Posts Tagged ‘bills’

Gov. Sandoval Signs, Vetoes Stack of Bills on Deadline Day

By Sean Whaley | 5:57 pm June 17th, 2011

CARSON CITY – On deadline day for Gov. Brian Sandoval to act on the remaining bills from the 2011 legislative session, measures extending existing taxes for two more years, authorizing the creation of a toll road around Boulder City and banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving were all approved.

Gov. Brian Sandoval signed dozens of bills into law by a deadline today./Nevada News Bureau file photo

Also approved was a controversial bill allowing adults-only bars that have smoking to serve food. The measure was opposed by anti-smoking opponents, but welcomed by tavern owners who testified their businesses were suffering from the vote-approved Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act.

“Every session we hear legislators bemoan the fact we’re at the top of all the bad lists and the bottom of the good lists,” commented Michael Hackett, consultant for the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition, when the bill was approved by the Legislature. “Obviously, that’s still acceptable for most legislators.”

Sandoval also signed the last of three major campaign reform bills sought by Secretary of State Ross Miller, which will make major changes to reporting of contributions to candidates and banning some questionable campaign practices.

Secretary of State Ross Miller saw all three of his major campaign finance reform bills signed into law by Gov. Sandoval./Nevada News Bureau file photo

“It’s a substantial victory for voters today and the final piece of our campaign and election reform package has been enacted now,” Miller said. “So I think voters can anticipate significant improvement in the next election, one that will be visible to them in terms of transparency and disclosure.”

Among other reforms, the bills require electronic filing of campaign contribution and expense reports so the public can easily search the information. They will also improve disclosures by third party groups that run campaign ads.

“That’s probably the biggest complaint that we get in our office every election cycle is that the public doesn’t know who is funding the TV ads or the mailers that they get in the mailbox, Miller said. “This will significantly improve those disclosure requirements.”

Sandoval signed dozens of bills, but vetoed several others, including Assembly Bill 578, which Republican critics said would lead to the creation of a full-time Legislature, and Assembly Bill 301, which addressed the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons.

The veto of AB301 was criticized by the ACLU of Nevada.

“We are surprised and disheartened that the governor vetoed a bill which would have created easily understandable, reliable laws,” said Dane Claussen, executive director for the ACLU of Nevada. “Gov. Sandoval rejected an opportunity to clarify our voting laws not just for the voting public, but also our county officials and clerks.”

He also vetoed a controversial bill that was amended in the last minutes of the legislative session to include a transmission line for NV Energy.

“To increase utility rates on Nevadans struggling to emerge from a severe economic recession would result in the imposition of an unnecessary and unfair burden on our recovery,” Sandoval said in his veto message.

In one unusual decision, Sandoval allowed a bill relating to pet cemeteries to become law without his signature.

“Although I have not been involved in the drafting or the subsequent passage of this bill, when my office conducted our internal review, it became clear that a member of my family may be affected by SB191 becoming law,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Sandoval also signed the major bills establishing the state budget for the two years beginning July 1, as well as four major education reform measures that were part of a package agreed to in exchange for extending a 0.35 percent sales tax increase and a higher payroll tax rate for the state’s largest businesses.

The $620 million tax extension bill, which will include the higher revenues through June 30, 2013, wasn’t all bad news for anti-tax advocates, however. It also eliminates the payroll tax for 70 percent of Nevada’s businesses, those with payrolls of less than $250,000 a year. The taxes were approved by the 2009 Legislature for two years to balance the current budget. That had been set to expire June 30 until the tax and reform package was agreed to by Sandoval and most lawmakers.

Audio clips:

Secretary of State Ross Miller says the three campaign finance bills are a substantial victory for voters:

061711Miller1 :16 transparency and disclosure.”

Miller says bills make many reforms, including new disclosure requirements for third-party groups:

061711Miller2 :17 those disclosure requirements.”

 

Bills Sought By GOP Senators ‘Returned’ To Assembly As Tax Discussions Continue

By Sean Whaley | 12:00 pm May 26th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Republican state senators who are refusing to go along with a call by Democrats to increase funding for the state budget say bills they have sponsored are being held hostage as a result.

Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, said Assembly Democrats, who have a 26-16 majority, “called back” seven Senate bills that had already been voted on and sent to the Senate for final action.

