Major Deadline Approaching
Friday, April 10th, marks the 68th day of the 2015 Legislative Session and is the first major deadline on the 120-Day Calendar that affects the passage of bills and joint resolutions. Measures that are not passed out of the standing committees by the “First House Committee Passage” deadline are generally considered dead and receive no further consideration. Eleven days later, on April 21st, is the “First House Passage” deadline by which such bills must be passed by the Assembly and Senate to allow time for those measures to be heard in committee and acted upon in the other house. During that 11-day period, much of the focus of the session will shift from committee hearings to floor actions in each house.
Bills exempt from these deadlines include those affecting the budget within the jurisdiction of the “money committees,” bills required to carry out the business of the Legislature, and any emergency requests that may be submitted by legislative leadership. The procedural requirements for these deadlines, emergency requests, waivers, and exemptions are contained in Rule Nos. 14.3 through 14.6 in ACR1, the Joint Standing Rules for the 78th Session.
By the end of the ninth 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 ninth 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, 123 (21.4 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 72 (25.7 percent) that featured bipartisan support.
Since the deadlines have passed for the introduction of individual legislator and committee bills, these numbers and percentages are unlikely to change significantly for the remainder of the session, except for a limited number of emergency bills that may be requested by legislative leadership.
Committee Hearings and Actions (Ninth Week)
On Monday, March 30
SCL considered SB439 to provide for the permitting and regulation by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada of transportation network companies (TNC); and SB440 relating to insurance for TNCs. Uber and Lyft presented information concerning their services, a study was furnished on the fiscal and economic impacts of TNCs in southern Nevada, various amendments were proposed, and there was extensive testimony, with primary opposition from representatives of the regulated taxicab and limousine companies in the State (see Exhibits).
AED heard AB394 regarding reorganization of school districts. This bill would allow cities to create a local school precinct within a county school district with the approval of the State Board of Education. It also authorizes two or more contiguous rural school districts to consolidate using an interlocal agreement. The Committee heard a presentation from the Lincy Institute about the benefits of smaller school districts on student achievement. The Clark County School District opposed the measure. The Guinn Center submitted testimony reporting that data is inconclusive on the impact of reorganization on student achievement and noting that consolidation of rural districts may have fiscal benefits.
SLOE considered four elections and voter registration bills that contain some similar provisions. SB203 relates to election day voter registration and electronic poll books, access and documentation; SB331 establishes electronic procedures for voter registration by the DMV; SB237 authorizes counties to establish polling/voting centers where any voters may cast their ballots and allows election day voter registration; and SB316 allows registration during early voting, election day registration, pre-registration by persons 17 years of age, and the distribution of sample ballots by electronic mail. A handout from the Secretary of State was provided on the costs by county for furnishing the 2014 sample ballots. County voter registrars acknowledged the need for electronic upgrades and access, and noted various funding and technical challenges with the proposals, particularly in the rural areas. The sponsors agreed to work with the registrars on conceptual amendments that would include pushing the implementation date to 2018.
On Tuesday, March 31
STRN heard SB502 that creates the Revolving Account for System Modernization within DMV, makes a $40 million appropriation to the Account to upgrade the Department’s information technology platform, and authorizes it to assess a $1 technology fee on paid transactions. The project is included in the Governor’s proposed budget. The DMV furnished a brochure and description of the 5-year project, a presentation that included customer and transaction counts that noted the efficiencies expected under System Modernization, and a proposed amendment.
AGA considered AB403 concerning peace officers that includes requirements for the wearing of portable event recording devices, the establishment of policies and procedures, de-escalation training and the maintenance of liability insurance. The sponsor, Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton (R-LV), provided a detailed description of the bill’s provisions, and testimony (see Exhibits) highlighted certain police/public encounters. Similar to previous hearings on related measures, AB162 and SB111, there was general agreement about the concept of body camera use by peace officers, and law enforcement representatives and organizations opposed certain cost mandates and other provisions. Amendments will be considered and are under development.
