Voters Approve State Measure, Turn Down Schools, Libraries - 8 News NOW

Voters Approve State Measure, Turn Down Schools, Libraries

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LAS VEGAS -- By a 54 to 46 percent margin, Nevada voters on Tuesday approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that will change the way special sessions of the Nevada Legislature are conducted.

The amendment provides that lawmakers may call a special session only with at least two-thirds approval from both the Assembly and state Senate. Up to now, special sessions have only been called by the state's governors.

Legislators are also required under the amendment to limit the subject matter of bills to be considered and restrict the special sessions to 20 consecutive days, except in cases involving impeachment, removal or expulsion from office. All sessions are also required to end at midnight on the final day. The Legislature normally meets in odd-numbered years for 120-day regular sessions but governors have called 26 special sessions.

Supporters argued that the Legislature should have the power to call itself into a special session because governors may act in self-interest to either call such sessions or prevent them from occurring. Opponents argued that the amendment could lead to situations where legislators approve unlimited numbers of special sessions and pass an increasing number of new laws.

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Clark County residents voted to deny the Clark County School District the authority to levy additional property taxes of up to 21.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for school-related construction for up to six years beginning next July. The cost was estimated to be $74.20 annually for the owner of a new $100,000 home.

The authorization would have given the district the ability to raise up to $120 million annually for capital projects, including constructing and equipping school improvements and replacements and acquiring school sites.

Supporters argued that older schools struggle with inadequate plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems, and that some need roof replacements. They said many classrooms also need updated technology. Opponents argued that taxes would rise as home values increase, and that new levies would hurt elderly residents and struggling small businesses.

The measure was losing 65.6 percent to 34.4 percent with nearly all votes counted.

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Henderson voters also denied the Henderson District Public Libraries board the power to levy additional property taxes of up to two cents per $100 of assessed valuation to operate and maintain existing libraries and construct and equip new ones. The tax increase, which would have taken effect next July and be in place for up to 30 years, was estimated to cost the owner of a new $100,000 home $7 annually.

The measure lost 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent.

Advocates of the measure argued that Henderson's rapid growth put pressure on library resources and that library funding hadn't been increased since 1991. They also said that defeat of the measure would have forced the district to close the Lydia Malcolm and Galleria libraries and terminate the employees of those facilities.

Opponents argued that the measure would cost taxpayers more than $81 million over the life of the initiative, representing an unnecessary tax increase to fund new spending programs that would grow indefinitely.

 

 

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