Nevada Voters Approve Legislative Special Session Measure

CARSON CITY – A majority of Nevada voters on Tuesday approved a measure sought by some state lawmakers that will now allow them to call a special session of the Legislature on “extraordinary occasions.”

The vote in support of the constitutional amendment was 54 percent to 46 percent opposed.

The Nevada state Senate in session, 2011. / Nevada News Bureau file photo.

The change will now allow the Legislature, on extraordinary occasions and only with two-thirds support of lawmakers in each house, to call itself into special session. Sessions would be limited to 20 days, but could be convened on a continuous basis if the extraordinary conditions requirement was met and with two-thirds support from lawmakers.

The term “extraordinary occasions” is not defined.

The constitution previously allowed only the governor to call a special session of the Legislature.

Currently, legislatures in 34 states are authorized to call a special session.

Nevada voters rejected the concept in 2006 but supported it in this election.

The measure was put on the ballot after Assembly Joint Resolution 5 was approved by the Legislature in both 2009 and 2011. In 2011, the proposal passed both houses by a party line vote with all Republicans opposed.

Opponents of the proposal were concerned the change could move the Legislature away from its tradition of meeting on a part-time basis by allowing lawmakers to call themselves into session on a continuous basis.

But supporters said giving lawmakers the authority to call themselves into special session could be critical if a situation like that in Illinois arose with impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Supporters said it would be unlikely for a governor facing impeachment to call a special session to allow for his own removal from office.