ATAX heard AB451 to revise provisions relating to the UNLV Campus Improvement Authority, which is examining the construction of a stadium. The bill enlarges the boundaries of the Authority, extends its existence to Oct. 1, 2017, requires a report to the Legislature by Sept. 30, 2016, and continues the study of the need for, feasibility of, and financing for a campus stadium. The Authority’s first report to the Legislature is dated Sept. 25, 2014. The Committee also heard AB452 that revises provisions governing appeals of property tax assessments, and AB313 to provide for a ticket fee and establish a medical expense account for retired contestants who engaged in unarmed combat for remuneration.
ANRAM received a staff overview presentation on the Interim Legislative Committee on Public Lands, and heard AB408 that enacts provisions, governing the acquisition and use of certain public lands and water rights, that restrict the Federal Government from managing and controlling public lands in this State. Constitutional issues were raised concerning this measure, including a legal opinion from the Legislative Counsel Bureau, and proposed amendments and testimony were submitted (see Exhibits).
SNR considered SB305 to authorize industrial cannabis farming in this State in accordance with the Federal Agricultural Act of 2014. A presentation and testimony from the sponsor, Senator Tick Segerblom (D-LV), explained the proposal. Testimony and proposed amendments were furnished that primarily changed the name of the agricultural product to industrial hemp (see Exhibits).
SED heard two bills. Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D-Henderson) presentedSB 295, which (1) requires the Department of Education to maintain a website to provide information and raise awareness about career pathways in STEM; (2) requires students to complete a semester of computer science as a condition for graduation in lieu of the current course in computer literacy; (3) requires that high quality, ongoing training be provided in STEM, in the State’s science standards, and in the Nevada Academic Content Standards; and (4) provides $12 million for two additional days of professional development. Senator Woodhouse asked that the bill be amended to include an additional $12 million, since the original amount unintentionally only funded one day of professional development. The Committee also heard SB330 regarding interscholastic sports. Senator Mark Lipparelli (R-LV) and the Charter School Association of Las Vegas proposed amendments to the bill.
SREV amended and recommended passage of SB252, the Governor’s Business License Fee proposal, on a 4-3 party line vote. In work session, the committee also amended and approvedSB155 relating to farm equipment and implements of husbandry to provide a refund of taxes on bulk special fuels purchases and a single option, one-time license plate fee of $100 for such equipment. Additionally, SB103 was amended and approved to exclude insurance agents from the definition of financial institutions for the Modified Business Tax so that those persons would pay the lower, general rate for that tax. The committee heard SB334 that provides for ballot questions to amend the Sales and Use Tax of 1955 to exempt the sales of certain durable medical and mobility enhancing equipment, hearing aids and accessories, and ophthalmic or ocular devices or appliances from the tax. The proposal would require three separate ballot questions to amend the State’s sales tax for each category of medical devices.
SED/AED held a joint hearing on two bills regarding bullying: SB204 and SB504. SB204 makes several changes to address bullying, including (1) requiring a principal or designee to take specific actions if they determine that bullying or cyber-bullying occurred; (2) providing a right of action for an injury resulting from negligence or a violation of the provisions of statute relating to a safe and respectful learning environment; (3) requiring the school safety team at each school to take certain actions relating to the prevention of bullying and cyber-bullying; (4) requiring the Nevada Equal Rights Commission to take certain actions relating to the prevention of bullying and cyber-bullying of pupils enrolled in the public schools based on or motivated by race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex or gender identity or expression; and (5) authorizing the filing of a complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission regarding the bullying or cyber-bullying of such a pupil based on or motivated by race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex or gender identity or expression. SB504 also makes several changes to address bullying, including: (1) creating the Safe and Respectful Schools Office in the Nevada Department of Education; (2) amending the definition of bullying; (3) changing requirements regarding the reporting and investigation of an incidence of bullying or cyber-bullying; and (4) providing for disciplinary and licensure proceedings against teachers, administrators, principals, coaches or other staff members who knowingly and willfully fail to comply with applicable provisions of law regarding bullying and cyber-bullying.
