Legislative Update – May 26, 2015

What a week this was and still is! First – Monday May 25, – AB 249 (Collective bargaining bill – sponsored by Assemblyman Wheeler and AB 464 the Assembly tax plan were scheduled for hearings in Assembly Ways and Means – AB 249 at 0800 hours and AB 464 at 2:00 p.m.

AB 249 is the sister bill to SB 168 – This past week Rusty McAllister met with Senator Settelmeyer in an effort to amend this bill – SB 168 Senator Settelmeyer tied this bill to the UBER bill and basically stated if the Assembly would pass UBER then he was open for amendments to SB 168. SB 168 had three provisions related to collective bargaining that really hurt labor – First there was no oversight on what and when an “fiscal emergency existed” which could allow management to open a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) during the term of the agreement if certain conditions were met. The second part dealt with the percentage amounts the local governments must have available. Thirdly, this bill would increase the amount the local government could restrict us from using in bargaining allowing the local governments to basically keep at ending fund balance of 25%. This was an increase from 8.3% to 25%. – Pretty ridiculous.

OK…..so – Friday – several of us were asked to lobby several “R’s” in an effort to amend this bill allowing oversight by the Local Government Finance Board and reducing the 25% to 16.65. We were successful in obtaining commitments from enough Assemblymen and Assemblywomen to have SB 168 amended. Our Assembly Minority Leader – Marilyn Kirkpatrick carried the amendment for us. She presented the amendment late Friday night and the amendment passed. SB 168, despite heavy lobbying against the bill, passed out of the Assembly and is now on its way back to the Senate (Settelmeyer) for concurrence. If he and the Senate concur the bill will then find its ways to the Governor’s desk and hopefully he will sign same. That was an awesome amount of work and lobbying on our coalition’s part with Rusty McAllister taking the lead on making it happen.

AB 249 has three major components – First it defines “Financial sustainability”, secondly it takes dollars that are currently budgeted for OPEB and Workers comp and prevents those dollars from being used in collective bargaining. Currently those monies do not become restricted until the money is actually deposited in the accounts. The third part of the bill is same and similar to SB 168 on increasing the ending fund balance from 8.3% to 25%. So….bottom line is that our job now – on Monday – May 25, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. is to attempt to either kill this bill or have the same and similar language as SB 168 has in it.

On other issues, SB 241 – Senator Roberson’s collective bargaining bill and SB 406 – Senator Roberson’s PERS bill, passed out of the Assembly Friday and are on their way back to the Senate for concurrence. Our hopes are that these are the only two changes to collective bargaining and PERS. Of course, like I said previously, SB 168 is a collective bargaining bill as well.

Saturday morning SB 420 was heard in Assembly Ways and Means – This is another PERS bill that we expected might be amended by Assemblyman Kirner. It was not amended as yet and myself and Tim and Rusty were present to ensure that the proponents stayed focused on the legislative intent. This bill provides for an in-house PERS counsel to be retained.

At this point there are 8 days left in this session. All exempt bill must be voted out of their committees by Wednesday – May 27. We now expect all of those bill that will affect us AB 190 – PERS, AB 182, AB280 and AB 249 will now be making their appearances this week. The tax bills will surface SB 252 (Governor) AB 464 – and the hybrid “Commerce Tax” Bill will surface.

Our coalition members will continue tag teaming and watching over all of these bills and more to ensure that we protect and defend your compensation and benefits that we have worked so hard to get.

Mike Ramirez, Ron Dreher, Rusty McAllister, Tim Ross, Ryan Beaman, Marlene Lockard, Scott Edwards, Melissa Johanning, Marty Bibb, Stephen Augspurger , Dave Kinamon, Lonnie Shields, Stan Olsen, Pat Sanderson, Priscilla Maloney, Kevin Ranft, Julie Hittle, Fran Almaraz, Carla Fells, Alyson Kendrick, Julie Pomi, Michelle Russell, Sean Giurlani, and the entire Nevada labor movement.