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With Only Days Left, State Lawmakers Push To Get Work Done

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Nevada Legislative Building
Ken Lund/Flickr

With just days left in the legislative session, lawmakers still have important work to finish.

The Legislature is scheduled to close shop Monday.

But the governor's tax and revenue boosting budget that increases funding for education statewide still hasn't’t passed.

Governor Brian Sandoval’s budget still needs approval of the Legislature and he only has until Monday to get that done.

While by most accounts, the governor is very close to getting the votes he needs, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius told KNPR's State of Nevada it is not a done deal. 

"I think he is a little bit concerned. His margin of error is not very big," Sebelius said. 

The package did pass the important Assembly Ways and Means Committee Thursday night, which is a good sign for the governor. Now, Sebelius said it comes down to the votes on the Assembly floor. 

"Look, if this passes the Assembly, it will pass the Senate," he said.

Sebelius said supporters of the package are looking for moderate Republicans who are still waffling. 

"We're looking at the Republicans in the middle," he said, "The ones who haven't signed the [anti-tax] pledge or have concerns. That's what the search now is for those moderate Republicans who are willing to embrace this."

Support comes from

Sebelius agrees with political columnist Jon Ralston and political consultant Sig Rogich that it is ironic that it is a Republican controlled Legislature that has pushed the tax increase forward.

"It will be a matter of historic irony that Democrats who pushed the tax idea for so long were unable to get it when they were in charge," Sebelius said. 

Wynn bill 

Legislators are also mulling over a bill nicknamed the Wynn bill, which many argue weakens the state anti-SLAPP, or strategic lawsuit against public participation, law.

The law is meant to protect people, who speak out on issues concerning the general public, from frivolous lawsuits by organizations trying to intimidate them. 

Supporters of the bill, like casino mogul Steve Wynn, argue there aren't enough protections for people who are criticized in a public way.

Sebelius said the bill has a good chance of passing; however, many of the most controversial parts of the bill were changed by an amendment passed by the Assembly but not by the Senate. 

"It's still got some provisions in there that I think defense lawyers and people who favor free speech look very askance at," Sebelius said.

The bill still allows for discovery in a case, which means a plaintiff in a lawsuit would be able to get materials from the defendant in order to pursue a lawsuit against that defendant. 

"You can't silence people this way," Sebelius said, "The net effect of this bill would, undeniably, be a chilling effect on the free speech rights of regular people."

 

Guests

Steve Sebelius, columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journalist

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