The 76th session of the Nevada Legislature started on a tone of civility and bipartisanship Monday, as lawmakers in both houses agreed to two resolutions. One calls for spending 15-million dollars to cover the costs of the 120-day session. Lawmakers also agreed to cut their pay by four-point-six percent. But the hard decisions lie ahead, as the Assembly and the Senate must decide how to balance the two-year state budget. Governor Brian Sandoval has called for a six-point-four percent cut in spending, and has vowed to veto any new taxes. But Democrats, who hold majorities in both houses, want more funding for social services and education. Republican lawmakers have vowed to support the governor’s cuts, and Democrats don’t have enough votes to override a Sandoval veto unless they can get GOP members to agree on a plan.
A record 261 bills were introduced on the first day of the state Legislative session. They include a measure that would ban the use of cell phones while driving. Several bills to ban texting by drivers are also expected to be introduced. Another bill would allow local governments to suspend employee salary and benefits increases during tough economic times. Other measures would end required kindergarten in public schools, allow people to register and vote on Election Day, and raising per pupil spending in Nevada to match the national average.