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Gov. Lombardo to call special session with 4/5 budget bills signed

A large governmental room with rows of lawmakers seated at desks. There’s a gallery above the lawmakers filled with onlookers.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
The Nevada Senate Floor session in Carson City, Nev., on June 5, 2023, at 11:56 p.m. PT.

The 120-day 2023 Nevada Legislative Session ended at the midnight deadline last night — but it’s not over yet. KUNR’s Marc Garber spoke with Lucia Starbuck to break it all down.

Marc Garber: The legislature needed to pass two more budget bills on Monday. Did that happen?

Lucia Starbuck: Not quite. Governor Joe Lombardo signed four out of five budget bills. This includes the bill to fund state services such as state police, DMV, Medicaid, along with K-12 public education, state employee raises and expenditures outside the general fund like COVID relief. The fifth budget bill for capital improvements was voted on about half an hour before deadlines. It did not make it to the governor’s desk.

As the minority, Republicans said their priorities were not met, including raises for charter school teachers. Lawmakers did pass two of Lombardo’s bills on crime and another that raises the rainy day fund limit.

In a written statement, Lombardo said he anticipates calling a special session Tuesday morning. A special session may also include the bills to publicly fund a new Oakland A’s stadium in Las Vegas and expand film tax credits, but no official word on that yet.

Garber: Still, a lot of work has been done so far. What has the governor signed into law?

Starbuck: It will soon be a misdemeanor to put a location tracker on someone’s car without their consent. This is a bill we’ve been following because it’s something that happened to Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and former Washoe County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung. They’re still in a legal battle to figure out who hired a private investigator to put GPS devices on their cars.

Another new law in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade prohibits the governor from issuing an arrest warrant for someone charged in another state for providing or receiving reproductive healthcare, like an abortion, in a state that has banned the procedure. That’s as long as it’s not in violation in Nevada.

And as we gear up for the 2024 election, it’s now a felony to harass or intimidate election officials with the intent of interfering with an election. And you can’t disseminate identifying information about them either, known as doxing. More than half of the state’s top county election officials have left since 2020.

Garber: Of course, not all bills have made it. What has the governor vetoed?

Starbuck: Lombardo vetoed two highly watched bills yesterday evening. One was medical aid in dying. That would’ve allowed terminally ill patients with six months or less to live to take life-ending medication. This is the fifth time the bills have been before the legislature, and the first time it’s made it to the governor’s desk. Lombardo said due to the small number of states that offer it, he didn’t feel comfortable signing the bill. Ten states and D.C. have the option.

A bill to lower prescription drug costs was also vetoed. Under the Federal Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare can negotiate the price of certain drugs starting in 2026. The bill would’ve adopted those prices for most Nevadans, regardless of insurance. Lombardo said the bill would’ve set arbitrary caps on prices based on federal decisions without input from stakeholders in the state.

Lombardo also vetoed a bill that would’ve made it a felony to be a so-called fake elector by signing paperwork stating that a presidential candidate that lost has won in the state. This is something we saw following the 2020 election. Members of the state GOP party submitted false certificates that Trump won in Nevada. The governor said the legislation was too harsh.

Garber: What is presently sitting and waiting on the governor’s desk?

Starbuck: There’s a bill that would prohibit Nevada counties, cities, and unincorporated towns from sounding sirens, bells, or alarms known as “sundown sirens.” They warned Indigenous and people of color to leave city limits before the sun went down or face punishment. A sundown siren still rings in Minden. Each violation will cost $50,000.

Another bill awaiting action would create a process for homeowners to remove racist covenants in their home deeds. Right now, they can only put on records that they disagree with the language. This affects homes built in Washoe County before 1968.

These bills all have various deadlines, with some today and later this week, but now that the legislative session has adjourned for bills that passed yesterday, the governor has 10 days to take action.

As a note of disclosure, KUNR staff are state employees.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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