Election system change, traffic ticket decriminalization some of the big points in NV Legislature’s last day

Politics

CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — Lawmakers in Carson City have just hours left until the end of the legislative session. This means they may not meet again until 2023.

The legislative body is legally required to wrap up its session by the end of day May 31.

They leave the big-ticket items to the last minute. So far on Monday, they’ve changed Nevada from a caucus state to a primary state and decriminalized traffic tickets.

If the governor signs the primary bill, Nevada will hold primaries to choose party candidates every February instead of caucuses, possibly as the nation’s first. There’s been a push to do this for a while now, especially after chaos and long lines during the 2020 session. This proposal passed with both Democrat and Republican support.

As far as traffic tickets go, there would no longer be jail time tied to not paying a traffic fine or not showing up to court. Instead, a new collections system would be set up. This had widespread support in both the Assembly and Senate.

“But for that solution to addressing traffic issues to be solved in the criminal justice system, unfortunately, just ends up in additional jail time,” said State Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro.

State Sen. Ira Hansen said, “We need to keep in mind, there are very small counties with very small budgets, and for them to implement this is going to be very, very difficult.”

Also moving forward is a measure that will allow more state agencies, other than the Department of Motor Vehicles, to enroll voters. The Secretary of State will also now run a top-down voter registration database.

Right now, one big issue left is how to tax the mining industry. It passed the Assembly with two Republicans joining Democrats.

The industry brings in billions of dollars a year. With lawmakers looking for more state revenue, the mining industry either faced the chance of this issue going to the ballot or the legislature agreeing to a small percentage. The head of the industry in Nevada says he’s for it to support education. Republicans are pushing for some of that money to go to charter schools.

Right now, discussions on the Senate side remain up in the air.

“Look, we’ve been talking for the last couple months. It was actually the mining industry and the teachers association came to us,” said Assemblyman Tom Roberts. “Through those talks, we’ve got to this point.”

Cannizzaro said, “As someone who grew up in public education here in the state, I know how important and how valuable a good education can be, so we remain very committed and hopeful that we’ll get there today, and obviously, there’s still ongoing conversations.”

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