Senate Bills 89, 96, 111, 134, 225, 322 and 337 were requested to be returned to the Assembly, said David Byerman, secretary of the Senate. He said such requests are routine and are accommodated without requesting an explanation. Various reasons can prompt such a request, such as a reconsideration of a measure, he said.

All seven bills passed the Assembly unanimously on Monday. On Tuesday, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, including Cegavske, Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, and Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, refused to support a proposed budget relying on the extension of sun-setting taxes to add more than $700 million in funding.

The Assembly Ways and Means Committee today passed out a bill extending the sun-setting taxes on a party-line vote. But a two-thirds vote will be required in the full Assembly and then in the Senate to approve the measure.

Democrats in the Legislature need three GOP members of the Senate of 10 to vote to extend the sun-setting taxes. So far the Senate GOP caucus has remained firm in its opposition, holding with Gov. Brian Sandoval against any tax extensions or increases to fund areas of the budget.

On Wednesday, the seven GOP Senate bills were recalled by the Assembly leadership.

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, who said he is working to win support from Senate Republicans for additional revenue for the state budget, acknowledged the bills were called back by the Assembly.

“I think the issue is the budget is the most important thing we have going right now,” he said. “Any policy bill is not that important right now. So we’re absolutely looking at holding all the policy bills until we have a budget.

“Call it what you will, I think what we’re doing is, there is nothing more important than getting this budget done so no policy bills are moving right now,” Oceguera said.

If the bills remain in the possession of the Assembly, they won’t see final approval or be signed into law by the governor, he said.

Oceguera said a lot of reform bills are caught up in the discussion over new tax revenue.

“Obviously if there is not reform on the tax side of things there’s not going to be reform on anything else either,” he said.

Cegavske said Republican senators are being punished for their opposition to tax increases but the bills are good legislation that don’t deserve such action.

Cegavske said failing to act on her Senate Bill 225 won’t hurt her personally, but it will harm the efforts of the American Heart Association.

“Yes my name is on it and if you want to punish me, punish me, don’t punish the American Heart Association,” she said. “Because it is truly a bill that will help them and there is nothing wrong with sending policy bills through while you are still debating budgets. There is nothing wrong with that.

“It saddens me that you would act in a manner that is unprofessional,” Cegavske said.

“It’s an angry attempt to say we didn’t like the fact that you voted against the sunset bills so we’re going to do something that affects you,” she said. “Well, it doesn’t affect me personally but it does affect the American Heart Association and what they’re trying to accomplish for the good of the citizens of Nevada.”

“One would hope we don’t need to go down such a partisan road,” said Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville.

SB89 imposing reforms on homeowners’ associations is sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness, R-Fallon. SB96 making changes to the Guinn Millennium Scholarship is sponsored by Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City.

SB111, sponsored by Settelmeyer, would make changes to help children who are kept in protective custody. SB134 is sponsored by Rhoads and would make changes to the Elko City municipal elections.

SB225 sought by Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, would designate certain hospitals as stroke centers. SB322, relating to weight limits on vehicles, is being sought by Settelmeyer, Hardy and Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas. SB337 is being sought by Kieckhefer and Sen. Allison Copening, D-Las Vegas, and would make changes to the donation of anatomical gifts.

None of the measures have anything to do with policy reforms sought by some Republicans in exchange for consideration of taxes, such as collective bargaining.

Audio clips:

Sen. Barbara Cegavske said Senate GOP bills are being held up as punishment for opposition to tax increases:

052611Cegavske1 :17 wrong with that.”

Cegavske said there is no reason the bills should not be passed while the budget is being debated:

052611Cegavske2 :24 all that way.”

Sen. James Settelmeyer said the Legislature should not have to go down such a partisan road:

052611Settelmeyer :04 a partisan road.”

Assembly Speaker John Oceguera says the budget is the most pressing issue right now:

052611Oceguera1 :05 going right now.”

Oceguera says policy bills are not that important right now:

052611Oceguera2 :09 have a budget.”

Oceguera says the budget is the top priority:

052611Oceguera3 :09 moving right now.”

Oceguera says if there is not reform on taxes, there won’t be reform on anything else:

052611Oceguera4 :14 anything else either.”

 

 

 

 

Beneath Partisan Politics, Personal Relationships Hold Sway At Legislature

By Andrew Doughman | 5:00 am May 26th, 2011

CARSON CITY – On Assemblyman Harvey Munford’s desk lies his teacher’s edition of an American government textbook.

The former high school history and government teacher said he brought it as a guidebook to the legislative process. But he has not used it much.

