Legislative Session Winds Down in Carson City - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Legislative Session Winds Down in Carson City

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Just six weeks are left in the 77th Nevada Legislative Session - and there is still a lot of work to get done.

As time ticks on today's bill deadline, lawmakers say they are happy with the progress they've made in the past two-and-a-half months.

"I think we're in good shape. I think leadership has done a good job in both chambers of both parties. So, I think we're ready to go," says Assistant Minority Leader Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R).

Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Debbie Smith (D) adds, "We've processed a lot of amendments. Means that our committees are closely scrutinizing the bills, but we've also seen a lot of healthy floor debate, which is good too."

That cooperation between the Republicans and Democrats is why some lawmakers say the rest of the session should go smoothly.

"We will have differences on some of the bigger bills but the camaraderie, the communication has been good so far," says Minority Leader Assemblyman Pat Hickey (R).

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D) adds, "We've been moving steady and we're getting policy discussions done. We've been closing budgets."

With six weeks left in the session, lawmakers admit there is a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time.

"We're anticipating, I think, having about four months of work to do in two months for the finance committee. So, we've got a lot of work to do, but that's what we're here for. It's crunch time. We're on a 120 day deadline. We intend to meet it," says Sen. Kieckhefer.

With bills either dying or going to the other house, lawmakers say the final phase of the session is another ballgame.

"Our bills are in their possession, their bills are in our possession. So, it is a different kind of tug-of-war, if you will," says Sen. Smith.

Last session saw budget cuts that many lawmakers disagreed on. This year, they say the growing economy has the legislature more optimistic.

"We can all go back home and say that we did some funding for education, we've put some new jobs in place, and that we worked together to do what's best for Nevada," says Speaker Kirkpatrick.

Assem. Hickey adds, "I think we'll have a good ending. You won't have a good ending without having a good beginning and middle, and so far, we're there."

The legislative session ends on June 3rd, so lawmakers say their focus is narrowing down the specifics of bills, starting to close down budgets, and figuring out how to fund it.

Written by Paul Nelson

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