76th Legislature Begins

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76th Legislature Begins


Brandon Rittiman / KUNR

Lawmakers meet in a budget hearing ahead of the legislative session.

For complete coverage of the 76th legislature- visit sessionaccess.org and stay tuned to Reno Public Radio.

Monday is the first day of the 2011 legislative session.

Despite the tough issues ahead we'll get a lot of pomp and circumstance on day 1.

Both houses are scheduled to gavel in at 11 Monday morning. When they do there will be lots of ceremonial work. Oaths administered, assignments divvied up and so forth.

It's day one of the 120-day session and speculation is already underway about how it will end, particularly when it comes to the state budget.

Many people foresee Democrats pushing for some kind of tax package again to balance the budget and undo some of the harshest cuts.

The dems would need to be united and pick up two Republican votes in the assembly along with three in the senate.

GOP Senator Dean Rhoads was first in his caucus to publicly say a tax increase may be needed.

But speaking on Friday's Beyond the Headlines, he said Democrats better realize it's going to be hard work to pick up the votes.

Sen. Rhoads: "Right now I don't see 3 senators poppin' over to the other side. "

Rittiman: "But he who negotiates gets to get a little more of what he wants, right?"

Sen. Rhoads: "Well that's true."

And that's where the other issues in the session could come into play. In addition to the political dogfight of redistricting, there are major reforms being proposed... some of which Republicans really want, like overhauling contract negotiations for government workers, pension reform, and a slew of proposals from Governor Sandoval on K-12 education.

The governor promises to be a much more active lobbyist than his predecessor Jim Gibbons, but sitting at the table with a promise to veto new taxes it's unclear how much bargaining room he's left himself.

In 120-days we'll know a lot more. One thing just about everybody agrees on: it'd be nice to get this over with on time. The session is scheduled to end on June 6.