Legislators make cuts to travel budget

CARSON CITY — Legislators agreed Tuesday to end most out-of-state travel in a move to reduce their budget by $1 million.

Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, said $4 million more still needs to be cut from their $34 million budget to meet the 14 percent reduction target set by Gov. Jim Gibbons.

As an independent branch of government, the Legislature does not have to make any reductions.

However, the Legislature and the state Supreme Court, which represents the judiciary and is another co-equal branch of government, traditionally cut their budgets in line with reductions made by general state government.

“This will not be the last time we deal with this, unfortunately,” said Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno.

Gibbons and legislators meet Thursday to discuss how to reduce state spending by another $358 million because of falling tax revenues. The state constitution requires balanced budgets.

Legislators now are allowed to take three out-of-state trips a year at state expense. They typically attend meetings at the National Conference of State Legislatures or the Council of State Governments.

Without any opposition, members of the special legislative committee agreed to reduce these trips to one a year.

They also decided to prevent the Legislature’s Public Lands Committee from meeting in rural Nevada or taking trips to Washington, D.C.

Malkiewich also said he would not include dues payments for the National Conference of State Legislatures or other legislative associations in the legislative budget.

Malkiewich added that legislators so far have requested 671 bills for introduction at the 2009 session that begins Feb. 2. That is 100 fewer bills than at the same time two years ago.


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