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Nevada Lawmakers Look For Bipartisanship As Session Begins

Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson stands in front of a group of microphones answering press questions. She is wearing a white floral dress and mask and is holding a notebook in front of her.
David Calvert
The Nevada Independent
Assembly Majority Floor Leader Teresa Benitez-Thompson gives an interview on the first day of the 81st session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, Nev., on Monday, Feb. 1.

Nevada lawmakers say bipartisanship will be key to pulling the state through the pandemic’s economic challenges.

The state is facing a budget shortfall of roughly $187 million over the next two years, according to Governor Steve Sisolak’s proposed budget. And while that proposal doesn’t include new taxes, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily off the table.

Speaker of the Assembly, Democrat Jason Frierson of Las Vegas, says the budget will likely dominate the session.

“I think, volume-wise, we may not get through as many bills as a traditional session because we have to focus on the problems of today,” Frierson said. “Whether it's social justice, revenue, I think that we’re going to have to deal with those and struggle through some of these areas where we may not agree, but also be willing to find some common ground and compromises.”

Republicans also made overtures to bipartisanship.

No longer a super-minority, GOP lawmakers have the ability to derail any attempt by Democrats to unilaterally change tax policy. But Assembly Minority Leader Robin Titus told reporters Republicans aren’t going to sign onto just any plan.

“We need to see the policy behind it, and we worked really, really hard this last interim to get out of the super-minority for a reason,” said Titus.

In order to pass any tax policy, Democrats will need at least four Republicans in the Assembly and one in the Senate to approve the measure.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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