CARSON CITY — When it comes to national politics, forget political pollsters — Nevada sports books may be where the heavy action is for bettors looking to cash in by predicting elections outcomes.
Also, dogs, budgets and English language learner programs will be key topics as Nevada lawmakers begin their ninth week Monday and near the midday point and elimination of pay for the remainder of the session.
Here are five things to know about the legislative agenda for the upcoming week:
Nevada oddsmakers would get in the mix of federal politics under a bill expected to be considered Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Senate Bill 418 would allow sports-pool-style wagering on elections for president, U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
Judiciary Chairman Tick Segerblom said such pari-mutuel betting could be a boon for state gambling revenues.
The Las Vegas Democrat added that other countries allow wagers on elections, and it’s time Nevada starts thinking “outside the box.”
GOING TO THE DOGS
There were yips and howls in the Senate chambers when Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, introduced a bill to make the blue Weimaraner Nevada’s official state dog.
More barks and growls are expected Monday, when Kieckhefer presents Senate Bill 255 to the Senate Government Affairs Committee.
Kieckhefer said the bill stems from a letter he received from a 9-year-old Reno boy, asking to make the long-legged, droopy-earned, sharp-nosed hunting dog Nevada’s official state canine. The youngster even included a petition signed by his classmates.
The senator, who owns a pug and lab, said he made no promises the bill would pass. Beagle, border collie and mutt lovers might object.
CLOSING THE BOOKS
Tuesday marks the beginning of the end in the budget process. Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees will begin closing budgets for upcoming biennium.
They will start with small budget accounts, gradually working their way up to the big ones like education and health and human services.
Ways and Means and Senate Finance will each set their own spending plans for agencies. They will then meet jointly later in the session to reconcile any differences.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS
Enhancing programs for English language learners will be a hot topic Wednesday in the Senate Education Committee, which will consider three bills on the issue.
Senate Bill 291, sponsored by Republican Sen. Michael Roberson of Las Vegas, seeks $40 million to expand early education programs for English language learners in Clark County.
Another bill, Senate Bill 455 proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, would create a pilot program for school districts to apply for grants to expand English language programs.
And Senate Bill 504 would, among other things, require teachers at schools where more than 25 percent of students have limited English skills to be endorsed to teach English as a second language.