On Wednesday, April 1
SFIN/AWM in its Subcommittee on Human Services closed a variety of 14 DHHS budgets for the Director’s Office and the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, which included the Grants Management Unit, Radiation Control, Immunization and Communicable Disease Programs, Health Facilities Hospital Licensing, and the Marijuana Health Registry. The closing document contains detailed information about the programs, their funding and decision units. Page 11 provides a detailed list of the portions of the Tobacco Settlement Funds that are used to finance a number of DHHS agencies and programs in the current and next two fiscal years.
SGA heard SB406 relating to the public employee retirement systems that makes comprehensive reforms for new employees beginning July 1, 2015. The proposal includes provisions relating to the forfeiture of benefits for felony convictions, postretirement increases, age and eligibility requirements, and the multiplier for compensation. Much of the testimony was neutral and suggestions were presented that will be considered in amendment. The committee also considered an amended version of SB29, relating to Dillon’s Rule, to grant functional home rule for the effective operation of county governments.
AED heard AB303. As proposed to be amended, the bill would repeal the Common Core State Standards and replace them with the standards Massachusetts used prior to adopting the Common Core State Standards. Presentations in support of the bill were provided by Assemblyman Brent Jones (R-LV), NPRI, and Dr. Sandra Stotsky. The bill was opposed by the Department of Education, UNLV professors, educators, and others. The Committee also heard AB341, which would address testing and services for students with dyslexia. These services are already generally mandated under the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Supporters of the bill argued that current services have not been sufficient. However, the Clark County School District opposed the bill as an unfunded mandate. In addition, several school districts submitted fiscal notes on the bill. An amendment was submitted to increase the maximum age for identification of developmental delays from age 6 to 9 and to ensure continuity of services for students with developmental delays.
AED also held a work session on three bills. The Committee amended and approved AB178, which revises the statutory requirement that a pupil classified as a habitual disciplinary problem be suspended from school for at least one school semester. The bill deletes the option to expel the pupil and instead provides that a pupil may be suspended for up to one semester, depending upon the severity of the problem. The measure also revises the requirement that a school principal classify a pupil as a habitual disciplinary problem after applying certain criteria, making the designation permissive versus mandatory. The amendment restores the option to expel a pupil designated as a habitual disciplinary problem under extraordinary circumstances. The Committee also amended and approved AB351, which requires a charter school using bonds to finance a project issued by the Department of Business and Industry, to have received one of the three highest performance ratings from the public school’s statewide system of accountability within the immediately preceding two consecutive school years. The bill also removes the requirement that prevailing wages must be paid for these projects. The amendment removes the provision related to prevailing wage since the Legislature has already approved SB119, which deletes the prevailing wage requirement from all education capital projects. The Committee also amended and approved AB166, which creates the State Seal of Biliteracy Program for students demonstrating proficiency in both English and another language. The amendment makes technical changes to the requirements.
SLOE in work session, amended and approved SB19 to authorize school district boards to place an advisory question on a general election ballot. The amendment limited the authorization to Clark and Washoe counties and to one question per election. It also amended and approved, with dissenting votes, SJR1 to urge Congress to enact legislation transferring title to certain public lands to the State in accordance with the report prepared by the Nevada Land Management Task Force. The amendments are included in the work session document. Additionally, the committee heard SB499 to create a modified blanket primary election system that would allow the names of all candidates to appear on the primary election ballot, and allow all voters to cast ballots regardless of party affiliation.
On Thursday, April 2
AGA heard AB364 relating to the state business portal, SilverFlume, to streamline the business licensing process throughout the State. The proposal is a priority of the Southern Nevada Forum to create efficiencies, eliminate duplication, provide better coordination, and enhance the electronic application process among the State and local governments. Testimony focused on an amendment that changes the proposal to enabling language that would eliminate the fiscal notes on the original bill and allow State and local governments to make changes as they upgrade their information technology systems. There was no opposition to the amended version.
