Lots of Work Ahead as Legislative Session Nears Halfway Point - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Lots of Work Ahead as Legislative Session Nears Halfway Point

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Thursday marks the 60th day of the 79th Legislative Session.  Eight bills have passed, so far, with one getting vetoed by Governor Brian Sandoval.  That may not seem like much, but a lot of discussions have taken place in committees.  The deadline for bill introductions has passed, and each bill must pass its committee by April 14, or die.

"We're gonna start hearing more bills in committee, I think, coming up this week and next," Sen. Kieckhefer, R-Reno said. "So, hopefully, we'll start processing more legislation and doing some of the dirty work."

"I think it's going to be a real hectic pace," Assem. Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Reno said. "I don't see anything letting up at all. We've got a large number of bills to consider and nothing about that's going to change. So, I think we're running at full speed and will be until Sine Die."

Some lawmakers say some of the work seems to be delayed, or moving slowly, despite how busy the committees have been.  The Democrats and Republicans have both laid out their platforms for this session, and both are still hopeful to accomplish their goals.

"I want to make sure that here, in Nevada, women have access to preventive health care," Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks said. "So, that's very important to me. I've been working on an issue to make sure that all children in foster care have access to legal representation."

"Education, workforce development, public safety, health care," Assem. Paul Anderson, R-Las Vegas said. "Those are all things that I think we do have some bills out there that are consensus driven and others that we're going to have to fight for."

The Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Ways and Means Committee have already closed some of the easier, less controversial budgets.  The larger budgets are bound to have more difficulties, as the legislature aims to pass Sandoval's proposed $8.1 billion budget, the largest in Nevada's history.  Lawmakers say this session will be a success if they continue to communicate with each other in a bipartisan way, and if they take the time to properly vet the bills.

"There's a point where we have to say the campaign is over and this is about governance and we have to think about good public policy," Benitez-Thompson said. "It's our time to govern and very little right now, ideally should be partisan."

"A lot of it is building consensus," Anderson said. "So, making sure the stakeholders, whether it's industry or other legislators to find some common ground, to work on the amendments that need to be worked on."

Bills have to pass their house of origin by April 25.  The session ends June 5.

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