2015 Legislative Session

Bill would require annual reports on Nevada's obesity problem

LasVegasSun.com
By Las Vegas Sun Associated Press
March 23, 2015

CARSON CITY — Nevada lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would require state officials to prepare an annual report about obesity in the state and what's being done to fight it.

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Legislature to take up alternative revenue plan, sunset taxes

ReviewJournal.com
By Sean Whaley
March 23, 2015

CARSON CITY — Major developments emerged on Monday in the debate over taxes to fund Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $7.3 billion two-year budget, with Assembly Republicans introducing an alternative revenue plan in a late evening floor session.

At the same time, the Senate introduced Senate Bill 483 to extend a package of taxes that are set to expire on June 30, commonly referred to as the sunset taxes that have been used as a bandage to balance the budget since 2009. A continuation of these taxes is part of Sandoval’s spending plan and would bring in about $580 million to the state general fund over two years.

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2015 Session: Week 7 Update

We’ve now finished Week 7 of the 2015 Session! Here’s an update on what’s been happening and what to expect in the week to come in the Legislative Building:

Funding Nevada’s Future: Last Wednesday, the Senate and Assembly met together to hear a presentation and ask questions about the Governor’s proposed tax plan (Senate Bill 252). Both Houses will continue to discuss this plan and several over tax plans as we look to find the best long-term solution for education funding in the state. 

Promoting Financial Literacy in Our Schools: This week, Sen. Joyce Woodhouse presented SB 220, a bill that would expand financial literacy education in public middle schools. If passed, schools would begin exposing students to basic information about how to manage finances at a younger age. Improving education, particularly students’ long-term ability to succeed financially, is a priority in the Nevada Blueprint that Democrats announced last week. 

What to Expect in Week 8?

This week, Senate Democrats will be presenting a bill to help victims of military sexual assault, as well as continuing to consider revenue plans to raise the money needed for education and other essential services. 

Democrats will also be releasing an update on our Nevada Blueprint. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, the Blueprint is a broad-based legislative agenda to protect and expand Nevada’s middle class. 

Have you seen our Senator Spotlight? Week Seven’s Senator Spotlight was on David Parks. Stay tuned for next week’s spotlight on Pat Spearman!

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Bill to change Nevada's speed limit to 80 mph clears committee

ReviewJournal.com
by Sandra Chereb
March 17, 2015

CARSON CITY — The sponsor of a bill seeking to raise Nevada’s speed limit on some highways tapped the brakes Tuesday with an amendment lowering the permissible speed by 5 mph to 80 mph.

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Five things we learned at the voter ID hearing

ReviewJournal.com
by Steve Sebelius
March 17, 2015

CARSON CITY — You can learn a lot by watching lawmakers debate bills in Carson City. Mostly, what you learn is that watching lawmakers debate bills in Carson City is not a good way to spend your time.

But wait, there’s more. A hearing before the Assembly’s Legislative Operations and Elections Committee this afternoon turned into a festival of crazy, with plenty of lessons to be learned. The debate was over Assembly Bill 253 and Assembly Bill 266, two very similar laws that call for requiring a state-issued or state-approved ID card before casting a vote.

What did we learn today? Here’s a quick list:

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Tax Day in Carson City about to change the debate

ReviewJournal.com
By Steve Sebelius
March 18, 2015

It’s Tax Day at the Nevada Legislature.

This afternoon, Gov. Brian Sandoval will present his much-debated business license fee proposal to the Senate Revenue and Economic Development Committee. All other Senate and Assembly hearings have been canceled, to allow lawmakers from both houses to attend.

Sandoval will personally pitch his idea to turn the state’s $200 business license fee into a progressive tax based upon gross revenue, ranging from $400 up to more than $2 million. It’s his preferred alternative to pay for nearly a billion dollars worth of increased spending on education.

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Nevada Bill Aims To Scrap Minimum Wage That Voters Passed By Ballot Initiative

ThinkProgress.com
By Bryce Covert
March 14, 2015

After President Obama called for states to raise their minimum wages in his 2013 State of the Union, 10 of them took him up on the challenge by raising their wages last year, so many that the majority of states now have a higher wage than the federal level of $7.25 an hour.

But in Nevada, state Sen. Joe Hardy (R) wants to move in the other direction. He’s introduced legislation that would repeal the state’s minimum wage, currently set at $8.25 for those who don’t get health benefits. In 2006, the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment that sets a standard minimum wage, but Hardy’s resolution would repeal it and give the legislature the ability to control the wage.

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Nevada Legislature: Gov. Sandoval’s tax plan to be heard Wednesday

Associated Press
By Riley Snyder
March 14, 2015

Two months after announcing a plan to raise business license fees, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is preparing to make the case on his tax proposal on Wednesday in front of a joint legislative committee.

Sandoval’s testimony is headlining the Nevada Legislature’s seventh week, which includes hearings on bills dealing with payday loans, private personal information and financial literacy for middle school students.