The committee also heard AB445, which makes changes to redevelopment laws. The Henderson Redevelopment Agency presented the bill, which allows the Henderson Redevelopment agency to extend the Downtown Redevelopment Area by 15 years. In return, the Agency would be required to set aside 18 percent of uncommitted tax revenue for educational facilities. The City of Henderson offered an amendment to extend the proposal to all of Clark County. The Guinn Center testified that the proposal would help mitigate the loss of property taxes that school districts experience when there is a redevelopment agency and that the proposal could be part of a multifaceted solution to address school facility needs. Additional options to address school district facilities needs are included in the Guinn Center’s policy brief: Expanding Financing Options for Nevada’s K-12 Facilities. The bill also revises criteria the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency must meet to extend the life of its redevelopment area to 60 years. Most municipalities that testified were either in favor or neutral to the bill. Clark County opposed the bill because it extends the diversion of tax dollars away from local governments.
SFIN heard SB423 to provide a $500,000 appropriation from the State General Fund to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to award matching grants for cloud seeding operations intended to increase the water supply in Nevada. This measure was a recommendation from the Interim Legislative Committee on Public Lands, and testimony included a presentation on how cloud seeding works and the target areas, along with a letter of support from the Carson-Truckee Irrigation District. The committee also heard SB487 to require counties to pay for the commitment of certain mentally incompetent defendants in felony cases to the Division of Public and Behavioral Health in DHHS. In work session, SB505 was approved to provide for the temporary suspension of employer subsidy collections paid to the Public Employees’ Benefits Program, with an estimated amount of $17.8 million, to help shore up the General Fund shortfall in the current fiscal year.
AWM considered six bills from the Department of Administration, all with amendments, to implement certain Governor’s recommendations in the proposed Executive Budget concerning various agencies in the Department of Business and Industry. AB474 with amendment, revises certain fees paid by homeowners’ associations and for an initial application for Community Managers. AB475 with amendment, revises provisions governing the financial administration of the Real Estate Division and reduces and increases certain licensing fees. AB478 with amendment, revises various fees and imposes certain new fees collected by the Real Estate Division relating to the sale of subdivided land and timeshares. AB480 with amendment, revises the licensing and regulation of mortgage loan servicers by the Division of Mortgage Lending and establishes certain fees. AB481 with amendment, provides additional authority for the enforcement of deceptive trade practices laws and reestablishes the Consumer Affairs Division in the Department for the biennium. And finally, AB486 with amendment, revises provisions governing the budget accounts of, and certain fees collected by, the Division of Insurance.
ATAX considered AB191, a priority of the Southern Nevada Forum, to allow for ballot questions to authorize additional motor vehicle taxes and the continuation of fuel revenue indexing to finance transportation construction projects. Extensive supportive testimony was provided by many government, economic development, and construction organizations and businesses; and there was no opposition. The Regional Transportation Commission provided a presentation on the positive effects of previous related funding, along with a list and map of project names and costs, and similar documentation for proposed projects in southern Nevada. Clark County provided a 10-year list of funded and unfunded preservation projects and another draft list of unfunded road projects. A DMV bill, AB32 with an amendment, also was heard to revise special fuel taxes on liquefied petroleum gas and compressed natural gas, and change their taxing factors for conversion to volumetric measurements. Additionally, AB350 was heard to provide a tax credit against the modified business tax for taxpayers who donate money to an early childhood education scholarship organization. In work session, the committee approved AB57, a Department of Taxation measure to provide for the taxation of direct mail purchases; and AB451 relating to the UNLV Campus Improvement Authority for continuation of the campus stadium study.
SED heard five bills: SB13, SB496, SB399, SB 461, and SB 463. The Committee heard and approved two of these bills: SB13 and SB496. It amended and approved SB13, which aligns the definition of a pupil with a disability with Federal law and clarifies that the State’s minimum standards for pupils with hearing impairments must comply with Federal law. The Committee also heard and approved SB496, which creates the Workforce Development Rapid Response Investment Fund. Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D-Henderson) presented the bill, which was a recommendation of the Interim Study Concerning Community Colleges. It provides $6 million for grants to community colleges, to be used to facilitate a rapid response by a community college in providing an educated and skilled workforce for certain industries targeted for growth by the Office of Economic Development. Various entities testified in support, including members of the Institutional Advisory Council of the College of Southern Nevada and Truckee Meadows Community College.
