/SFIN in its Subcommittee on General Government closed certain budgets relating to the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, and in the Department of Administration and Department of Business and Industry.
ALOE considered SB307 relating to public officers and candidates for public office to clarify definitions, such as for “gifts” and “educational or informational meeting, event or trip,” and to establish reporting and other requirements for Nevada’s Lobbying and Financial Disclosures Acts. The committee also heard SJR2 that urges Congress to require the sharing of federal receipts from commercial activity on certain public lands with the State and its counties.
SED heard AB112(R1), which revises current provisions regarding a safe and respectful schools environment to include interactions among administrators, principals, teachers, or other school district personnel. The Committee also heard AB 117(R1), which authorizes a school district to lease school buses or vehicles belonging to the school district for special events when a commercial bus is not reasonably available. Lastly, the Committee heard AB351(R1), which revises eligibility requirements for charter schools that wish to receive State bond funding for capital facilities costs. Under current law, charter schools are eligible for bond funding if they have received a four or five-star rating in the last three consecutive years. The schools are then responsible for repaying the bonds. The bill would expand eligibility to charter schools that received a three, four, or five-star rating in the last two consecutive years.
On Friday, April 24
AWM/SFIN in its Subcommittee on K-12/Higher Education/CIPS considered various K-12 education budgets, including special education, Zoom Schools, Victory Schools, full-day kindergarten, the Great Teaching and Leading Fund to provide professional development, the Harbor Master Fund to recruit charter schools, and funding for technology. Several pending bills on these topics was referenced but were not heard during the meeting: SB508 (Funding Formula), SB405(R1) (Zoom Schools), SB 432(R1) (Victory Schools); and SB 491 (Harbor Master Fund).
AWM/SFIN in its Subcommittee on Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Transportation, closed certain budgets in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources that included the Divisions of State Parks, Water Resources and Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP closing included the billion dollar cleanup settlement for perchlorate and other hazardous substances in southern Nevada (see March 16th Guinn Center Legislative Update, under AWM/SFIN on March 12).
Floor Actions (Twelfth Week)
Lengthy floor sessions in both Houses were conducted on Monday and Tuesday, due to the First House Passage deadline on April 21, to process bills recommended from their standing committees. Some selected measures passed this week by each House are listed and summarized with their votes below:
Passed by the Assembly
AB278(R1)–revises provisions regarding class size reduction–approved 42-0.
AB421(R1)–creates the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission for public education in this State–approved 35-7.
Economic Development Bills:
AB17(R1)—establishes nonprofit entity for economic development—approved 42-0.
AB239(R2)—regulates operators of unmanned aerial vehicles—approved 42-0.
AB364(R1)—revises provisions relating to the State business portal—approved 39-3.
AB191(R1)—addresses fuel tax indexing for highway construction projects—approved 34-8.
AB380(R1)—addresses collection of sales taxes by retailers located outside the State—approved 33-9.
AB89(R1)–makes changes relating to professions–approved 42-0.
AB162(R1)—authorizes use of portable event recording devices by law enforcement—approved 42-0.
AJR10(R1)—amends the NV Constitution to provide for a citizens’ commission to establish salaries of elected officers—approved 27-15.
Passed by the Senate
SB19(R1)—authorizes school district boards to place an advisory question on a general election ballot—approved 21-0.
SB411(R1)–allows the imposition of additional statutory taxes in a county to fund capital projects of the school district based on the recommendations of a Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee and voter approval–approved 21-0.
SB463(R2)—revises provisions regarding privacy of pupil data–approved 21-0.
SB252(R1)—implements the Governor’s Business License Fee proposal—approved 17-4.
SB334(R1)—includes three ballot questions to exempt certain medical devices from the sales tax—approved 21-0.
SB382(R1)—addresses collection of sales taxes by retailers located outside the State—approved 21-0.
SB314(R1)—reforms Clark County Health District governance–approved 19-2.
SB406(R1)—reforms of the public employees’ retirement system—approved 19-0.
SJR1(R1)—urges Congress to transfer public lands to the State IAW the Nevada Land Management Task Force report—approved 11-10.
SJR3(R1)—amends the NV Constitution to provide for joint election of Lieutenant Governor and Governor—approved 21-0.
Signed by the Governor
As of the end of the twelfth week, there was no change, and 24 bills had passed both Houses and were signed by the Governor. Chapter numbers are assigned based on the order in which the measures are signed by the Governor, for subsequent publication in the Statutes of Nevada, 2015. Major enacted and enrolled bills include the following:
AB125, Chapter 2, relating to constructional defects, effective Feb. 24, 2015.
SB207, Chapter 4, bond rollover for school construction, effective Mar. 4, 2015.
SB119, Chapter 5, bond rollover and repeal of prevailing wage for school construction, effective Mar. 6, 2015.
SB101, Chapter 11, reemployment of school district employees, effective Mar. 19, 2015.
