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.
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.