The Committee heard SB399, which creates the Nevada Boost Grant Program to provide need-based scholarships to certain students enrolling in community colleges of the Nevada System of Higher Education. To be eligible, students would need to meet college readiness standards and the maximum grant would be $2,000 per semester. NSHE presented a conceptual amendment to (1) expand the program to include adult learners who have previously attended college but may not have attained a degree, not just first-time students; (2) revise the residency requirements to align to existing requirements; and (3) clarify that a student who is not awarded a grant in his or her first semester may be eligible for the grant during subsequent semesters providing that satisfactory academic progress requirements are met.
SED heard SB461, which provides for an individual graduation plan to allow certain pupils enrolled in a public high school to remain enrolled in high school for an additional period to work towards graduation. A potential amendment was discussed to require calculation of a fifth-year graduation rate and require this rate to be included in the statewide system of accountability.
Finally, the Committee heard SB463, which relates to pupil data. The bill: (1) requires certain providers of electronic applications used for educational purposes to provide written disclosures concerning personally identifiable information that is collected; (2) requires a provider to allow certain persons to review and correct personally identifiable information about a pupil maintained by the provider; (3) limits the circumstances under which such a provider may collect, use, allow access to or transfer personally identifiable information concerning a pupil; (4) requires a provider to establish and carry out a detailed plan for the security of data concerning pupils; (5) requires teachers and other licensed personnel employed by a school district or charter school to complete certain professional development; (6) requires certain disciplinary action against a teacher or administrator for breaches in security or confidentiality of certain examinations; and (7) provides a civil penalty for certain violations.
SED held a work session on four bills that had previously been heard: SB211, SB313, SB390, and SB414. The Committee amended and approved SB211, which changes school start times, requires the Council to Establish Academic Standards to prescribe standards for a course in ethnic studies, requires public schools to establish a high school course of instruction in ethnic studies, and require students to take and pass the class to graduate. The amendment removes the provisions related to start times. In lieu of creating an ethnic studies mandate, beginning in FY 2017, the amendment requires schools to ensure instruction in ethnic studies is available as an elective course to pupils enrolled in each public high school, either through a program of distance education or in the school in which the pupil is enrolled.
The Committee also amended and approved SB313, which authorizes the governing body of a private school to develop and provide a program of distance education, and authorizes a university school for profoundly gifted pupils (the Davidson Academy) to associate and enter into an agreement with a private school to develop curriculum for a program of distance education provided by the private school. The amendment allows the Davidson Academy and private schools to provide programs of distance education without complying with certain provisions in current law and delete provisions for the Davidson Academy and a private school to associate and enter into agreements for developing curriculum, since nothing in current law would preclude this.
SED amended and approved SB390, related to charter schools. As amended, the bill expands existing preferences for enrollment to include (1) students enrolled in a public school that is more than 25 percent over intended capacity; and (2) students enrolled in a school rated one or two stars under the Nevada School Performance Framework. Students residing within two miles of a charter school would have priority over other students for these new enrollment preferences. The amendment also requires school districts to post the lists of over-capacity schools.
The Committee amended and approved SB414, which encourages the Board of Regents of the University of Nevada to enter into a reciprocal agreement with the State of California to provide full waivers of nonresident tuition to certain residents of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The amendment strikes the tuition waiver and instead indicates that the agreement would comply with reciprocal portions of California SB605, which has not yet been adopted.
