Legislative deadline wraps with few bills dying

27 April 2023

Ten bills. 

That’s how many failed to advance on Tuesday past the second major bill passage deadline of the 120-day session.

It was a far cry from the first committee passage deadline, which saw nearly 240 bills killed. That was not a surprise, as the Democratic majorities in the Assembly and Senate would be unlikely to pass bills out of their first committee only to then shoot them down in a floor vote.

During the past week and a half, none of the hundreds of the bills up for a vote failed to pass — though three came very close. Bills seeking to criminalize fake presidential elector schemes (SB133) and allow terminally ill patients to self-administer life-ending medication prescribed by a physician (SB239) both passed out of the Senate in 11-10 votes, while a bill that would require a baccalaureate degree for certain teaching licenses (AB182) passed 22-20 out of the Assembly.

But the 10 dead bills were not brought up for a vote, either through not coming up on the general file (a list of bills waiting for a vote), or by being placed on each chamber’s respective clerk’s desk, a parliamentary procedure that prevents a vote on a bill. Among them was SB318, a bill that would have allowed cities to create a new surcharge on sewer usage that would have provided funding for affordable housing projects for homeless people.

Also among the dead bills in the Assembly: AB325, a water bill from Assembly Minority Leader P.K. O’Neill (R-Carson City); AB384, a bill that would have added automobile wreckers to a list of parties that can sell cars at auction without passing emissions tests; and AB419, which would have required solar energy producers to generate electricity solely for Nevada users in order to qualify for certain tax abatements. 

And in the Senate, now among the dead: SB26, a bill that would have given the state public works division more latitude over construction change orders; SB174, one of several bills affecting common interest communities, aka homeowners associations; SB268, a bill that would have created an advisory ballot question asking voters to weigh in on potential legislation to regulate fireworks in all Nevada counties; SB326, a bill that would have excluded businesses, corporations, unions and other groups from the legal definition of political action committee; and SB379, a bill sponsored in part by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) that would have required new regulations on sports betting ticket brokers. 

Dozens of other bills also survived the deadline without a floor vote because of exemptions, which are typically granted to bills that carry a potential financial impact on the state — or certain high-profile measures, including the governor’s five policy bills.

The vast majority of those measures now await hearings in Assembly and Senate budget committees — a realm where they will either advance to the house floor or be left to slowly rot away in legislative purgatory without support from the Democratic lawmakers who control the process because they hold the majority.

But with hundreds of bills now in their second house, the next few weeks will echo the first months of the session. Bills will be heard, and those without exemptions must be passed out of committee by May 19 or be left to die. That deadline (second house committee passage) typically sees a slight rise in unsuccessful bills. The 2021 session saw 20 bills killed at the third major bill passage deadline.

Amid the flurry of second house bill hearings, lawmakers on the budget committees will also kick into high gear. Alongside hearings on many exempt bills, May 8 marks the day for the two houses to begin resolving budget differences. On May 1, the Economic Forum will meet to provide updated projections on state revenues over the two-year budget period — setting the final amount of money lawmakers will get to spend in the budget for the upcoming biennium.

The post Legislative deadline wraps with few bills dying appeared first on The Nevada Independent.

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