A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at appointing judges and a measure that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide were among the victims of the latest deadline in the Nevada 2019 legislative session. KUNR’s Political Reporter Paul Boger has the latest.
So, tell me about this latest deadline.
Absolutely! Tuesday marked the final day lawmakers could take any action on bills that originated in their house, whether that was amending a bill or simply passing the legislation on to the next chamber. If they didn’t get it done, then it died.
Did a lot of bills die?
Not really, no. I would say just a handful, but there was some interesting legislation that didn’t make the cut that I want to touch on for just a moment.
First, Las Vegas Senator David Park’s physician-assisted suicide measure got the boot. The measure would have allowed terminally-ill patients in Nevada to work with doctors to get life-ending drugs. That’s a very simple explanation, but that measure was passed out of committee, but was quickly tabled, I think in large part because it likely didn’t have the votes and it’s not necessarily a partisan issue. It’s one that could have potentially created a lot of debate within individual caucuses and I don’t think the leadership had the stomach for it right now.
There was also a measure that would have prevented local law enforcement from working with federal immigration officials unless there was probable cause that a crime had been committed. That’s gone.
A proposed constitutional amendment that would have made judges in Nevada an appointed position instead of an elected is also dead.
Finally, the last measure I think I should mention is SB438. As written, the legislation allowed law enforcement to use confessions as the sole requirement for conviction for certain crimes. That was a potentially problematic measure; that was once again tabled and never touched.
Well, what’s still alive?
Hundreds of bills. Obviously, too many to name here, but I will touch on some of the highlights.
Of course, those big labor reforms are progressing. Those include the minimum wage increase, reinstating prevailing wages for public construction projects, and collective bargaining for state workers. All of that is still on the table.
On the environmental side of things, Governor Sisolak signed into law new RPS standards that mirrored a popular proposed constitutional amendment requiring utilities get at least half of their power from renewable sources by 2030. There’s also a measure that’s meant to expand access to rooftop solar. That’s coming down the pike.
There are also a couple of interesting criminal justice reform bills that are advancing. One would restore the voting rights of some felons after their release. That looked like it was going to be a fairly one-sided vote with Democrats in favor. But, it did receive some bipartisan support from Northern Nevada Republicans Jill Tolles, Al Kramer and Lisa Krasner. So, that’s being sent to the Senate. There’s also AB431 which restores the voting rights of those who have been released from prison. Literally, there are hundreds of bills still up for consideration.
So, Paul, what does all this mean for the rest of the session?
That’s a good question. What I find interesting about all of this is how late in the session lawmakers are waiting to pass bills. Since February, the governor has only signed five bills. Now, there were plenty of problems that occurred near the start of the session that caused some delay, but we’re starting to round the corner to the finish line of this session and the pace doesn’t seem to be where it should be.
All of that being said, lawmakers will now head back to their committees and examine the legislation from the other chamber. That’s the normal progression.