LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Friday deadline at the Nevada Legislature brought pressure to hammer out agreements on bills that needed committee approval to stay alive.
And as work continued into the night Friday, a statement by Gov. Joe Lombardo’s office indicated more vetoes could be on the horizon.
“We expect school safety legislation to actually make schools safer. Governor Lombardo will not sign legislation that allows a student to commit battery against a teacher and have the only mandatory punishment be a meeting with their parents,” Lombardo Chief of Staff Ben Kieckhefer said. “This is not good enough. We need to do better for our teachers and children.”
The statement came as Assembly Bill 285 — the Democrats’ version of an education bill — was passed in committee while Lombardo’s bill was set aside. Both bills contain provisions repealing “restorative justice” approaches to discipline, but the details of the bills differ.
According to the Governor’s Office, leaders in the Legislature have agreed to waive the deadline on AB330, Lombardo’s bill. That will allow further negotiations that could merge the two bills, or put two choices on Lombardo’s desk. The statement listed unions and organizations that backed Lombardo’s education bill and said 71% of Nevadans support his plan.
On Monday, Lombardo vetoed three gun control bills.
Committees in the Nevada Assembly and Senate met in work sessions all day to review lists of bills. Passing the bills was hardly a formality, with questions drawing out committee meetings and new amendments causing additional arguments. The meetings could continue late into the night.
Democrats hold the majority in the Assembly and Senate, and most of the votes on committee bills were either unanimous approval or split along party lines. Bills that require funding questions to be addressed face a later deadline, and will be the focus of debate after Friday.
Here’s a look at some of the bills that have already been approved on Friday:
- Assembly Bill 250 (AB250) — Legislation designed to reduce the cost of high-cost drugs by extending the benefits of federally negotiated Medicare drug prices under the Inflation Reduction Act to Nevadans who are not on Medicare. Opponents criticized the bill as “feel-good” legislation that would penalize everyone except the drug companies.
- AB220 — The Southern Nevada Water Authority is given the power to limit water consumption by some residential customers who fail to curtail their own use. Heavily criticized portions of the bill that required property owners to connect to municipal sewer systems have been changed, making the conversions voluntary and providing funding to cover the costs.
- Senate Bill 243 (SB243) — Frustration with the growing number of catalytic converter thefts prompted this legislation to give police and prosecutors tools to stop thieves. Previously, police couldn’t do anything unless they caught someone in the act. SB243 makes possession of catalytic converters a crime unless the person is licensed. Depending on the number of devices involved, fines and prison terms go higher.
- AB356 — This bill outlaws putting a GPS tracking device onto someone’s vehicle without their consent, with exceptions provided for law enforcement agencies. The legislation followed a highly publicized case in Reno when the mayor’s car was tracked by a private investigator, but arguments for the bill generally surrounded preventing stalkers and harrassment directed at members of the public.
- SB92 — An effort to license street vendors gives people a path to conduct their businesses legally — in neighborhoods, not where they are already outlawed on the Las Vegas Strip and near Allegiant Stadium.
- AB340 — Tenants who face eviction would gain a little time — seven days — after they are formally notified they are going to be locked out. That time opens up a window to get help in finding a new home, and represents a major change to the way evictions happen now.
- SB351 — The Nevada Department of Corrections would have to adopt regulations clearly stating policies for visitors, and wouldn’t be able to deny visits without providing a written notice of denial.
- AB456 — Legislation requiring use of sensors to warn train crews when there’s overheating equipment is designed to prevent a disaster like the one in February in East Palestine, Ohio, where cars derailed and a toxic fire burned for several days. AB456 also limits the length of trains in Nevada to 7,500 feet to reduce derailments and lower the frequency of incidents where trains block emergency responders.
Two resolutions on changes to the Nevada Constitution also passed. Both would require approval in two consecutive sessions of the Legislature before going to a vote of the people:
- Assembly Joint Resolution 5 (AJR5) — Would remove language in the constitution prohibiting lotteries.
- Assembly Joint Resolution 6 (AJR6) — Would enact the National Popular Vote Compact, a national movement to require states to allocate electoral votes based on the popular vote for presidential candidates. That compact would become effective when the combined electoral votes of states that have enacted the compact reach 270.