With Just A Few Months To Go, Where Does The Legislature Stand?
The 2017 legislative session is almost over. The first list of bills that died in committee has come out, and floor votes are being scheduled every day.
With the first round of eliminations finished, many deals are left to be done before lawmakers leave Carson City in June. Lawmakers have until Tuesday at midnight to move bills out of their house of origin or the bills are dead, unless they've been given an exemption.
The next deadline is May 19, when bills must be passed out of second house committee. Then, bills must be passed out of the second house by May 26 or they're dead until the next session. Some of the Republican-supported bills on firearms legislation and repealing commerce tax have gone nowhere, but one Republican supported idea that is still alive is Education Savings Accounts.
The governor has a bill setting up the controversial ESAs and so far it is not dead yet, according to Speaker of the Nevada Assembly Jason Frierson who talked to KNPR’s State of Nevada about what is left to be done and what surprised could be ahead.
There's bipartisan support for fixing the property tax cap, which is set at 3 percent for private property and 8 percent for commercial property. There are secondary caps as well. The legislature has sent bills that would deal with this to an "interim commission." Why?
“This is not one of those issues that we don't dilute to a study and never look at again. This is something that absolutely needs to be dealt with, but with 120 days it makes it really, really difficult with all the other bills to solve those kinds of complicated problems.”
When you were on this program with Senator Ford before the session started, you said your personal priorities were expanding early voting and restoring voting rights. How are those going?
“We’re moving both of those policies actually. We have some bi-partisan legislation that expands early voting, allows ballots to be printed in Mandarin and Cantonese, allows for polling places to be placed on Indian reservations, makes polling times more consistent and allows flexibility for multiple locations to vote.”
“We want to help as many people as we can vote. We want to make it as easy as we can for those who are eligible to vote to vote”
A lot of related bills died in committee, though. We're sticking with presidential caucuses instead of primaries, for instance. What happened?
“It’s a balancing act of figuring out whether or not changing it allows Nevada to remain relevant I think nationally. I think with a state as small as Nevada we had to consider both the excitement of a primary and the value of being able to have a caucus process that also excites voters but excites folks both locally and nationally”
“For now, people felt that the cost of going to a primary was something we maybe couldn’t absorb right now and the value of having relevance nationally was important to us.”
A lot of regulations about marijuana have made it out of committee. Can you give us a summary of they will look like?
“I think we have had the opportunity to look at how [other states] have implemented it and the mistakes they’ve made. I think we have an opportunity to implement it in response to a vote of the people in a responsible and effective way”
Senator Ford was adamant about increasing the minimum wage when last we talked. Both bills – on the Senate and Assembly side – are still in play. Will Nevada have a $15 an hour minimum wage law after this session?
“I think that the bill in the Assembly is actually going to be amended to deal with health care and I think that the bill in the Senate is moving forward. So, we can continue to have that conversation. It is left to be seen where that goes and whether or not there is an appetite as a whole to raise the minimum wage and whether or not that could get the governor’s signature or not”
Assemblyman Jason Frierson, Speaker of the Assembly