Looking to the Future as NV Legislative Session Ends
Friday, June 4, 2021
CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Groups that advocate for working families are calling for a professional, full-time Nevada Legislature to replace the current system, in which lawmakers meet for 120 days, every other year.
Even with multiple special sessions, there are complaints that important proposals are either rushed through or dropped altogether for lack of time.
Laura Martin, executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN), thinks state lawmakers need to be able to work full-time for their constituents.
"We are a modern state," Martin asserted. "We need an actual, grown-up Legislature. And it also, frankly, feeds into corruption. Our legislators do not have staff, so they depend on industry to provide them with the information that they need to draw up legislation."
The session was hampered by COVID-19, but Martin acknowledged progressive groups did score major wins on bills to allow voting by mail, decriminalize parking tickets, and promote clean energy and a public option for healthcare. Anti-death-penalty groups were disappointed that a bill to end capital punishment in Nevada died without coming to a vote in the state Senate.
Lawmakers compromised on a tax on the mining industry and passed Assembly Bill 495, which sent the money to education, but sets aside funds for school vouchers and funding for charter schools. Martin's group supported a more stringent bill, which would have put the issue to the voters.
"If mining doesn't play games and try to cheat, by 2023, our public education system will see about $300 million in new revenue," Martin projected. "We forced them to do something [that] not only a few months ago, they said was impossible."
Gov. Steve Sisolak has until Saturday, June 12 to sign or veto dozens of bills, or let them become law without a signature.
Disclosure: Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Environment, Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Immigrant Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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