Updates

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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[RELEASE] Sen. Woodhouse Introduces Bill to Strengthen Background Checks, Training for Child Care Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2015

SENATOR WOODHOUSE INTRODUCES BILL TO STRENGTHEN BACKGROUND CHECKS, TRAINING FOR CHILD CARE WORKERS

CARSON CITY - Today, Sen. Joyce Woodhouse introduced Senate Bill 257, a bill that changes training requirements and increases the frequency of background checks for child care workers. 

Existing law requires 15 hours of annual training for employees at a facility with 12 or fewer children or 24 hours of training for employees at a facility with more than 12 children. SB 257 requires at least 12 training hours be in state approved programs specific to the age group served by the facility. The bill further requires an additional three hours of annual training in recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect. 

SB 257 also increases the frequency of required background checks for child care workers from every five to every two years. 

“For many families with working parents, child care isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity,” said Sen. Woodhouse. “As a 40 year educator, I believe we should take every step we can to give parents extra peace of mind that their children are in safe hands.” 

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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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[RELEASE] Legislative Democrats Announce "Nevada Blueprint" for Middle Class Growth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2015

LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATS ANNOUNCE “NEVADA BLUEPRINT” FOR MIDDLE CLASS GROWTH

unnamedCARSON CITY - At a press conference today in front of the Nevada Legislative Building, Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford and Assembly Democratic Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick announced the Nevada Blueprint, an agenda to expand and protect Nevada’s middle class. They were joined by the members of the Assembly and Senate Democratic Caucuses at the announcement. 

The Blueprint reflects Democratic principles and priorities for the Legislative Session. Recognizing that success and stability at every stage of life is connected, the Blueprint includes proposals to strengthen Nevadans from the early years of pre-K to 12th grade education all the way through a secure retirement.  

“We knew before coming to Carson City that the Legislative Democrats would have to be the ones to make strengthening and growing our middle class the priority. Our Blueprint does just that,” said Sen. Aaron D. Ford. “Growing the middle class means creating opportunities for educational success, attracting new jobs in 21st century industries, and providing for the long-term economic stability of Nevada families.” 

“In order to make this Blueprint a reality, Democrats are introducing dozens of bills ranging from expanding affordable childcare to protecting seniors’ retirement savings,” said Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick. “Every bill we introduce will be an opportunity for legislators to say that they stand with Nevada’s middle class families, and not special interests.” 

To see the entire document, click here: www.NevadaBluePrint.com

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[RELEASE] Republicans Pass Bill to Slash Middle Class Salaries, Drive Workers Out of State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2015

REPUBLICANS PASS BILL TO SLASH MIDDLE CLASS SALARIES, DRIVE WORKERS OUT OF STATE

CARSON CITY - Today, Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford released the following statement in response to the Assembly passing Senate Bill 119. The bill slashes fair pay requirements for school-construction projects and allows out-of-state contractors to take jobs that would otherwise go to Nevada businesses. 

“Senate and Assembly Republicans have sent a disturbing message by passing Senate Bill 119: If you’re in the middle class, you don’t matter this Session. This bill is an unnecessary assault on our construction industry that will slash pay and drive skilled construction workers and their families out of Nevada. Further, SB 119 will result in a massive giveaway of taxpayer dollars to cut-rate, out-of-state contractors who can’t do the work as well as Nevada-owned businesses.”

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