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2015 Session: Week 6 Update

We’ve now finished Week 6 of the 2015 Session! Here’s an update on what’s been happening and what to expect in the week to come in the Legislative Building:

unnamedNevada Blueprint: Assembly and Senate Democrats came together last Monday to unveil our Nevada Blueprint. The Blueprint outlines Democratic legislative principles and priorities that will help expand and protect the middle class in Nevada. You can read the full document by going to www.nevadablueprint.com. You can check out some of the TV coverage of our roll-out by clicking here!

Cutting Down the Cost of Higher Ed: As part of our Blueprint, Democrats have pledged to find ways to ease the costs of higher education, and this week Sen. Ford & Sen. Kihuen presented bills to do it.  On Thursday, Sen. Ford presented his bill to create a student loan refinancing program that would help Nevada residents save thousands of dollars by getting a better interest rate on their student loans.

On Friday, Sen. Kihuen also presented a bipartisan bill to create the Silver State Opportunity Grant Program. Nevada is one of the only states in the country without its own need-based college grant program. This bill will create such a program for the state. 

Sen. Woodhouse in District 5! Sen. Joyce Woodhouse went to two local libraries in Henderson over the weekend to celebrate the birth of Dr. Seuss by reading his stories to local children. Both events were well attended, and Sen. Woodhouse encouraged parents to read to their young children. 

What to Expect in Week 7? Monday, March 16th is the deadline for senators to introduce their bills for the 2015 Session. By Monday night, we’ll know exactly what bills remain to be considered during this Session. 

On Wednesday, the Senate and Assembly will meet together to hear a presentation and ask questions about the Governor’s proposed tax plan. The Governor’s plan is one of several tax plans that are likely to be considered as we look for new ways to fund education in our state. 

Have you seen our Senator Spotlight? Week Six’s Senator Spotlight was on Ruben Kihuen.

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There’s plenty of difference between Republicans and Democrats

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Steve Sebelius
March 11, 2015

It was segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace who declared during the 1968 presidential campaign that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.”

But that’s certainly not true of the 2015 Nevada Legislature, where Republicans and Democrats are presenting quite a contrast.

On Monday, Democrats released their “Nevada Blueprint,” a policy document that outlined their priorities, everything from universal all-day kindergarten to raising the minimum wage to equal pay for women to same-day voter registration. Most of the ideas are long shots in a Legislature that Republicans control for the first time in decades.

So, if those are the Democratic priorities, what’s the Republican agenda? The GOP didn’t take the time to put together a PowerPoint presentation or hold a news conference on the steps of the Legislative Building in Carson City, but in the first month or so of the session, they’ve been pretty clear about their ideas.

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Democrats unveil legislative blueprint for Nevada

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Sandra Chereb
March 9, 2015

CARSON CITY — Democratic leaders in the Nevada Legislature announced their plans and priorities for the 2015 session Monday, claiming Republicans are pushing an agenda for special interests over the middle class.

Members of the Senate and Assembly Democratic caucuses held a midday news conference to unveil their “Nevada Blueprint,” a six-page booklet that emphasizes their goals for education, the economy, seniors and the working class.

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Bill would exempt independent contractors from minimum wage

Las Vegas Sun
By Michelle Rindels, Associated Press
March 9, 2015

CARSON CITY — A Nevada bill that would exempt businesses from paying minimum wage to independent contractors earned praise Monday from business owners who say they want the flexibility to hire people on contract.

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Minimum wages, maximum hassles

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Steve Sebelius

So, what was that all about?

There was more than a little confusion in the Senate’s Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee this morning, as lawmakers tried to figure out why the wording of a just-introduced bill didn’t quite match up with the testimony from its backers. In the end, they may have saved Nevada’s low-wage workers from some seriously bad news.

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Nevada senators propose need-based college scholarship

Las Vegas Sun
Associated Press
March 9, 2015

CARSON CITY — Nevada could soon have a need-based grant program in addition to the Millennium Scholarship to help its graduates pay for college.

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2015 Session: Week 4 Update

Week 4 Update
March 1, 2015

We’ve now finished Week 4 of the 2015 Session! Here’s an update on what’s been happening and what to expect in the week to come in the Legislative Building:

Sen. Spearman’s Equal Pay for Equal Work bill introduced: On Monday, Sen. Pat Spearman, joined by Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick, announced Senate Bill 190. This bill would incorporate components of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act into Nevada law. It would also allow women to recover up to two years of back pay, benefits, and other damages if they are the victim of pay discrimination. 

Fighting Back Against Expanded Stand Your Ground: On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee heard testimony on SB 175. This bill expands Stand Your Ground type laws to cover defense of a motor vehicle. Senators Ford, Kihuen, and Segerblom asked hard questions about whether Nevada truly needs to expand laws that are likely to lead to more unnecessary killings of innocent people.

What to look for: Week 5

This week, our senators will continue to fight for legislation to protect survivors of domestic violence from more gun violence. Sen. Debbie Smith has introduced a bill that will keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers.

We will also be talking about higher education. We believe that college should lead to a mountain of opportunity, not a mountain of debt. Senators Ford, Kihuen and  Woodhouse are exploring innovative ways to help students reduce the burden of loans. 

Have you seen our Senator Spotlight? Click here to read Week Four’s Senator Spotlight on Mark Manendo. 

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