Legislative Bills Will Live or Die As Deadline Approaches - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Legislative Bills Will Live or Die As Deadline Approaches

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Monday and Tuesday will be very busy days in Carson City.  All remaining bills have to pass their originating houses or get an exemption before Tuesday at midnight.

"Between reading and committee meetings, we're constantly busy," Assem. Amber Joiner, D-Reno said. "So, it's a lot of work but it's worth it in the end when we have positive laws that pass."

"That means some long floor sessions and some breaks in between to read amendments as they come out of legal, and make sure that we've figured out our positions on these things," Assem. Paul Anderson, R-Las Vegas said.

Along with the deadline, there are many last-minute amendments going into many of the bills, which is essential to gaining enough votes.

"It's the determination of whether or not the bill is good or bad," Anderson said. "You find middle ground, you're able to both like it equally less or more but the important part is to make sure that it's good policy moving forward."

"We've got to decide whether we're going to vote bills up or down and people are going to have to take stock of whether their bills have the support that they need to get votes to get out of the assembly," Assem. Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Reno said.

1,017 bills were submitted during this session.  257 of those died in committee.  The deadline for committee passage was April 14.  Some of those bills include one that would ban plastic grocery bags and another that would lower Nevada's gambling age to 18.  AB329 died, which would prohibit motorists from driving too slowly in the left-hand lane of a highway.  A similar bill, AB334 could receive a vote, Tuesday.  A bill that would abolish the death penalty also died.  Assemblyman Jim Wheeler says all of his bills died in committee, including one that would require able-bodied welfare recipients who do not have dependents to work 20 hours for the state, or get 20 hours of work training.

"I'm very disappointed about the bill that if you kill a police officer in the line of duty that you automatically get the death penalty or life in prison without parole, and they wouldn't even hear that bill," Wheeler, R-Gardnerville said.

"A lot of these bills that didn't pass were bills that couldn't hold water," Benitez-Thompson said. "They were problematic. They couldn't gain a consensus. They were too extreme on either side and those ones end up going by the wayside."

Wheeler and other Assembly republicans say this session has been lopsided, saying only 53 percent of their bills were heard in a committee, compared to 87 percent of democrat-sponsors bills. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the Assembly, 27-15.

"That's just partisanship. It's politics. Should be policy but it's not," Wheeler said.

"Almost every single member of the Assembly is having legislation that is coming up for a vote," Benitez-Thompson said. "So, I think in that way, we've been extremely fair."

Hundreds of bills remain, and the focus remains on that is what lawmakers are focusing on, Monday and Tuesday.  While both parties have their own priorities, they are moving forward, hoping the best bills survive.

"I've been in the building enough that I've learned not to get too attached to a piece of legislation until you see it all the way through," Benitez-Thompson said.

"Today and tomorrow are going to be when a lot of the dust settles and we're going to re-focus our priorities on what's left," Anderson said.

The bills that pass before Tuesday's deadline will swap, with Senate bills heading to the Assembly, and vice versa.  Each house is expected to vote on a couple hundred bills before then.

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