A number of bills addressing issues of gun control, workers’ wages, voting rights, education and business preference came to the floor of the Assembly and Senate during this second week of the session, with several pieces of legislation working their way through committee and receiving an up-or-down vote.
Other bills eagerly anticipated and expected to directly impact Sparks, including proposed changes to the City Charter, have only been referred to their proper committees. Questions remain about when, or if, they will ever be taken up in 2011.
Meanwhile, legislators continue to work their way through budget negotiations, with Democrats proposing a reduction in the amount of money school districts are required to keep in reserve for bonding debt payments. They hope to free up some $80 million for school renovations.
Gov. Brian Sandoval, in response, said the plan would carve a $400 million hole in his proposed budget and reduce teachers’ salaries in the process.
Check back next week for another update on the Nevada Legislature.
Major action taken
during the week
of Feb. 14-18
AB144: Makes various changes relating to bidder preferences on state and local public works projects.
As previously reported in the Sparks Tribune, AB144 is better known as the “Nevada Jobs First” legislation. It seeks to give qualified, locally owned businesses a 5 percent bid preference in government-issued public contracts. Sponsored by Democrats, including Debbie Smith of Sparks, the bill passed in the Assembly by a 39-1 margin on Friday. The Senate will now take it up. Gov. Jim Gibbons vetoed a similar bill in 2009.
SB178: Makes various changes concerning foreign nationals.
Sponsored by Sen. Don Gustavson of Sparks, SB178 received a first reading on Thursday and was referred to the Judiciary Committee. The bill seeks to require proof of citizenship and legal status in order to vote and obtain a driver’s license. It would also curtail housing, unemployment and education assistance for noncitizens. It is one of a number of bills proposed in this year’s session that address illegal immigration in the state.
SJR2: Proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to repeal the constitutional provision requiring the payment of a minimum wage.
The Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee heard Senate Joint Resolution 2 on Wednesday. The resolution seeks to repeal a voter-approved minimum wage law. The current wage stands at $8.25 per hour, but proponents of the resolution say it is arbitrary and harmful to businesses trying to survive the effects of the economic recession. Labor groups, however, say minimum wage laws are necessary to combat rising costs of living.
AB159: Revises provisions relating to public records.
A first reading and referral to the Government Affairs Committee was given to AB159 on Wednesday. The bill seeks to reduce fees and expedite requests for public records. It also requires that copies of minutes and audio recordings of public meetings be made available upon request at no charge. Proponents have said the bill is designed to promote greater openness and transparency in government.