SREV considered SB382 that enacts provisions (based on Colorado and New York laws) relating to the collection of sales taxes by retailers located outside the State to level the playing field between physical stores and outside internet retailers that have component members and/or residents in the State who receive commissions for internet referrals. A verbal amendment was proposed by the Nevada Retail Association for further consideration. The committee also heard and approved AB165, on a party-line vote, which is Governor Sandoval’s proposal to create the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program. As amended in the Assembly, the program would provide tax credits to businesses that donate to scholarships for students to attend private schools. The maximum amount of tax credits would be $5 million in FY 2016 and $5.5 million in FY 2017, which is half of the original proposal. Families with incomes up to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level would be eligible for the scholarship and the maximum scholarship would be $7,755. The Guinn Center testified in the Assembly that this proposal was ranked as a low priority in its report co-authored with Nevada Succeeds: Examining Nevada’s Education Priorities: Which Initiatives are Worth the Investment? In that testimony, the Guinn Center expressed concerns about capacity in private schools, especially in rural areas. The Guinn Center also recommended that the program be targeted to students eligible for free and reduced lunch as opposed to families with income up to 300 percent of poverty.
SREV conducted a work session in which SB125 was amended and adopted to make changes related to recruiting, retaining, stabilizing, and expanding regional commercial air service in this State. The work session document explained the bill and amendment. The committee also amended and adopted SB382 with portions of the amendment proposed by the Retail Association.
ALOE heard three measures. AJR8 proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to require approval by a two-thirds vote for a statutory or constitutional initiative that creates, generates or increases revenue. AB320 designates as nonpartisan county offices including the constable, assessor, clerk commissioners, recorder, treasurer, district attorney and public administrator. And AB460 expresses the Legislature’s intent to increase its size from 21 to 22 members in the Senate and from 42 to 44 members in the Assembly in the next redistricting cycle, and directs the LCB to study the logistical issues relating to an increase in size. An informational chart from the LCB Research Library provides a history of the size and other characteristics of the Nevada Legislature since its inception. Interim redistricting studies before previous reapportionment sessions have always examined current population projections, their effect on all membership configurations, and the possible logistical costs and effects.
In work session, ALOE re-referred, without recommendation, two voter identification bills to AWM for fiscal impacts—AB266 and AB253, as amended (see p. 3 of the work session document). The committee recommended passage of AB384 to establish the Nevada Legislature Oral History Program, and AB273 to require a cooling-off period before a former legislator may act as a paid lobbyist. Additionally, ALOE amended and approved AB289, which would require an interim study on regionalizing administration of mental health services. The amendment would create three subcommittees, which do not need to include members of the interim committee: (1) one focused on issues affecting providers and insurance companies; (2) another focused on children’s mental health; and (3) the third comprised of professionals in academia. The amendment also changes one of the proposed main committee members from a person employed by a private university to a person experienced in medical education. The Guinn Center previously provided testimony in support of the bill based on its report Mental Health Governance: A Review of State Models & Guide for Nevada Decision Makers.
On Friday, April 3
SFIN heard SB93 to authorize aviation businesses to apply to GOED for a partial abatement from personal property and sales taxes for aircraft related parts and property. The Department of Taxation provided a fiscal note chart on the estimated effects by county of the aircraft abatement for property taxes. The committee also heard SB170 that provides a partial abatement of certain property and sales taxes for new or expanding data centers and related businesses in Nevada. The Department of Taxation furnished a summary of fiscal impact of the abatement based on different assumptions for total investment of personal property for a three year period.
AWM/SFIN, meeting separately, approved staff closings of certain budgets within the Department of Agriculture, various Divisions in the Department of Business and Industry, and the Department of Education, which included School Health Education, Continuing Education, and Individuals with Disabilities.
ACL considered AB318 to extend the Federal Military Lending Act to this State. The measure establishes a maximum interest rate of 36 percent for deferred deposit, high interest, refund anticipation, or title loans that are offered by operators of such businesses to current or former members of the military. The sponsor, Assemblywoman Heidi Swank (D-LV), made a presentation on the issue, and a flyer also was included. The Guinn Center submitted testimony in support of AB 318.
SGA heard SB473 that requires state agencies to notify, and the Office of Grant Procurement, Coordination and Management of the Department of Administration to serve as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of information about unexpended grant money and to make a list available on the Department’s website. This bill is the third in a package of measures to help the State receive its fair allocation and improve its bottom level rankings in per capita share of Federal grant funds. A presentation highlighted this bill and its relationship to the other measures in the package, SB213 and SB214 (see the March 23rd Guinn Center Legislative Update, under SGA on March 20). In work session, SGA amended and approved SB29 to grant functional home rule to boards of county commissioners to perform certain acts not prohibited or limited by statute.
