CARSON CITY -- Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons can claim few victories from the 2009 Legislature but that's mainly because the process was "poisoned" by the lawmakers' Democratic leaders, a spokesman for the governor said Tuesday.
Dan Burns added that Gibbons was disappointed by the $781 million tax increase plan and $6.8 billion two-year budget approved by lawmakers over his vetoes, but added the tax increase "would have been even larger had he not been very vocal and adamant" in opposing it.
Burns also said Gibbons succeeded in getting key renewable energy plans approved. Those proposals, including Senate Bill 395, which barely won approval, were part of a joint effort involving both Gibbons' staff and legislators.
Many GOP lawmakers signed onto some of the record 25 veto overrides of the record 41 vetoes by Gibbons, but Burns said that doesn't show there was a disconnect between the governor and those lawmakers or that he was disengaged from the Legislature.
"If we didn't have so many bad bills sent over, we wouldn't have had so many vetoes," Burns said, adding that Gibbons wasn't rejecting measures out of spite and "stood up for what he believed in."
Burns also said Gibbons tried to work with legislative leaders early on, but the process was "poisoned from the beginning by (Assembly Speaker) Barbara Buckley and (Senate Majority Leader) Steven Horsford."
The lawmakers' final action on bills was the Senate's approval of SB395, the alternative energy plan sought by Gibbons.
Lawmakers also approved Senate Bill 269, which allows immediate license suspensions of medical professionals convicted of felonies. The measure is a response to a hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas caused by shoddy injection practices.
Among the measures shelved in the final hours of the session was Senate Bill 52, a bill to bring the state into line with terms of the federal Real ID Act. Critics said there was potential for "Orwellian" intrusions into Nevadans' privacy. Also lost in the last-minute shuffle was a plan to prohibit Nevada motorists from text-messaging on cell phones while driving.
Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, told fellow senators that the 2009 Legislature didn't fix "all the problems. But I am here to tell you that we have kept the fabric of this state together."
"Just look at this session," said Buckley, D-Las Vegas. "We were faced with a challenge never before faced by our state."