Tensions mount as lawmakers face bill deadline day



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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada lawmakers are facing yet another legislative deadline that could seal the fate of several high-profile bills.

Most bills that are still in play have already passed out of the Assembly or Senate, depending on where they were introduced. The bills must pass from a committee in the other house by Friday to stay alive for the next three weeks of the legislative session.

Lawmakers can exempt some bills from the legislative deadline, but several hotly-debated measures could still be on the chopping block and could fall victims to political feuding. Here are highlights from the deadline rush:

DEAD AND GONE:

They may be members of the same party, but relationships between the Senate and Assembly Republicans are fraying, resulting in several bills dying in each other's committees as a result.

—Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Greg Brower didn't hold a vote on a measure allowing permit holders to bring concealed guns on college campuses, though Assembly Republicans revived the measure in another bill. Other gun bills died in his committee after passing the Assembly, including a bill that would allow Nevada to recognize more out-of-state concealed weapon permits, and one that bars people convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor from owning a gun.

—In turn, Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Ira Hansen didn't hold votes on Senate-backed measures allowing college campuses to ban tobacco and a Republican-backed bill that would strengthen equal-pay laws.

—Senators wanted to raise Nevada's minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $9 for workers who don't get employer-sponsored health insurance, but that element was removed from SB193 before the bill passed an Assembly committee. The rest of the bill changes the way overtime is calculated, allowing extra pay to kick in after 40 hours of work in a week and not just eight hours of work in a day.

—A measure to make the square dance Nevada's official dance died without a hearing or vote in the Senate Judiciary committee.

SURVIVORS:

—An Assembly committee passed a bill Friday aimed at saving the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System $1 billion every 10 years. Unlike other Republican-backed measures dealing with the pension plans, the state teacher's union and other major labor groups back SB406 and called it a reasonable reform. The bill would slightly reduce benefits to new recipients, prevent public workers from collecting benefits after certain felony convictions, and extend survivor benefits to relatives of five public employees who have died on duty in the past five years — including three Las Vegas police officers.

—The full Nevada Senate passed a proposal worth more than $600 million that would make several expiring "sunset" taxes permanent and raise the cigarette tax by $1 per pack. The measure is an essential part of Gov. Brian Sandoval's plan to raise or extend $1.1 billion in revenue over the next two years.

—A Democratic-backed measure to ban therapies aimed at turning gay young people straight is moving forward after sitting on the sidelines for weeks. The Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee voted on Friday to approve SB353, even though the bill is exempt from the deadline.

BACK TO LIFE:

—A proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the lieutenant governor and governor to run on a single ticket initially died Thursday in the Assembly Legislative Operations and Elections Committee. But the committee held an informal meeting on Friday, and Republican Assemblywoman Victoria Seaman changed her vote to bring the bill back to life.

—Another proposed constitutional amendment to create a Victim's Bill of Rights, SJR17, failed a committee vote on Thursday. It too was revived in an informal meeting on Friday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Riley Snyder
    Michelle Rindels

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