“It wasn’t applicable to a whole lot of things,” he said.

Munford, a Democrat from Las Vegas, describes himself as “disillusioned” with the Legislature.

He sits in his office, shunted aside from most of the budget battles and without much to do except cast his vote for others’ bills; most of his bills are dead.

Munford was a teacher of government processes, but not a student of the personal politics that are so important at the Legislature.

A social undercurrent has developed as the session has progressed, intimately shaping the fates of bills and the budget. It is part of the milieu that makes every session unique, and those who do not play well with others lose.

“In a small state like Nevada, it’s all about relationships,” said former Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, who is now a lobbyist.

And Munford is not popular.

He has served four terms, but he said he feels slighted that other colleagues have jumped ahead of him and secured leadership appointments to committees.

Munford said he has not found many people to work with. Before the session, he requested from legislative staff a bill that would ban texting while driving. He said a constituent had asked him to sponsor such a bill.

But his bill did not carry much weight. Instead, a bill from Democratic leadership became the vehicle for the proposal to ban texting while driving.

“The leadership seems to carry all the leverage,” he said. “You have to be a foot soldier for them or they’ll cut you out.”

Munford does not always vote with his party. He reluctantly attends caucus meetings, listens and leaves. He has contemplated ceasing to attend altogether.

“I should have pulled a Joe Lieberman on them and went independent,” he said, referring to the Connecticut senator who relinquished his title as a Democrat.

Munford said he likes to sponsor social policy bills. In doing so he naturally avoids the imbroglios that can develop when lots of money is at stake, but he cannot avoid the social shifts and politicking behind his bills.

“This is about regular people and emotions,” said Jim Waddams, a powerful lobbyist for a number of Nevada industries.

Legislators must be savvy enough to develop relationships and participate in the give-and-take compromising that sometimes determines the fate of bills.

Munford characterizes it differently. He calls the hushed chatter in offices and hallways a symptom of legislators’ “hidden agendas.”

“You can see where they jockey around with these bills,” he said. “They cut deals.”

Sitting in his office with Motown music softly playing in the background, the former basketball coach and high school teacher said he certainly understands how relationships matter between people.

“If you’re going to learn one thing, it’s about relationships and personalities,” Munford said of the Legislature.

The problem is, he said, he has not found many people to work with in the Legislature.

“I never wanted to identify myself as a politician,” he said. “I wanted to be a statesman whose goal was to work for the state.”

His independent attitude has relegated him to the sidelines, a man whose vote matters as much as the other 62 legislators but whose influence pales in comparison to some of his colleagues.

“I think part of the problem is he is more interested in trying to develop policy and not so much in simply cultivating relationships,” Waddams said.

Assemblyman Mark Sherwood echoes Munford’s complaints.

Sherwood, a neophyte Republican legislator from Henderson, sat in his office earlier this week and peppered his chat about the legislative process with negatives, at various times calling it “disappointing,” “frustrating,” “disheartening,” and “disturbing.”

Sherwood’s frustrations have sometimes transformed into anger. He has called a committee meeting a “farce” and once referred to a Democratic colleague by her first name, a breach of decorum in the Assembly chambers.

He has also consistently argued that Republican bills have received short shrift from the Democratic majority in the Assembly, earning him a reputation as a caustic outsider unafraid to hurl political firebombs.

Many of the bills Sherwood sponsored are dead.

“They try and destroy you,” he said. “When somebody comes up here who doesn’t conform to the politics as usual, they will try to destroy you.”

Over the course of the session, his views of the Legislature have evolved and soured.

“It becomes group think and all the sudden we’re done,” he said. “We don’t ask the questions.”

He went on to praise lobbyists as the “best politicians in this building” because they must know their issues, build consensus and work across the aisle in order to achieve the aims of their clients.

Sherwood called himself “naive” for not expecting the legislators to unjustly kill bills, steal bills, tack on last-minute amendments and sometimes push legislation for questionable reasons.

“That’s troubling,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting that. … The cronyism is disheartening.”

But not everyone is so bitter.

“In many ways this is one big family and the analogy you can draw is these are sibling rivalries you would find in any family,” Perkins said.

As the end of the legislative session nears, fatigue and stress scratch at the veneer of rationality. Passions run high and tempers flare.

The legislative process is a war of attrition. It wears down the corps of lobbyists, legislators, staff and press. The climate in the building inevitably sours. People miss their families and feelings get hurt. Everyone aches for the days to have two or three more hours, if only to catch up on sleep.

