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What To Expect From The Nevada Legislature

The Nevada Legislature began its 120 day session on Monday.

A lot of different things are on the agenda as lawmakers grapple with setting policy agendas for the state's next two years.

Democrats now control both chambers of the Legislature, but a Republican is still in the governor's mansion.

KNPR News coordinating producer Casey Morell is in Carson City for the start of the legislative session. He described it as being a lot like the first day of school. 

“[Monday] was really about getting into the swing of things for the re-elected incumbents, and for the new legislators to just get used to being in the capitol,” he said.

Many lawmakers brought their families to see the building and meet the people working there. While many lawmakers seemed happy to be part of the pomp and circumstance of the first day, there is a lot time left on the clock.

“There were a lot of smiling faces as things got started, but it was day one," Morell said. "There are 119 days left to go — who knows how many of them will still be smiling at the end of the session.”

The session is expected to be a contentious one. There are lot of issues to be tackled, including solar power, possible property tax cap reform, education funding, the break up of the Clark County School District, legalized marijuana and the death penalty.

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An issues that could be one of the most contentious is the return of Education Savings Accounts. 

”Republican leadership wants Education Savings Accounts to come back on the table after the Nevada State Supreme Court said the funding mechanism for them was unconstitutional," Morell said. "They are threatening to hold up the budget if they don’t get [funding] for those ESAs.” 

It is unclear at this point what the Democrats plan to do about the issue, but State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford told KNPR's State of Nevada that ESAs are a voucher system, which he does not support

So far, there are nearly 870 bill draft requests submitted by lawmakers. No matter how the session shakes out in the end, it will be busy. 

Guests

Casey Morell, coordinating producer, KNPR News

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