There are fewer than thirty days remaining in the 2013 Nevada Legislative Session.
There are still hundreds of bills being considered, some of which undoubtedly affect YOU.
CLICK HERE to look over the information about this session.
To watch hearings online and provide testimony when hearings are video-conferenced to Elko CLICK HERE.
Your input can help your legislators, Pete Goicoechea and John Ellison.
They're working hard for their constituents, fighting Democratic majorities.
From the Nevada Republican Party
May 6, 2013
We've started the final 30 days of the legislative session (do we hear an Amen?), and with that comes all sorts of deadlines. As we reported before, April 12 was the deadline for bills in the legislature to be passed out of committee in the house where they were introduced, and April 23 was the deadline for bills to receive passage on the floor of the house where they were introduced. Any bill that isn't declared exempt and missed one of these deadlines is dead, with no further action allowed.
The next deadline is May 17, when bills have to pass the committee in the second house. As a result, committee hearings will be busy over these next two legislative weeks. I apologize in advance for the length of this email, but committee activity is very high right now, and important things are being considered that will affect all of us.
On top of these deadlines, May 6 is the day that the legislature begins resolving budget issues and getting ready to pass the budget by the end of the session. Things will move very quickly from this point on, both for the surviving bills that they're trying to pass and for budget negotiations.
The Nevada Economic Forum released their updated revenue projections on May 1 for the remainder of the 2012-13 biennium as well as for 2014-15, and showed an increase of around $44 Million total. Of this mount, about $36 Million is projected for the 2014-15 biennium. Governor Sandoval said in a prepared statement that he'll propose the $44 Million be directed to increase spending on K-12 education, health and human services, economic development and the rainy day fund. As the total of the projected revenue increase is only about 1/4 of 1% of the proposed $17.6 Billion biennium budget, the effect on any program will be relatively small.
Although the Governor's budget calls for an increase to education funding, which is already at an all time high in Nevada, Democrat legislators continue to push the fiction that there have been severe cuts to education funding that need to be restored.
Assemblyman Ira Hansen and Senator Debbie Smith were guests on Jon Ralston's show this past week - you can see the episode here. Although Senator Smith tries hard to push the party line that education spending has been drastically cut and not restored, Assemblyman Hansen takes her to school, pointing out that our current general fund budget of $6.2 Billion is more than the budget in 2005, before the recession started. The proposed general fund budget going forward is even larger, at $6.5 Billion. Assemblyman Hansen points out, with hard facts on paper to back him up, that government spending in Nevada is at an all time high. We don't need to spend more money, we just need to be wiser about where we allocate the money we already have. While Senator Smith stubbornly refused to recognize the facts, even Jon Ralston was forced to admit that Assemblyman Hansen was right - congratulations to Assemblyman Hansen for speaking the truth!
Don't think for a minute that just because the progressives are wrong on the facts that they'll be backing off on looking for more revenue. They'll have their gross margins tax, IP-1, on the ballot, but they're still looking for more revenue. At a hearing on SJR15, the constitutional amendment that is the first step to hitting the mining industry with $600 Million in new taxes, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) and their allies were out in force. SJR15 would set the stage to more than double the tax burden on the mining industry, and it's a bad idea. And, we can expect to hear much more rhetoric about the phantom "education cuts" as the budget is reconciled over the next few weeks.
SJR15 passed the Senate by a vote of 17-4, with Settelmeyer, Cegavske, Goicoechea and Gustavson voting nay. It is now in the Assembly, and a hearing was held on Friday, May 3 in the Assembly Taxation Committee. Chair Irene Bustamante-Adams ran a fair and balanced hearing, giving both opponents and supporters time to present their views. The Nevada GOP continues to oppose the resolution and the proposed $600 Million tax hike to follow its passage as we indicated in this statement.
During testimony in support, Joe McCarthy of the Comstock Residents Association started testifying against mining in general within the Virginia City National Historic Landmark. Kudos to Minority Leader Hickey for stepping in and clarifying that the National Historic Landmark would not exist if not for mining in the first place, and that if mining didn't exist at all there wouldn't be anything to tax. Given that mining contributes about 8% of the state's general fund revenue while generating roughly 4% of GDP, and that the proceeds of the minerals tax has increased from $44 Million in 2006 to $242 Million in 2011, the current system seems to be working well for state revenues and should not be altered. Please contact the Assembly Taxation Committee to express your opposition to SJR15.