SREV considered SB412 to authorize a tax credit for employers from the modified business tax for matching contributions of an employee to the State’s college savings programs. The tax credit is an amount equal to 25 percent of the matching contribution, not to exceed $500 per contributing employee per year, and any unused credits may be carried forward for 5 years. A presentation highlighted the college savings plans of Nevada.
SCL reconsidered SB68, which expedites licensing for health professionals coming from other states. The previously adopted amendment was revised to delete reference to the American Board of Physician Specialties. The Guinn Center previously submitted testimony on the bill based on its recommendations in Nevada’s Mental Health Workforce: Shortages and Opportunities
SED held a work session on SB227 and heard four bills: SB302, SB330, SB460, and SB474. The Committee also re-referred two bills addressing the K-12 funding formula to SFIN: SB397 and SB508.
SED amended and approved SB227, which creates the Silver State Opportunity Grant Program. Senator Gustavson voted against the measure. The bill requires the Board of Regents to: (1) award grants for educational costs to eligible students enrolled in NSHE community and state colleges; (2) adopt regulations prescribing the procedures and standards for determining eligibility and the methodology for calculating the financial need of a student; (3) calculate the maximum grant a student is eligible to receive, net of other funding sources, and determine the actual amount of the grant to be awarded; and (4) submit a biennial report on the program to the Legislature. The amendment requires the Board of Regents to adopt regulations prescribing a process for students to meet the 15-credit requirement within a student’s program of study. The Guinn Center previously testified about the need for state-funded need-based scholarship based on our report, The State of Latinos in the Intermountain West.
SED heard SB302, which creates education savings accounts. As proposed to be amended, the bill would allow parents to enter into an agreement with the Department of Taxation to establish education savings accounts. The State would provide a grant equivalent to 90 percent of per-pupil state and local funds for schools. The funds could be used for tuition and fees, textbooks, tutoring, and other specified costs. There was substantial support and opposition to the bill.
SED heard the continuation of SB330, which was initially heard on March 31, 2015. The portion of the bill considered at this meeting prohibits the Commission on Professional Standards from requiring a school nurse to take a course or examination that is not otherwise required to receive a license to practice as a nurse. Several school nurses and associations testified in opposition to the bill.
SED heard SB474, which creates the Great Teaching and Leading Fund as recommended by the Governor. This fund would provide competitive grants to various entities to conduct professional development and improve the teacher pipeline. A portion of the funding would come from existing funds allocated to the Regional Professional Development Programs (RPDP). The Guinn Center and Nevada Succeeds testified in support of the bill based on the findings and recommendations in our joint reports: Examining Nevada’s Education Priorities: Which Initiatives are Worth the Investment? and Reforming Professional Development to Improve Literacy Outcomes in Nevada.
SED heard SB460, which revises provisions related to school accountability. The bill: (1) provides an alternative performance framework to evaluate certain schools which serve certain populations; (2) provides the manner in which a school may apply to be rated using the alternative performance framework; (3) revises provisions relating to the revocation or termination of written charters or charter contracts; and (4) prohibits the Department of Education from considering a school’s annual rating pursuant to the statewide system of accountability based upon the performance of a school for the 2014-2015 school year when imposing consequences on public schools. An alternative school and the Nevada State Education Association testified in support.
Floor Actions (Ninth Week)
As of the end of the ninth week, 17 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. Major enacted 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.
Tenth Week’s Committee Schedule (Monday, April 6—Friday, April 10, 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. Some highlighted meetings and selected bills currently scheduled for the tenth week are as follows.
On Monday, April 6
AWM (8 am) hears supplemental appropriations and other bills. AB12 makes permanent the diversion program for certain probation violators to receive treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, or mental illness. AB439 makes a supplemental appropriation of $303,867 to the Office of the Military for an unanticipated shortfall. AB467 makes a supplemental appropriation of $1,224,571 to the Department of Corrections for an unanticipated shortfall relating to prison medical care. AB468 makes a supplemental appropriation of $2,451,233 to the Department of Corrections for shortfalls in projected personnel costs. And AB472 relates to the Nevada National Guard and revises provisions governing the use of money in the Patriot Relief Account.
