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Nevada lawmakers start seventh week
by Brendan Riley - Associated Press
Mar 15, 2009 | 1144 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CARSON CITY — The seventh week of the 2009 Legislature opens on Monday with the expected introduction of more than 100 bills on wide-ranging topics as a deadline hits for proposals submitted by individual lawmakers.

As of Friday, more than 600 proposals to change state laws and resolutions to change the Nevada Constitution had been introduced. Monday's deadline is one of several aimed at keeping lawmakers on track so that they'll have their work done by the mandatory June 1 end to the 2009 session.

Hearings on Monday include a Senate Finance session on the budget for Gov. Jim Gibbons' office and the governor's mansion for the coming two fiscal years.

The Finance Committee also will consider SB52, to bring Nevada into compliance with the federal Real ID law that's aimed at making it tougher for terrorists, illegal immigrants and others to get official identification.

AB187, which would authorize specialized courts for military veterans charged with nonviolent crimes while struggling to readjust to civilian life, may come up for a vote in the state Assembly.

Also Monday, Assembly Health and Human Services get reports on Nevada hospitals and on high school dropout rates. The panel also will discuss AB6, which revises the provisions governing emergency admissions to mental hospitals.

On Tuesday, a Senate-Assembly budget subcommittee reviews the governor's proposed budget for K-12 public schools. The state's per-pupil funding, already near the bottom compared with other states, would drop from $5,098 this year to $4,945 next fiscal year; and increase by just $1 to $4,946 in the second year of the coming budget cycle.

Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation plans a hearing on SB206, which sets guidelines for toll roads in Nevada. Besides SB206, lawmakers are expected to get a proposal from the state Transportation Department for a toll road pilot project in Las Vegas as a way to help reduce a huge funding shortfall for Nevada highway projects.

Assembly Taxation reviews AB255, which would increase taxes on tobacco products; and AB277, which increases excise taxes on liquor; while Senate Taxation reviews SB177 which requires the state to create an Internet database of all tax rates in Nevada.

On Wednesday, a joint Senate-Assembly budget panel will discuss how federal stimulus funds can be used for unemployment benefits; and Assembly Government Affairs takes up AB260, which requires training for doctors, marriage and family therapists, social workers and others who are required to report cases of elderly abuse.

Also Wednesday, Assembly Health and Human Services takes up AB227, which would require licensing for an agency that assists another agency in providing child welfare services such as foster care.

On Thursday, an Assembly-Senate budget subcommittee reviews the state's economic development and tourism efforts and the Nevada Film Office. The review also will include the agency charged with ensuring jobsite safety around the state.

Assembly Taxation considers AB275, which would repeal a payroll tax paid by financial institutions that's higher than the payroll tax imposed on other businesses. The bill also would delete an excise tax on branch offices of banks. A related measure, SB208, will be discussed in Senate Taxation.

Senate Legislative Operations and Elections considers two bills that move the date of Nevada's mid-August primary elections in opposite directions. SB120 would return the date to the first Tuesday in September; while SB162 would move the date up to early June.

Also Thursday, Assembly Elections, Procedures, Ethics and Constitutional Amendments considers AJR6, which would change Nevada's every-other-year legislative sessions to annual sessions; and AJR5, which would allow lawmakers to call themselves into special sessions. Currently, only the governor can call a special session.

On Friday, a Senate-Assembly budget panels reviews Nevada's state university-college system. Under Gibbons' proposed budget the system is in for major cuts — including reductions of about 50 percent for both the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV.

Also Friday, U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is scheduled to address the Assembly and Senate.
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