AB165, Chapter 22, NV Educational Choice Scholarship Program, effective Apr. 13, 2015.
Thirteenth Week’s Committee Schedule (Monday, April 27—Friday, May 1, 2015)
Please note that committee meetings are added, particularly toward the end of the week, and agendas frequently are changed. Check the Calendar of Meetings or NELIS regularly for such additions and changes as the week progresses.
Except for the “money committees,” which will continue to close budgets and consider exempt bills that have possible fiscal impacts, the standing committees primarily will be considering measures adopted by the other House through the Second House Committee Passage Deadline on May 15. The list of current exempt fiscal bills now totals 95 in the Assembly, and 114 in the Senate along with one joint resolution.
Some highlighted committee meetings and selected bills currently scheduled for the twelfth week are as follows.
On Monday, April 27
SFIN (8 am) closes certain budgets for the Agency for Nuclear Projects and the Office of the Attorney General.
AWM (8:30 am) closes certain budgets for the Office of the Treasurer; hears three education bills that include AB394(R1) to create an advisory and technical committees to develop a plan to reorganize the Clark County School District, AB395(R1) relating to the State Public Charter School Authority, and AB448(R1) to revise provisions relating to education (Achievement School District); and conducts a work session on SB505 that provides for the temporary suspension of the collection of certain subsidies to be paid to the Public Employees’ Benefits Program.
ACL (1:30 pm) hears several bills including SB68(R1) that revises provisions governing professions to provide for expedited, reciprocal licensing for medical professionals.
The Technical Advisory Committee (2 pm) meets to develop certain revenue forecasts for the Economic Forum.
AED (3:15 pm) considers five bills: SB13(R1) relating to the provision of public education to pupils with disabilities; SB75(R1) that revises provisions governing the administration of certain examinations; SB208(R1) requiring notice to parents in reference to new and expanding, existing charter schools; SB313(R1) to authorize the governing body of a private or university school for profoundly gifted pupils to provide a program of distance education; and SB390(R1) to revise provisions relating to charter schools.
SLOE (3:30 pm) has scheduled a presentation and discussion of Voting Technology, an overview of the National Conference of State Legislature’s Elections Technology Project, and a discussion of Voting Technology Needs, Challenges, and Recommendations by State and County Election Officials.
On Tuesday, April 28
AWM/SFIN (8 am) in its Subcommittee on K-12/Higher Education/CIP closes certain budgets relating to State public works in the Department of Administration and conducts a work session on capital improvement projects.
SFIN/AWM (8 am) in its Subcommittee on Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Transportation has a budget hearing on Transportation Administration in the NDOT, and conducts certain budget closings for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources relating to Forestry and fire protection, and for the Departments of Wildlife and Veterans Services.
AGA (8 am) hears SB164 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
SED (3:30 pm) considers four bills: AB107(R1) relating to reports of accountability for public schools, AB178(R1) to revise provisions governing the discipline of pupils, AB205(R1) to require the Legislative Committee on Education to consider matters relating to certain mentorship programs, and AB321(R1) relating to school police officers.
On Wednesday, April 29
AWM (8 am) closes budgets for the Agency for Nuclear Projects, Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Secretary of State, Legislative Counsel Bureau, and the Public Employees’ Retirement System.
SFIN (8 am) closes budgets for the Office of the Secretary of State, Legislative Counsel Bureau, and the Public Employees’ Retirement System.
On Thursday, April 30
AWM/SFIN (8 am) in its Subcommittee on Human Services closes certain budgets for the Division of Child and Family Services in DHHS.
SFIN/AWM (8 am) in its Subcommittee on General Government closes certain budgets for the Public Employees’ Benefits Program, and for various technology programs in the Department of Administration.
AGA (8:30 am) hears SB473 relating to the Office of Grant Procurement, Coordination and Management which is one of a package of three bills to improve the State’s obtainment, use, and monitoring of federal grant funds.
ANRAM (1:30 pm) considers SB305(R1) that authorizes industrial hemp farming in this State under certain circumstances.
On Friday, May 1
AWM/SFIN (8 am) in its Subcommittee on General Government closes various budgets in the Department of Business and Industry that include insurance programs, industrial relations, the Athletic Commission, Taxicab and Transportation Authorities, and Labor Commissioner.
SFIN/AWM (8 am) closes certain budgets for the Aging and Disability Services Division in DHHS.
The Economic Forum (9 am) meets to develop the final revenue forecast that will be used to develop the legislatively approved budget for the next biennium.
On Saturday, May 2
AWM/SFIN (8 am) in a joint meeting closes budgets for statewide decision units that include inflation, fringe benefit adjustments and suspension of longevity payments; and receives reports on Subcommittee budget closings for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, and the Departments of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
May 15 (Friday)—Committee Passage Second House
May 22 (Friday)—Second House Passage