Like journalists, legislators turn to the colleagues and lobbyists they trust for information.

Waddams, the lobbyist, said the legislative process is essentially about information; some people have it and others do not. The ones who do are empowered to make decisions and close deals.

Legislators inevitably make deals, the most important of which will be the final budget deal.

“This is about regular people and emotions and pushing and pulling,” he said. “What is done is never perfect but generally, it works.”

Immigration Bills Fall Short As Deadline Passes

By Andrew Doughman | 10:42 am April 18th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Bills related to immigration at the Nevada State Legislature did not make it past an important deadline last week.

One bill from Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, would have required Nevada to use an electronic database to verify a person’s employment eligibility.

Another from Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, would have mirrored an Arizona law whose proponents crafted to curb illegal immigration, but whose detractors say encourages racial profiling. That law is currently tied up in the court system.

The dearth of immigration bills makes Nevada somewhat of an oddity in the United States. Other states are considering or have passed immigration legislation. Most lawmakers have sought to apply more stringent standards to current laws.

Utah, however, has passed a law that would allow police to check immigrants’ status, but would also allow illegal immigrants to obtain a permit to work in Utah.

In Nevada, even the sponsors of immigration bills seemed resigned to the death of their bills as a bill deadline loomed last Friday.

Hansen and Hickey did not press a Democratic committee chair to ensure the bills passed.

The bills did not have the votes to pass out of committee, they said.

Hansen said that tepid comments from legislators in addition to ambivalence from the business community and unions ensured his bill would not be considered.

The immigration issue, however, has not been primary to any discussion at the Nevada Legislature. The state’s fiscal woes have ensured most discussions relate to the governor’s proposed general fund budget. Bills changing the state’s education policy have also gained traction.

But immigration is not popular. Assembly Republicans have listed several legislative priorities, which would have more effect on public sector and trade unions and trial lawyers than on immigrants.

According to the Pew Center, however, Nevada hosts a high percentage of illegal immigrants compared to its population.

Nevada’s foreign-born population has also grown during the past decade to nearly 20 percent of the population, according to the American Community Survey. This population comprises both citizens and non-citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Deadline Looms, Some Legislators Chose To Sponsor No Bills

By Andrew Doughman | 11:44 am April 13th, 2011

CARSON CITY – The days are lengthening, but lawmakers are still finding good reason to be inside the Legislature from dawn till dusk.

This Friday is a deadline for bills to pass out of committee, leaving many legislators scurrying from committee room to committee room to keep their bills alive.

A few, though, can avoid that stress. The Legislature has more than 1,000 bills to consider this session, but several legislators did not sponsor any bills.

Assemblyman Joseph Hogan, D-Las Vegas, requested one bill last year, but it was never drafted.

He has signed on to one bill from Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, that relates to landlords and tenants in manufactured home parks.

Senator Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas, requested legal staff to draft eight bills before the legislative session, but none were ever drafted.

Instead, he said, he wanted to work with colleagues to incorporate his ideas into their bills.

“I think the number of bills introduced, it’s too much,” he said. “…Our sole focus should be on job creation, diversifying the economy, education, broadening the tax base and redistricting.”

Both Hogan and Kihuen said they want to hone in on their committee work. Hogan, who has been a legislator since 2004, said this might be his “last shot” to throw his weight into staving off budget cuts he opposes.

“I’m happy with what I’m doing, and I think it’s going to do my constituents quite a bit of good,” he said.

On the other hand, Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, has introduced more bills than any other legislator.

He has 31 bills to his name.

That exceeds the statutory limit of bills he is allowed to introduce, but Segerblom has also picked up legislation first proposed by outgoing Democratic legislators: Sen. Terry Care, Assemblyman Harry Mortenson and Assemblyman Jerry Claborn.

He disagrees that a Legislature should restrict itself to the subjects it tackles.

“You can only talk taxes for so long,” Segerblom said. “At the end of the day, the other state’s issues have not gone away.”

Members of Nevada’s Assembly are allowed in statute to request up to 13 measures – bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, memorials and acts – and Senators are allowed up to 26 measures.

Legislative committees, constitutional officers and legislative leadership, among others, can request more measures.

The bill count for this 120-day legislative sessions is above 1,060, about on par with the past several legislative sessions.

Since the Legislature does not work most weekend days, the 120-day session is more like 90 days. Even given a grueling schedule of 14-hour workdays, that would leave little more than an hour to hear each bill equally.

