weather icon Partly Cloudy

Here are the winners, losers of the 2017 Nevada Legislature session

Updated June 10, 2017 - 5:27 pm


For months, lawmakers engaged in a political battle that came down to the final hours of the Nevada Legislature. And now, days since sine die, the 2017 session is over and a handful winners and losers stand out.

Of course, the biggest fight was over Education Savings Accounts, which would have allowed parents to use public school money to send their children to private schools. But there were plenty of other issues during the 2017 session: state parks, criminal justice, labor and equality and the emerging recreational marijuana industry were among the many topics of the 120-day session.

Whether the proposal sailed through the Legislature quickly or was part of a protracted battle, Gov. Brian Sandoval has noted that the Legislature did plenty of work besides fight over ESAs, which failed.

“This is a session that I didn’t get everything I wanted specifically ESAs, but other than that, if you look at the State of the State, we were able to accomplish everything else,” Sandoval told reporters.

Here are some of the winners and losers from the 2017 session of the Nevada Legislature.


Reformed felons: Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford made justice reform measures a priority. Bills passed included legislation to restore a felons’ voting rights and serve on jury duty in civil trials.

State parks: Nevada will add two state parks: the Walker River State Recreation Area in Lyon County and Tule Springs State Park in North Las Vegas. And, fifth-graders get free annual passes to state parks.

Gov. Brian Sandoval: Save for the big priority (see losers), the Republican got pretty much everything he outlined in his final State of the State speech: a new cyber-defense office, two state parks and money for a veterans home and an engineering school at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Women: Women won time and again. Lawmakers approved a measure pushed by Sens. Yvanna Cancela and Joyce Woodhouse that will let voters decide in 2018 if female hygiene items should be exempt from sales tax. Other measures include access to a 12-month supply of contraceptives and provisions for nursing mothers in the workplace.

Marijuana industry: Whether you’re a hippie who’s been toking up the 1960s or looking to light up for the first time, marijuana will soon be available in retail dispensaries throughout Nevada. Several measures made it through the session, including one officials hope brings a windfall to the state budget — a 10 percent tax on retail pot sales.

Veterans and military members: The Legislature passed more than a dozen veterans-related bills, ranging from finances to medical treatment, but the big win is the $33 million approved to build a veterans home in northern Nevada.

Losers of the 2017 session

ESAs: To be sure, Education Savings Accounts were the biggest losers of the session. The proposal, which began at $60 million, would have allowed parents to use their child’s public school funding for private school tuition. But Democrats refused pared down the proposal to $45 million, then eliminated the money altogether.

Death penalty opponents: Nevada hasn’t carried out an execution since 2006, but it is an option. A bill that would have banned the death penalty, including for the 82 inmates on death row, failed to make headway in the Legislature after an emotional committee hearing with testimony from both sides.

The taxi industry: A bill supported by the taxicab industry would have required Uber and Lyft drivers to purchase much more insurance than they currently do, among other requirements. The bill sparked claims that Assemblyman Richard Carrillo was paid off by the taxi industry and generated much debate but ultimately fizzled.

North Las Vegas Constable Robert Eliason: The bill from Sen. Mo Denis would have let Eliason stay in office without the certification he has been required to have for more than two years. The measure would have had many twists and turns, including amendments to exempt and include North Las Vegas in the law, but the measure died.

Younger gamblers: Sorry, kids. You still have to wait until you’re 21 to legally gamble in the Silver State. A bill would have dropped the legal gambling age to 18, based on the premise that 18-year-olds can serve their country in the military. The bill died.

Sen. Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas: Manendo, accused of sexual harassment involving lobbyists, lost a leadership position and was admonished on the Senate floor by Majority Leader Aaron Ford, who said Manendo “has developed a reputation of harassing and intimidating young women.”

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

Reporters Sean Whaley and Scott Davidson contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Lawsuit challenges Nevada’s new diabetes drug disclosure law

Two pharmaceutical groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of a bill passed by the 2017 Nevada Legislature requiring disclosure of the pricing of diabetes drugs.

Nevada Legislature approves final payment for ESA software

The final action on Nevada’s controversial private school choice program came Thursday when the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee approved $105,000 to pay off the remaining costs incurred by a vendor who was working on the development of software to implement the program.

Recall targets a third Nevada senator

A third recall petition against a female Nevada state senator was filed Wednesday.

Federal government approves Nevada’s education plan

Nevada is among four states to get U.S. Education Department approval of its plan as required under a new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA.