Guinn Center Legislative Update: March 9, 2015

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Videos Now Available on Legislative Website

A major innovation appeared last week on the Nevada Legislature’s website with the addition of video access to the committee meetings and floor sessions of the 2015 session. On the right side of the website, at the bottom under the heading “78th (2015) Session,” is a new link for Past Meetings & Floor Session Videos. This link provides easy access to the daily legislative meetings and floor sessions for anyone who would like to view any of the discussions and debates in detail during the session.

Abbreviations Guide


By the end of fifth week, 238 Assembly bills and 224 Senate bills had been introduced.

Of the total 462 bills introduced in the Legislature by the end of the fifth week, 233 were committee introductions that essentially are controlled by the majority party in each House, and 229 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 229 legislator bills, 51 (22.3 percent) were bipartisan in that they included one or more co-sponsors from the opposite party.

Among the 112 Senate bills in that category, 21 (18.7 percent) were bipartisan.  Among the similar 117 Assembly bills, there were 30 (25.6 percent) that featured bipartisan support.

 Committee Hearings and Actions (Fifth Week)

On Monday, March 2:

SFIN reviewed the budgets of the Office of the Attorney General, which furnished a detailed presentation on its organization, responsibilities, budget changes, and office reorganization plans. The same review and presentation were conducted before AWM on Wednesday, March 4.

AGA heard AB54, introduced on behalf of the Department of Taxation, to revise provisions relating to local governments existing in a financial emergency. The Department provided an explanation of the changes that included historical information about previous local government emergency situations. The hearing included other testimony and proposed amendments (see Exhibits).

SJUD conducted a hearing on SB167 to revise provisions related to the filing of complaints alleging a practice of unlawful discrimination in compensation. Amendments were proposed that remain under consideration and discussion (see Exhibits).

AHHS received a presentation on the use of electronic cigarettes by persons under the age of 18 and the health impacts. The Southern Nevada Health District furnished background information on e-cigarettes that included their safety and quality, health impacts, marketing, and use.

AED amended and approved AB30, regarding student improvement plans. The bill requires the state-level improvement plan to include: (1) information on the manner remediation will be provided to pupils that require remediation based on the results of end-of-course examinations and the college and career readiness assessment; (2) strategies to improve the literacy skills of pupils; and (3) strategies to improve the language skills of English Language Learners. The bill also requires the State Board of Education to review the school-level improvement plans to identify common problems, and make recommendations about how the NDE can best support the needs of schools.

AED also heard AB178 regarding student discipline. The bill removes the requirement that a pupil who is deemed a habitual disciplinary problem be suspended or expelled for at least one semester and instead authorizes the school to suspend the pupil from school for a period not to exceed one semester. If the suspension is for one semester, the pupil must be enrolled in a private school, a program of independent study or be homeschooled. The bill also revises parental notice requirements.

SLOE conducted a lengthy hearing on SJR1 that urges 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 consultant who prepared the report provided a summary overview of the study’s recommendations, the lands proposed to be transferred, and projected revenue and costs. The resolution received substantial testimony both in support and opposition (see Exhibits). The Committee also heard SJR3 to amend the Nevada Constitution to provide for the joint election of the Lieutenant Governor with the Governor. Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchison (R) offered an amendment that included provisions for joint campaign contributions and the time period for the gubernatorial candidates to designate a running mate. This resolution also received significant support and opposition.

On Tuesday, March 3:

AGA heard varied testimony on AB190 to revise provisions governing public employees’ retirement by establishing a hybrid program that includes a defined benefit and a defined contribution plan for new employees (see Exhibits). The Committee also conducted a work session on SB119, relating to school facilities rollover bonds and prevailing wage, which was reported to the Assembly without a recommendation.

ANRAM received a presentation from the Nevada Division of Minerals that covered the State’s mineral production, the abandoned mines program and projects, oil and geothermal production, and the development of hydraulic fracking regulations. Other scheduled presentations from the Nevada Mining Association and Nevada Mineral Exploration Coalition were postponed to a later meeting due to the lack of time.

SREV had a discussion and presentations on the Modified Business Tax (MBT). The Tax Foundation presented an excerpt from its study (see pages 38 – 52) that focused on the State’s business tax challenges and possible solutions. The Fiscal Analysis Division of LCB furnished an overview and history of the MBT and a summary of industry codes. Its presentation focused on detailed tables that showed the major industry groups in the State, the effects of the MBT exemptions, and revealing statistics concerning the number, percentages, and amounts actually being paid in 2014 through the tax.

On Wednesday, March 4:

SCL conducted a hearing on SB193 relating to compensation for overtime. The measure would remove provisions in Nevada 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. There was significant testimony in support and opposition.

ACL amended and approved AB89, with five members opposed [Bustamante Adams, Carlton, Diaz, Kirkpatrick, and Ohrenschall]. The bill enacts provisions relating to the employment of veterans, and revises certain other provisions relating generally to professionals. Some committee members expressed concern about several provisions, including (1) allowing private employers to adopt policies that provide a hiring preference to veterans; (2) providing an exemption from the driving skills test for commercial driver’s licenses for certain veterans; and (3) the criteria for providing endorsements to professionals coming to Nevada from other states. The Guinn Center previously testified about the provisions to expedite licensing by endorsement for professionals coming from other states and presented recommendations from its report: Nevada’s Mental Health Workforce: Shortages and Opportunities.

SGA heard SB28 relating to fees that may be charged for public records by a governmental entity. The bill defines an “extraordinary use of personnel or technical resources” and allows a fee for the actual cost of personnel time in responding to a public records under the definition. An amendment was proposed by the sponsoring Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities to reduce the per page fee from 50 to 25 cents and refine other language in the proposal (see Exhibits). The measure received both significant support and opposition.

AED heard AB121, which prohibits a school from disciplining a pupil for (1) simulating a firearm or dangerous weapon while playing; (2) wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or dangerous weapon; or (3) expressing an opinion regarding a constitutional right to keep and bear arms except in certain circumstances. The Clark County School District proposed a friendly amendment to limit the provisions to grades K-8 and to clarify that actions cannot substantially disrupt the educational environment.

On Thursday, March 5:

AWM/SFIN in its Joint Subcommittee on General Government reviewed the budget of the Department of Taxation, which had a presentation that summarized its organization, collections, distributions, and staffing requirements for implementation of the Governor’s proposed revision of the State Business License Fee.

AJUD heard AB148 to authorize persons who have concealed firearms permits to carry their weapons on the property of NSHE, a private or public school, a child care facility, and unsecured areas of an airport. This bill, also known as “campus carry,” received extensive testimony (see Exhibits) expressing both support and opposition.

AGA received a local government presentation from Boulder City that highlighted its expansion as the largest city in Nevada by geographic area, conservation, solar energy development, contribution to the By-Pass/Interstate 11 project, and Unmanned Aerial System test ranges.

SED considered SB205, which revises provisions regarding emergency plans for schools. The bill requires the Nevada Department of Education to develop a model emergency plan for public and private schools. The bill also requires public and private schools to include the elements of the model plan in their emergency plans. The Committee also heard a presentation from the Nevada Association of School Superintendents on iNVest in Education 2015, which provides recommendations for improving K-12 education.

SREV heard SB125 that would create the Nevada Air Service Development (NASD) Fund and Commission consisting of the Executive Director of GOED and the members of the Commission on Tourism. The NASD Commission would award grants, with a 20 percent local match, to help recruit, retain, stabilize and expand regional air service in the State. The bill includes a $2 million appropriation for the biennium that is not in the Governor’s proposed budget. A presentation highlighted the air service need particularly in Elko. An amendment was proposed, and no opposition was expressed to the bill or amendment. The Committee also heard SB149 to provide for a program of matching grants to local governments for the maintenance and repair of public schools, streets, highways and other public works. The funds would be provided by up to $325 million in general obligation bonds secured by the governmental services tax. This measure is a priority of the Southern Nevada Forum, a conceptual amendment was proposed, and it received widespread industry and local government support. Additionally, Senator Pat Spearman (D-LV) made a conceptual revenue proposal to the Committee. She recommended elimination of the Modified Business Tax and indicated that further details of her proposal would be provided within the next seven to ten days.

ALOE heard AB198 to require the Legislative Committee on Public Lands to conduct a study concerning water conservation and alternative sources of water for Nevada communities, and to submit its findings and recommendations to the 2017 session. While there was widespread support and no opposition, the State Engineer expressed concerns about the possible impacts on his limited staff for information requirements associated with the proposed study.

On Friday, March 6:

AWM/SFIN in its Joint Subcommittee on Human Services received a presentation on the budget for the Aging and Disability Services Division of DHHS, which includes the Governor’s initiative for increased funding of the Autism Treatment Assistance Program.

AGA considered AB196 that makes various changes to investments of public money. The Nevada State Treasurer’s Office provided an explanation of the proposed changes in the bill.

SED heard two bills regarding charter schools. SB200 expands existing enrollment preferences for charter schools. For charter schools on military bases, the bill would give preference to children who reside on that base. The bill sponsor proposed to delete a provision which would have given enrollment preference to children who live in an area where a charter school received land at no more than 25 percent of the appraised value. The Committee also heard SB208, which requires notice to be provided to certain parents and legal guardians when a new charter school will begin accepting applications.

 Floor Actions (Fifth Week)

On Tuesday, March 3, the Senate introduced and passed SB207, the bond rollover bill for school facilities, as an emergency measure, by a vote of 15 to 4. On Wednesday, March 4, the Assembly also passed the bill as an emergency measure by a vote of 27 to 14. The bill was signed by the Governor on the same day.