Knowing that discussions of the governor’s proposed budget and the drawing of political districts will consume whole days, legislators will have to slough off some bills.

Legislators may even have to watch their pet bills die.

But at least some legislators won’t have to worry about that.

 

 

Republicans Accuse Democrats of Ignoring Republican Bills As Deadline Looms

By Andrew Doughman | 7:10 pm April 6th, 2011

CARSON CITY – Add it up and some of them have to die.

There is not enough time for the Legislature to hear every bill, but that has not stopped Republicans from accusing Democrats of ignoring Republican bills.

The partisan sniping comes as legislators are scrambling to save their bills from extinction of bills as a legislative deadline looms.

Republicans in the Assembly have the added weight of a list of bills they need to see passed before considering voting for a tax increase.

If some proposals are not given a look, “you’re not going to get a tax increase,” said Assemblyman Mark Sherwood, R-Las Vegas.

He accused some committee chairs of completely ignoring Republican bills.

Democrats see it differently.

“We don’t want to spend our resources, frankly, on things that don’t have a chance,” said Assemblyman Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas.

Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, made a point that new legislators like Sherwood may have unrealistic expectations.

“I think part of the issue is that we have a lot of new people who have a vision in their head that everything will get heard,” he said. “And it just doesn’t happen.”

Oceguera also noted that there are more Democrats than Republicans, so the ratio of bills heard in committees reflects that.

Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, sent an email to Majority Leader Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, yesterday alleging that Senate Democrats also are ignoring Republican bills.

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, Republican leadership in the Senate downplayed the allegations, calling them “isolated incidents.”

Roberson, who is a freshman legislator, said yesterday that he is not alone in his views.

“Some people would consider the way they’re [Democrats] running things foolhardy,” he said. “…If the Democrats don’t want to hear our bills, that’s their prerogative. However, we are elephants and we do have long memories.”

Democrats in leadership positions have yet to propose any tax increases, but would need some Republican help to overcome a veto from GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Sandoval has said repeatedly he won’t “trade taxes for anything.”

Other Republicans, however, might make trades, and how their bills are treated may be part of the bargain.

But the partisan rancor over who gets their bills heard does not apply to all committees.

Minority Assembly leader Pete Giocoechea, R-Eureka, said that the bills are just “slow coming” and there is not yet a problem.

He noted the Legislature still has seven working days left before the deadline for committees to pass bills.

Some committee leaders also do seem to be hearing bills from both parties. Today, Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, gave a contentious Republican bill a hearing.

The bill from Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, resembles a controversial immigration law in Arizona. Democrats would almost certainly not vote for Hansen’s bill.

“She [Kirkpatrick] went out of her way to give me a hearing knowing that bill was dead on arrival,” he said. “There is a level of fairness in that they give me a chance to be heard.”

Next Friday is the first deadline for bills to pass out of their committee. Not all bills get hearings and more bills will die later.

That’s part of the process, says Oceguera.

“The process is built in such a way to kill bills,” he said. “It’s not built in a way to pass bills. It’s hard to pass a bill. It’s easy to kill bills.”

 

First Bills Of 2011 Legislative Session Now Available For Review

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 9:22 am December 14th, 2010

CARSON CITY – Lobbyists and policy-makers who can’t wait to get a jump on the 2011 legislative session can start their reading assignments now.

Forty-four bills have already been drafted and pre-filed on the Legislature’s website in advance of the session that will begin Feb. 7.

Included in the 17 Assembly bills are three from John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, aimed at further combating child prostitution in Nevada. Hambrick won unanimous support for a bill in 2009 providing for civil penalties of up to $500,000 against those convicted of human trafficking of minor children.

Hambrick now wants to extend that effort next session by increasing sentences for those involved in such crimes, including those who purchase the sexual services of an underage child, and allowing victims to clear their criminal records under certain conditions so they can go on to productive lives.

There is also Senate Bill 1, which appropriates $15 million for the cost of the 2011 session. The bill is the first passed when the Legislature convenes.

Among the other 26 Senate bills drafted and on file is Senate Bill 2, the biennial effort by Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, to appropriate enough money to public education to meet or exceed the national average. Schneider has introduced the bill in previous sessions without success.

Senate Bill 16, requested by the Senate Government Affairs Committee, would make changes to Nevada’s prevailing wage law.

Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said the number of bills will grow significantly by Wednesday, when the approximately 155 measures sought by government entities must be pre-filed or they are deemed withdrawn. This list includes 91 measures from the executive branch, along with requests from the attorney general, Supreme Court, Clark County and others.

A total of 241 bills were pre-filed ahead of the 2009 session, he said. The pre-filing of bills helps legislative committees get to work right away when the session begins, Malkiewich said.

The Legislature has only 120 days to complete its work unless the governor calls a special session.

Bill Requests For 2011 Nevada Legislative Session Include Ban On Texting While Driving, Property Tax Protection, Castle Doctrine

By Sean Whaley | 2:17 pm July 1st, 2010

CARSON CITY – If a list of bills requested for drafting for the 2011 legislative session released today is any indication, a lot of lawmakers are concerned about people who use cell phones while driving.

Of the 152 bill draft requests submitted so far, mostly by lawmakers, three deal with cell phone use in vehicles: two to prohibit texting and a third to “restrict cell phone use” while driving.

The one-line descriptions of the bills being sought by lawmakers, interim legislative committees, state constitutional officers and others are made public on July 1 before each legislative session. The list will now be updated weekly through the session that begins in February.

The proposed bills to ban texting while driving were requested by Assemblyman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, with three co-sponsors, and Sen. Shirley Breeden, D-Henderson. The bill to restrict cell phone use was requested by Assemblyman Harvey Munford, D-Las Vegas.

A bill to ban texting while driving was introduced in the 2009 session by Breeden. It passed the Senate but did not get a vote in the Assembly.

Assemblyman Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, has requested a measure to amend the state constitution to create a uniform and fair method of assessing property taxes. Gustavson, who is running for a seat in the state Senate, said the proposal is similar to previous measures he has supported to cap property tax increases at 2 percent per year or the consumer price index, whichever is lower.

Gustavson and Sharron Angle, a former state lawmaker now running for the U.S. Senate, have sought such a change for years, usually trying to get the proposal on the ballot through the initiative petition process rather than the Legislature. It is modeled on the Proposition 13 tax cap approved in California. Gustavson said his proposal may get more attention in the Legislature if Republicans pick up some seats in the November election.

Right now people can’t budget for their property taxes because they don’t know what the valuation will be from year to year, he said.

The measure would help property owners in the Incline Village area of Washoe County who have seen their properties valued improperly, Gustavson said. Despite winning court cases to get refunds of excess property taxes, Washoe County has so far failed to return the money, he said.

The current property tax cap approved by the Legislature in 2005 is not constitutional because it treats residential property differently than commercial property, Gustavson said.

Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, is seeking a bill to adopt the “Castle Doctrine” in Nevada to provide legal protections for homeowners who defend themselves against criminals.

A similar measure was introduced in 2009 by Assembly Democrat Harry Mortenson, D-Las Vegas, but did not even get a hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, Hambrick said.

“It had bipartisan support; many people were in favor of it, but for whatever reason it never saw the light of day,” he said.

Hambrick said the principle is “your home is your castle” and you have the right in common law to protect your property. This would put the concept in state law as many other states have done to provide legal protections from either civil or criminal liability, he said.

Hambrick said he would like to see the measure get a hearing in the 2011 session.

Some bill draft requests are unlikely to see any consideration in the upcoming session because they have been requested by lawmakers who will not return in 2011. One example is a proposal by Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, to make the failure to wear a seatbelt a primary offense. Right now drivers cannot be pulled over in Nevada for failing to wear a seat belt.

Unless another lawmaker picks up the proposal and submits a bill in the session, the issue may not see any action next year. Nolan lost re-election in the June GOP primary.

Raggio, Gansert Getting Pushback from Conservative Caucus

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:03 am February 24th, 2010

As expected, Assembly Minority Leader Heidi Gansert is getting pushback from many of her conservative, staunchly anti-tax members (hello, John Hambrick and Ed Goedhart – for two).

On the Senate side, Raggio is also dealing with pesky legislators who will not agree to vote for anything that might tarnish their conservative creds.

(The LV Sun has a write-up here.)

And/but as Ralston asked this morning:  “How many times can Raggio and his lieutenant, Randolph Townsend, be the votes Majority Leader Steven Horsford needs to count to 14?”

We’re talking to peeps all day and will have pithy quotes and updates and maybe even a story for you.

In any case, Horsford and Buckley are moving forward:  bills to be intro’d shortly.  (Some say that will happen this afternoon.  Waiting for confirmation.)