The 79th session of the Nevada Legislature has come to end, and it sure was loaded with ups and downs from the beginning to the final days! All the way to the end of sine die at midnight, there was plenty of politicking happening. In many ways, this session was better than the 2015 session, primarily because the Democrats had control over both houses — although with a Republican governor in place, it made for an interesting 120 days. No one can dispute that Governor Sandoval had his veto pen in hand, which affected plenty of hot topics, including education reform (ESAs), changes to rideshare companies (Uber and Lyft), the prevailing wage, recreational marijuana and project labor agreements, just to name a few.
There were several bills being considered during this session that were highly relevant to our industry, including collective bargaining, the Peace Officer Bill of Rights, PERS, heart and lung presumptions, etc. The governor vetoed collective bargaining bills AB 271, SB 356 and SB 469. As of June 6, AB 290 (a bill clarifying leave time for union representation) is sitting on the governor’s desk with our hope that he will sign it rather than veto it. There were over half a dozen PERS bills that were aimed at pension reform. Only one of these bills, SB 384, was supported by our coalition, but the governor ultimately vetoed it. Our Peace Officer Bill of Rights bill died before it made it out of the second house passage. There were several heart and lung bills, but we supported one in particular, AB 267, and it is currently on the governor’s desk waiting for signature.
One challenge we faced while up in Carson City this session was that it was very obvious that Governor Sandoval, Senator Roberson and Senator Settelmeyer refused to meet or even converse with anyone related to law enforcement. It makes it difficult for us to consider supporting any of these candidates in future elections and, in my humble opinion, any elected official who refuses to meet and debate with constituents or who singles out a particular group of constituents should not be in politics. Senator Roberson has been on a mission to destroy collective bargaining since 2011, and he was fairly successful in his efforts to have Governor Sandoval veto our collective bargaining bills.
Below is a breakdown of the particular bills and their status.
SB 356 (collective bargaining, sponsored by Senator Atkinson): Vetoed by Governor Sandoval on Friday, June 2. Please remember this when he comes to us in the future and asks us to believe that he supports public employees.
SB 469 (collective bargaining, sponsored by Senator Parks): Vetoed by Governor Sandoval on Friday, June 2. This pertains to SB 168 from the 2015 session. It would have reduced the current 25% General Fund requirement for funding compensation/COLA increases to 16.7%.
AB 271 (collective bargaining, sponsored by Assemblyman Carrillo): Vetoed by Governor Sandoval on Friday, June 2. It was voted out of the Assembly on party-line votes before the governor’s veto.
AB 290 (collective bargaining): This is our last remaining bill. At the end of May/beginning of June, we activated an exempt bill sponsored by Assemblyman Wheeler. This bill was gutted and replaced with NRS 288.225: release time language. It is on the governor’s desk.
SB 282 (formerly BDR 539; revises NRS 289 language, specifically 289.085; sponsored by Senator Segerblom): This legislation failed to survive the mandatory legislative deadline.
SB 176 (body-worn cameras, sponsored by Senator Ford): This bill was signed by the governor.
AB 302 (combining Parole and Probation with Corrections): This bill was voted out of committee and survived the first committee vote, but there is no update on this bill yet. It was amended and is not supposed to take effect until 2019 at a minimum.
SB 403 (sponsored by Senators Manendo and Ford): This bill will provide a 5% increase in pay to Highway Patrol troopers. It remains in Senate Finance at this point and should be scheduled for a hearing soon. NHPA requests that we all support this long overdue pay increase. Senator Ford has stated that a COLA for all employees is going to happen, but that it will not be the 5% proposed.
AB 267 (workers’ compensation, sponsored by Assemblyman Araujo and many others): This legislation affects active police and fire members with heart and lung issues. If our officers prevail in denied cases, this legislation will require the insurers to reimburse the costs to the officers, including attorneys’ fees. This bill was on its way to the governor’s office at the time this article was written.
SB 384 (sponsored by Senator Ratti): Vetoed by Governor Sandoval on Friday, June 2. This bill would have made certain PERS information confidential.
SB 460 (sponsored by the governor): This bill changes the makeup of the EMRB from three members to five members. Three of the five must be from Southern Nevada P# 14821. Our amendment and the amendment from EMRB were presented in the hearing. This was passed out of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee and should have been voted out on June 2.
Our team of legislative lobbyists worked tirelessly to fight for bills that make sense for our industry. Our team of consists of me (LVPPA and SNCOPS), Ron Dreher (PORAN), Scott Edwards (SNCOPS), Tim Ross (WCSDA), Rick McCann (NAPSO) and Mike Giurlani (NSLEOA). We also have our legislative coalition, consisting of over 44 different association members, including SEIU, AFL-CIO, PFFN, CCFA, Teamsters, NSEA, AFSCME, NCA, NHPA, RPEN, WSPA, PPACE, PMSA and more.
With the 79th session behind us now, I would like to thank all of you who took the time to email the elected officials when I asked for your support. Our lobbying team can only do so much. The efforts of our officers helps seal the deal sometimes, so we can’t thank you enough. By the time this article goes to print, I will be back in Las Vegas, no longer enjoying the pleasant weather of Carson City. As always, feel free to contact me via email at email@example.com or cellphone at (702) 373-1006 with questions or concerns. Be safe out there!