Nevada's legislative session is almost over, which bills will pass?
The 2023 legislative session ends in about five weeks, but this is when the real work begins in Carson City.
Hundreds of bills are still up for consideration, and a $11.4 billion dollar state budget still needs to be drafted.
Up until this point, many of those bills have been on hold while lobbyists and lawmakers meet and maneuver to get what they or their clients want. However, we're now getting a clearer picture of what will likely pass this session.
Democrats are pushing for stricter gun laws, more money for public schools and protections for reproductive care.
Republican Governor Joe Lombardo, on the other hand, is looking to fulfill several campaign promises. He's pitched a dramatic expansion of the state's school choice program, repealing election reforms, and rolling back restorative and criminal justice laws.
Lombardo's office has also called for the passage of SB431 -- a massive government modernization effort. Among the bill's many reforms are provisions that would remove the cap on state worker pay. The bill also limits how much say lawmakers have in state spending during the interim period between legislative sessions.
Annette Magnus, executive director of Battle Born Progress, has characterized the measure as a power grab.
"The governor seeks to gut interim finance... It's literally the body that operates during the interim between legislative sessions so that our budget and our fiduciary responsibilities can continue," she said. "It is a check and a balance on the governor's office so that the governor's office just doesn't go willy-nilly during the interim spending money we don't have and, you know, putting money where we don't need it."
Many in Carson City are also anticipating a bill that would create a special business district to generate funding for a new stadium for the Oakland A's, who recently agreed to buy a parcel of land in downtown Las Vegas.
While little is known about the exact details of a potential deal, The Nevada Independent reports that the team could ask for as much as $500 million in public funding. That's concerning for some who question the efficacy of public funding for sports stadiums.
"The A's have shown for the past 30-40 years that they are not willing to spend money on their own team to attract fans," said Michael Schaus, the former spokesperson for the Nevada Policy Research Institute turned opinion columnist for The Nevada Independent. "They have one of the lowest turnouts in their stadiums across all 30 MLB teams. Even though they're making a smaller stadium, how [are] they going to make up that money with the tax zone that they have? How they're going to be able to pay back those bonds? It just doesn't make any sense to me."
Nevada lawmakers have five weeks to draft a budget that funds the state government for the two-year biennium, which begins July 1st. Governor Lombardo could call a special session and force them to pass a budget on his terms if they don't.
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Guests: Annette Magnus, Executive Director, Battle Born Progress; Michael Schaus, columnist, The Nevada Independent and Former spokesperson for the Nevada Policy Research Institute