On Thursday, March 5, the Assembly passed SB119 by a vote of 23 to 19. This bill includes the same bond rollover provisions as SB207, but also repeals prevailing wage requirements for K-12 and higher education facilities. The measure was signed by the Governor on Friday, March 6.

 Sixth Week’s Committee Schedule (Monday, Mar. 9—Friday, Mar. 13, 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 currently scheduled for the sixth week are as follows.

On Monday, Mar. 9:

AWM/SFIN (8 am) meet jointly to review the budgets for the Offices of Energy and for Nuclear Projects in the Office of the Governor.

AGA (9 am) hears AB162 to revise provisions governing the use of portable event recording devices by law enforcement while on duty.

AJUD (9 am) conducts a work session on 12 measures that include Initiative Petition 1 that would legalize marijuana in the State, and Initiative Petition 2 that would provide for background checks on the sale or transfer of firearms. If these petitions are rejected or not acted upon by the Legislature within 40 days (March 13), they will be submitted to the voters at the 2016 General election.

SJUD (1 pm) conducts a hearing on SB60 revising various provisions related to the Office of the Attorney General that includes creation of the Office of Military Legal Assistance and a Victim Services Officer.

AED (3:15 pm) conducts hearings on AB205 to create the Nevada Advisory Commission on Mentoring and AB206 to revise provisions relating to certain notices provided to parents of public school pupils. It also has a work session on AB165 that establishes the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program.

SHHS (3:30 pm) hears SB32 relating to medical marijuana, and AB29 that pertains to mental health and revises provisions concerning the care and treatment of persons with intellectual disabilities and related conditions.

SLOE (3:30 pm) conducts hearings on SCR1 that directs the Legislative Commission to create an interim study concerning the professional development of teachers and administrators, and SJR6 that would amend the Nevada Constitution to revise the method for determining the minimum wage.

Assembly Chamber (5 pm)–U.S. Representative Mark Amodei is scheduled to address the Nevada Legislature.

On Tuesday, Mar. 10:

STRN (9 am) hears SB2 that increases from 75 to 85 mph the maximum speed limit in the State, subject to existing limitations, and SB206 that revises provisions relating to the organ donor designation on driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by the DMV.

ANRAM (1:30 pm) receives overview presentations from the Nevada Division of Forestry, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

SED (3:30 pm) conducts a hearing on SB212 that revises provisions governing the discipline of pupils and prohibited acts at public schools.

SREV (3:30 pm) hears SB95 relating to the publication of property tax rolls, and conducts a work session on three previously heard, economic development bills—SB74, SB93 and SB170—pertaining to the abatement of certain taxes.

On Wednesday, Mar. 11:

AWM/SFIN (8 am) in its Joint Subcommittee on Human Resources reviews the budgets of the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, DHHS, that include mental health services.

AGA (8:30 am) conducts a hearing on AB159 that makes various changes to provisions governing public works that include certain prohibitions concerning contracts and their relation to labor organizations.

SGA (1 pm) hears SB111 providing for the use of portable event recording devices by local law enforcement agencies in Clark and Washoe Counties.

AED (3:15 pm) conducts a hearing on AB216 to revise provisions governing the discipline of pupils and prohibited acts at public schools. It also conducts a work session on AB76 relating to veterans’ education, AB117 concerning the lease of school buses, and AB111 and AB150 pertaining to the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship.

SLOE (3:30 pm) reviews SJR8 that would amend the Nevada Constitution to increase the minimum wage per hour worked.

Assembly Chamber (5 pm)–U.S. Representative Dina Titus is scheduled to address the Nevada Legislature.

On Thursday, Mar. 12:

AWM/SFIN (8 am) in its Joint Subcommittee on Public Safety, Natural Resources, and Transportation reviews the budgets of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources which include its Divisions of State Parks, Water Resources, and Air Quality.

STRN conducts a hearing on SB183 relating to the Nevada Transportation Authority (NTA) that would eliminate certain existing market criteria governing its issuance of a certificate of public convenience and necessity for new operators, and SB184 that would eliminate the compliance and safety enforcement duties of the NTA and transfer that authority to the Department of Public Safety.

SREV (3:30 pm) hears SB182 that directs the Office of Economic Development to create a pilot program to encourage the growth of existing businesses in the State.

Upcoming Events

U.S. Representative Joe Heck is scheduled to address the Legislature on Monday, March 30, at 5 pm in the Assembly Chamber.

U.S. Senator Harry Reid is scheduled to address the Legislature on Wednesday, April 1, at 12:00 pm in the Assembly Chamber.

U.S. Senator Dean Heller is scheduled to address the Legislature on Monday, April 6, at 5:00 pm in the Assembly Chamber.

U.S. Representative Cresent Hardy is scheduled to address the Legislature on Wednesday, April 8, at 5:00 pm in the Assembly Chamber.

The State of the Judiciary address is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15, at 5 pm in the Assembly Chamber.