2015 Legislative Session

2015 Session: Week 3 Update

Week 3 Update
Feb. 22, 2015

We’ve now finished Week 3 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:

Senate Democrats stand up for voting rights: This week, Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Aaron D. Ford, introduced a resolution supporting voting rights. Specifically, the resolution calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to continue to use the tools provided under the Voting Rights Act to fight against discriminatory voting laws and practices. Sen. Ford’s resolution has a bipartisan group of cosponsors because voting rights should not be a partisan issue. 

Construction-Defect Bill passed: Republicans rammed through Assembly Bill 125, a bill that will restrict the rights of homeowners to recover when their homes are defective. Sen. Ruben Kihuen attempted to amend the bill to make it more homeowner friendly, but Republicans unanimously rejected the proposed amendment. 

Rather than craft moderate reforms, AB 125 is an extreme piece of legislation filled with special interest giveaways. Unfortunately, homeowners will now be left with fewer options when shoddy construction causes problems in their homes. Accordingly, the Nevada Senate Democrats have named the Bill the “Homeowners Rejection Act.”

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: WEEK 4

Standing up against domestic violence: This week, Democrats will be fighting hard for Sen. Debbie Smith’s bill to get guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Sen. Smith has worked with domestic-violence advocates to come up with a strong bill that will protect survivors of abuse from further harm. Survivors deserve the strongest possible protection under the law, and that’s what Democrats are working to achieve. 

Voter’s Bill of Rights: Senator Patricia Spearman will introduce her Voter’s Bill of Rights tomorrow, which seeks to add voting protections direction into the Nevada Constitution. Senate Democrats are dedicated to protecting all constitutional rights, including the right to vote!

Have you seen our Senator Spotlight? This past week the spotlight was on Senator Mo Denis from District 2! Click here to learn a little more about him!

This next week Senator Mark Manendo will be in the Senator Spotlight! Click here for a preview

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2015 Session: Week 2 Update

Week 2 Update
Feb 15, 2015

At the end of Week 2 of the 2015 Session, Democrats continue to work for the best interests of everyday Nevadans.

This week, Senators Atkinson, Spearman, and Manendo lead the fight against Senate Bill 123 (SB123) in the Commerce, Labor, and Energy Committee. SB 123 would weaken consumer protections in payday lending by giving lenders new ways to go after people who are already caught in the payday loan debt spiral. SB 123 is particularly threatening to Nevada veterans. One in five Nevada veterans have taken a payday loan and many continue to struggle to pay them off. 

Our senators are also keeping up the fight to protect homeowners. Working with our Democratic colleagues in the Assembly, we spoke out against Assembly Bill 125, a bill that would make it more difficult for homeowners to recover if their houses are not built properly. Democrats believe we shouldn’t punish homeowners when builders make mistakes. 

Senate Democrats are also working proactively to pass legislation that will make it easier to middle class families to get a fair shot at success in this state. As Democrats, we know that our agenda must put middle and working class people first. Our senators will be rolling out new legislation and ideas over the next few weeks that will help us grow our middle class and make a better future for Nevada’s children. 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: WEEK 3

Senate Bill 119 is expected to be taken up on the Senate floor on Monday for a full vote. SB 119 is a Republican bill that removes prevailing wage requirements from school construction projects. The Nevada Senate Democrats believe we can put school first without putting middle class workers last and we stand in opposition to this harmful measure. 

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Build schools without gutting fair wages

Las Vegas Sun: Guest Column
By Sens. David Parks & Kelvin Atkinson
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015

It’s no secret that we desperately need new schools in districts across the state. The Clark County School District, for example, has added 10,000 students without building a single new school. CCSD students could fill 24 new elementary schools if they were opened tomorrow. In Washoe County, more than 200 portable trailers are used for classroom space and a third of school buildings are more than 30 years old.

That’s why Senate Democrats pushed hard for a school construction bill to be one of the first issues we considered this session. But we shouldn’t be forced to make an unnecessary choice between forcing parents to take a pay cut just so we can build new schools for their kids. It was shocking in the opening week of the Legislature to see Senate Republicans hijack an important school construction bill in an attempt to give middle-class construction workers and their families a pay cut.

