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Busy week ahead as Nevada Legislature’s next deadline nears

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Legislature is hitting the final stretch of the 120-day lawmaking session, which means it’s time for marathon committee meetings, more amendments — and even the session’s first emergency bill.

Assembly Minority Leader Jim Wheeler, R-Gardnerville, said Friday that he expects to introduce a bill early this week that would require legislative audits of all 17 school districts in the state and would create a separate account in the state education budget that could only be used to pay teachers’ salaries.

The bill is one of Wheeler’s three allotted emergency bills — which aren’t subject to any of the usual deadlines.

Wheeler said the proposal for the new account within the state’s education budget would ensure any state money that is supposed to go to teachers can only be used for that purpose and not for other education initiatives like class size reduction.

“Everything that goes into that account is strictly for teachers’ salaries,” Wheeler said.

But with Republicans a superminority in the Assembly and Democrats controlling the Senate and governor’s mansion, Wheeler was anything but confident about the bill’s chances of moving forward in the final three weeks of the session.

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said when asked if he thought it would get a hearing. “I think the teachers will be up in arms if it doesn’t get a hearing.”

Wheeler said he is still making minor language tweaks to the bill, but he expects it to be introduced in the Assembly early this week.

Friday marks the deadline for second committee passage for the remaining bills, so the week will be filled with bill hearings and hundreds of work session votes to ensure most bills live on.

Here’s some of what’s on tap going into this week:

Monday

Gov. Steve Sisolak’s first policy bill to be introduced, Senate Bill 538, will get a hearing in the Senate Government Affairs Committee Monday. It would create the Office of New Americans, one of Sisolak’s promised pieces of legislation that he has described as helping immigrants better navigate the system and services available to them.

The Assembly Health and Human Services Committee will hear a proposal by Sen. Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas, to increase the transparency of asthma drug pricing in Nevada. That proposal, Senate Bill 262, builds on Cancela’s 2017 legislation aimed at increasing the transparency of insulin drug prices.

Tuesday

The bill that would decriminalize most minor traffic infractions, Assembly Bill 411, will get a hearing in the Senate Growth and Infrastructure Committee. AB411 would turn most minor traffic violations like simple speeding, broken taillights and driving without a license into civil infractions rather than criminal misdemeanors.

Wednesday

The Assembly Government Affairs Committee will vote on Senate Bill 103, which would allow local governments to waive certain fees to help reduce the costs of affordable housing projects. They’ll also vote on Senate Bill 127, which would increase the Clark County Commission from seven to nine members.

In the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee, lawmakers will hear Assembly Joint Resolution 2, which would amend the state constitution to recognize gay marriage.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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