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With Just A Few Days Left, Where Does The Legislature Stand?

As our legislature heads into its final days, there's still a lot to discuss.

The governor's budget, for one.

The death of campus carry – for now.

And whether the Legislature will start meeting every year.

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius talked to KNPR's State of Nevada about those issues and more.

GOVERNOR'S BUDGET

He said that when it comes to Gov. Brian Sandoval's controversial education-boosting budget, chances are pretty good the governor will get everything he wants. 

A key part of that budget proposal is the business revenue section, which, if passed, would be historic.

"It would be the first time in the history of the state of Nevada that we had a business revenue component in our tax system," Sebelius said. "I think he is committed to that."

Sebelius also said he believes voters should judge the Legislature on whether that business revenue component is part of the final budget package.

If the governor can't get that part through, then lawmakers can either cut the state's budget or find another source of revenue by adjusting the remaining taxes. 

A similar thing happened in 2003 when then-Gov. Kenny Guinn tried to get a gross receipts tax passed but that didn't happen so revenue had to be found in existing taxes. 

Support comes from

"I think that would be a disappointing mistake if that happens, but its still a possibility," Sebelius.

CAMPUS-CARRY CONTROVERSY

An amendment to a gun bill that has received a lot attention got even more this week when the amendment's supporter stormed out following its defeat.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R-District 4) stormed out and slammed the door when the Assembly voted down her campus-carry amendment, which would have let people with concealed weapons permits bring their guns onto college campuses.

The speaker wouldn't let her back in without an apology.

Sebelius had strong words for the controversial lawmaker. 

"This is behavior we're seeing from Michele Fiore is just childish and embarrassing," Sebelius said. "It's really something that her constituents have to take into account when they go to the polls next year."

Sebelius understands she is committed to the bill, but he says so are the other 62 members of the Legislature who didn't storm out when their bills hit the skids. 

"This isn't a place where if you don't get your way you throw a tantrum. This is a place where if you don't get your way you find a better way to do it in the future," he said.

He pointed out that Democrats have had a frustrating session as the minority party, but none of them has had to apologize before being let back into the chamber.

"I know it's disappointing when something like this happens and you can't quite get it and you feel betrayed by your colleagues," he said "But none of that justifies the kind of behavior that we saw."

Besides the scene and the vote down by colleagues, Sebelius doesn't believe Fiore is finished. He thinks she will work to get the campus-carry bill going again before the 'sign or die' deadline on June 1.

CHANGING THE LEGISLATURE

An important bill that could change the way the whole Legislature works moved ahead this week. It would change the session from biennial to yearly. 

Sebelius said the issue is really about the budget. Between sessions, economic experts meet to discuss budget issues and project the state's revenue.

Sebelius believes having a yearly session to address budget issues is a good idea, but he's not sure Nevada voters will go for it.

"People in this state don't like government," he said. "They've bought into this rhetoric that government is bad and they believe anytime the legislature is in session there is a chance for mischief and mayhem."

Guests

Steve Sebelius, columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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