SCL (8:30 am) considers SB259 to require employers to provide paid sick leave, SB353 to prohibit mental health practitioners from providing sexual orientation conversion therapy to minors, and SJR14 to amend the Nevada Constitution to prohibit the State or local governments from establishing a health insurance exchange.
SGA (12 pm) hears several bills including SB241 to exclude school administrators from membership in collective bargaining units.
AED (3:15 pm) considers AB421 to create the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission for public education in this State, and AB447 relating to the statewide performance evaluation system. The committee also has scheduled a work session on AB120 to clarify rights of public school pupils regarding the free exercise of religion, AB221 relating to data concerning pupils, AB226 pertaining to the payment of certain undergraduate fees and expenses of a dependent child of a public safety officer killed in the line of duty, AB278 governing class size reduction, and AB285 relating to the self-administration of certain medications in public schools.
SLOE (3:30 pm) considers SB433, SB434 and SB436. SB433 deals with provisions related to elections. SB434 revises the process relating to initiative and referendum petitions. Among its many changes, it would revise the “single subject” requirement. SB436 makes various changes relating to elections, including consideration of inactive voters.
U.S. Senator Dean Heller is scheduled to address the Legislature at 5:00 pm in the Assembly Chamber.
On Tuesday, April 7
AGA (8 am) hears AB280 concerning relations between local governments and public employees, and AB413 to grant powers to certain cities for home rule. It also has scheduled 10 previously heard bills for work session.
SFIN/AWM (8 am) meeting separately has budget closings that include the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Division of Minerals.
ATAX (12:30 pm) hears AB380 relating to the collection of sales taxes on retailers located outside this State, AB392 and AB393 concerning the Live Entertainment Tax, and AB464, which is the Assembly hybrid tax reform proposal.
SED (3:30 pm) considers SB391 to revise provisions governing educational instruction in the subject of reading, and SB503 providing for the creation and implementation of the Breakfast After the Bell Program.
SREV hears SB266 relating to the Live Entertainment Tax, SB275 pertaining to certain alcohol and drug programs, SB346 to authorize certain tax credits for certain employer costs relating to providing child care for their employees, and SB381 that creates the Nevada Task Force on Financial Security.
On Wednesday, April 8
AJUD (8 am) has scheduled in its work session AB239 that regulates operators of unmanned aerial vehicles in this State.
ACL (Adjournment of Floor Session) has included in its work session AB182 relating to collective bargaining by local government employees, AB292 pertaining to telehealth services, and AB318 to conform state law with the Federal Military Lending Act relating to payday lenders.
AED (3:15 pm) hears AB321 to clarify that the jurisdiction of school police officers extends to all charter school facilities, AB349 relating to class lesson plans and compliance with certain academic standards, AB374 concerning meetings and plans for pupils’ college and career readiness, and AB378 that makes various changes to education which include elimination of the class-size reduction program.
U.S. Representative Cresent Hardy is scheduled to address the Legislature at 5:00 pm in the Assembly Chamber.
On Thursday, April 9
AWM/SFIN (8:30 am) meets jointly as the Interim Finance Committee to consider 162 financial work program changes for various State agencies and departments, and to receive several informational reports.
SREV (3:30 pm) is scheduled to hear SB323 to establish a loan program for certain small businesses owned by minorities and women, SB342 relating to the regulation and taxation of hard cider, and SB411 that allows the imposition of additional statutory taxes in a county to fund school capital projects based on the recommendation of a Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee and voter approval.
On Friday, April 10
AWM/SFIN meeting separately close certain budgets for the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, and for the Director’s Office, Aging and Disability Services Division, and Division of Public and Behavioral Health in DHHS.
The State of the Judiciary address is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, at 5 pm in the Assembly Chamber.