The following bills are still alive, and are active this week:
SB221 (Jones) - SB221 was heard this morning, May 6, in Senate Finance Committee. This is a gun control bill disguised as mental health reform. There is a small beneficial mental health proposal, but the real purpose of the bill is to institute universal background checks in Nevada for all transfers. The bill already received a "Do Pass" recommendation from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on April 11, and if it makes it out of Senate Finance will go to the full Senate for a floor vote, before heading to the Assembly. Senator Jones has submitted an amendment to address the fiscal note by allowing dealers to go directly to the NICS system for background checks instead of going through the Dept of Public Safety. Senator Jones admitted that this doesn't eliminate the fiscal effect, but merely reduces it. Of course, it does nothing to reduce the constitutional issues. For example, in order to obtain a background check on the buyer, a seller must transfer their firearm to a dealer to run the check. At the hearing this morning, the issue was raised about a sale that doesn't go through. In that case, the dealer might be required to run a background check on the seller - before returning to them the firearm they already own! The committee did not vote on the bill, so there is still time to contact the members to express your opposition - contact information is here.
AB374 (Bobzien, et al) - Hearing May 8, 1:30 pm, Senate Government Affairs Committee. This bill was introduced in response to a dispute between the Burning Man festival and Pershing County over fees charged by the county to cover their costs in supporting Burning Man with law enforcement and other county services. It was passed by the Assembly on 4/23, almost on a party line vote. Pershing County has placed significant information here on NELIS explaining their issues with the legislation. Pershing asserts that the size of the event - Burning Man's attendees are nearly eight times the population of all of Pershing County, even if you count the 1,500 inmates housed in the state prison there - creates a burden not only on law enforcement resources, but courts and other services. While some argue that Pershing County is trying to gouge Burning Man for fees, it should be noted that Burning Man is a $20 Million annual business, which dwarfs the $7 Million General Fund budget of Pershing County. Pershing County has laid out their position very clearly in exhibits on the legislative website here - see the letters and exhibits from the county listed under the March 22 hearing date. Our understanding is that Pershing County is interested only in covering their actual costs, and actually refunds overpayments beyond this level to Burning Man.
However, the real issue here is not a discussion about whether or not Pershing County is recovering a fair amount of costs from an event organizer. The real issue is local control of events in our counties. The Nevada GOP Platform states, "We support granting local government more authority in decision-making regarding water rights, natural resources and public land use within their jurisdiction." A major event involving attendance far in excess of a county's population is certainly a public land use that a county has an interest in. Infringing the rights of all 17 counties in Nevada in order to address a single issue in a single county is bad legislation - please contact the members of the Senate Government Affairs Committee to express your opposition.
SJR13 - Proposed redefinition of marriage in the Nevada constitution to include all genders. Hearing May 9 at 4:00 pm. This resolution was originally proposed to remove the existing definition of marriage in the Nevada Constitution as between a man and a woman, leaving the constitution silent on the issue as it was before 2002. The bill was amended to redefine marriage in the constitution as between any gender, and was passed as amended by the Senate on April 22 by a vote of 12-9. It has now been referred t the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee, and is scheduled to be heard this Thursday, May 9.
SB277(Kieckhefer) - SB277 is a gun control bill which contains significant infringement on due process rights as well. It has been referred to Senate Finance for review of it's fiscal note.
SCR1 - Study on Taxing Services. Requires an interim period study to recommend legislation in the 2015 session to implement the taxation of services. Heard by the Senate Legislative Operations Committee on April 18 and May 2. The committee has not yet held a vote, so you can still contact them to provide input.
SJR8 - Annual legislative sessions. The Nevada GOP testified against this resolution at its March 19 hearing. It was passed in the Senate on 4/16 on a party line vote of 11-10. It is currently assigned to the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee, waiting for a hearing.
AB440 - Same Day Voter Registration and AB441 - At-large voting precincts. AB440 was amended to allow registration up through the last day of early voting, rather than election day itself, and the amended version was passed by the Assembly on April 23 by a vote of 25-16. The bill is now referred to the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee, awaiting a hearing. AB441 is in the same situation, having also been passed by the Assembly on April 23 by a vote of 25-16.
SB226 (Settelmeyer) - A bill to allow for an individual's CCW to be indicated on their driver's license instead of a separate document. As originally proposed, the bill would have eliminated the Clark County handgun registration program, but that was amended out before it was passed by the committee on 4/16. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
SB229 - Nevada Withdrawal from the TRPA. SB271, passed in the 2011 legislative session, proposed to have Nevada withdraw from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact, the agreement that authorizes the TRPA to regulate environmental and land use issues at Lake Tahoe. SB229 proposes to repeal the provisions of SB271 entirely. This bill was passed by the Senate on a vote of 11-10 on April 22, and has been referred to the Assembly Government Affairs Committee, awaiting a hearing.
SB407 - A bill to delay implementing the reforms in the areas of performance pay and performance evaluation systems for teachers and school administrators that Governor Sandoval won in the 2011 session. The bill also contains provisions for a validation study, with the presumed goal of killing the reforms all together. The bill has been declared exempt from deadlines, and is still in the Senate Education Committee.
SB303 - To issue driver's licenses to non-citizens. Passed by the Senate Transportation Committee on April 12. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for review.
As always, thank you for being involved and making a difference! These are only a few of the more important bills currently before the legislature - please contact us at the Nevada GOP if you have questions about bills or need further information.
Share your opinion online at: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/