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Sen. Smith 'worried' as she awaits brain surgery Friday

Reno Gazette-Journal
By Ray Hagar
Feb. 4, 2015

State Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, said she is not feeling pain as she awaits surgery for a brain tumor at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

She hopes to return to the Nevada Legislature this session but first must get through Friday's surgery.

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How the Legislature could affect your wallet

Reno Gazette-Journal
By Ray Hagar
Jan. 30, 2015

Among the most contentious issues state lawmakers will face this year will include matters that could affect your wallet — including the taxes you pay.

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6 legislative committees to watch in 2015

Las Vegas Review-Journa
By Steve Sebelius
Jan. 28, 2015

As all observers of the legislative process know, the real work of the Legislature gets done in the various committees, where lawmakers break into smaller groups to tear apart legislation, debate it, amend it, and either pass or kill it.

The 120-day legislative calendar, in fact, is built around committee deadlines, and the rules force legislation through the committee process: Either the bills keep flowing, or they die.

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How the Legislature could affect the way you vote

Reno Gazette-Journal
By Anjeanette Damon
Jan. 27, 2015

After this session, you may have to remember to bring your driver's license when you go to vote.

One of the sleeper battles shaping up in the legislative session that begins Feb. 2 will be over whether to require voters to present photo identification at the polls.

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Governor Sandoval Wants New Taxes...Who's With Him?

KUNR 88.7 Reno Public Radio
By Will Stone

In his State of the State address, Republican Governor Brian Sandoval promised bold action for Nevada’s struggling education system and outdated tax structure:

“We live in a state that is transforming before our eyes – with 21st Century companies, jobs and technologies that place us at the forefront of innovation and the new economy. Yet we still operate with decades-old funding systems and an education structure that will eventually grind us to an inevitable halt.”

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Nevada looks to change economic incentives

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Sandra Cherub
Jan. 26, 2015

CARSON CITY — Four years ago, the focus of Nevada economic development was creating jobs. With tens of thousands of people out of work, almost any job was welcome as the state tried to claw its way out of the Great Recession.

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Sandoval: Despite improved economy, more poor people in Nevada

Las Vegas Sun
By Cy Ryan
Jan. 22, 2015

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval says the economy is getting better, but his budget predicts there will be more impoverished Nevadans needing government help to cover medical bills, secure food for their family and qualify for welfare assistance.

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Progressive group lays out agenda ahead of governor’s state-of-state

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Laura Myers
Jan. 13, 2015

Two days before GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval gives his “state of the state” address, a progressive group on Tuesday delivered its own version, calling for tax reform and a boost in education spending.

It’s two big priorities that Sandoval himself is expected to propose Thursday in Carson City in addressing Nevada lawmakers, who begin their 120-day biennial legislative session on Feb. 2.

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Sandoval’s education improvement plans draw praise, concerns

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Sean Whaley
Jan. 16, 2015

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval’s ambitious plans to reform and improve Nevada’s public education system have much to like, but plenty to be concerned about as well for parents, lawmakers, teachers, the business community and school officials.

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Nevada’s big businesses waiting for Sandoval budget details

Las Vegas Review-Journal
By Sandra Chereb, LVRJ Capital Bureau
Jan. 17, 2015

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s $1.1 billion tax package to fund education and other state services caught some industry groups off guard, but the state’s largest business organizations say they will await specifics of the proposal before passing judgment.

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Democratic leader Kirkpatrick urges courage, compromise to raise taxes

Las Vegas Sun
Associated Press
Jan. 15, 2015

CARSON CITY — Democratic Assembly Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick is urging members of both parties to have the courage to make the hard choices Republican Gov. Sandoval outlined in a broad plan to raise taxes to improve education.

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Nevada expects to be $162 million short of budget by July

Las Vegas Sun
By Michelle Rindels, Associated Press
Dec. 8, 2014

Gov. Brian Sandoval is again calling for changes to Nevada's tax system after receiving more bad news about the state budget.

Members of the Interim Finance Committee heard Monday that the state expects to be $162 million short of expectations by the end of the fiscal year in June. Gambling and mining tax revenues are lagging, and thousands more students are enrolled in public schools than projected.

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