Gov. Brian Sandoval is diligently working his way through the stack of bills passed by the Legislature before last week's adjournment, but he had yet to receive a couple of key, controversial measures as of Thursday afternoon.
Assembly Bill 416 might be the foulest piece of sausage to emerge from Carson City this year. The bill, passed in the session's final hour in sneaky fashion, allows NV Energy to come back later and shift to ratepayers the $1 billion cost of a transmission line which could be built without the prior approval of the Public Utilities Commission. The line would be built primarily to sell renewable power generated in rural Nevada to California to help our neighbor meet its steep "green" energy portfolio standard.
The plan was introduced as Senate Bill 488, but that legislation was killed by the Assembly because of the risk to ratepayers, who already must deal with ever-rising power bills. So Democratic senators sneaked the provision into AB416, a solar energy bill that already had passed the Assembly, minutes before session's end, without the sort of transparency such significant bills demand.
This is terrible legislation, an end-around that enables another end-around. Gov. Sandoval must veto AB416.
Assembly Bill 571, however, is a much-needed fix to bad public policy. The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act was approved by voters to protect children from secondhand tobacco smoke. Yet it was imposed on bars that serve food -- where children aren't allowed. As a result, the tavern industry has suffered a steep loss of business, costing hundreds of people their jobs.
AB571 is a common-sense solution, preserving most of the law but allowing smoking in bars that serve food but don't allow minors. Gov. Sandoval should sign AB571.