106°F
weather icon Clear

Nevada Senate passes amended PERS secrecy bill

CARSON CITY — The Senate and Assembly worked late into the evening Monday ahead of a Tuesday deadline for bill passage, with senators narrowly approving new confidentiality requirements around public employee retirement records among two dozen Senate bills passed.

The closest vote of the day came on Senate Bill 224, which would shield the names of retired public employees, though it would still allow other pension information to be released. The bill passed 11-10 with two Democrats joining all eight Republicans to oppose it.

Advocates say public employees, amid concerns regarding potential identity theft and privacy, should not be required to have their full retirement record open to the public. Opponents maintain that the level of transparency does not put retirees at risk and is necessary to guard against excessive or improper pension awards.

The bill was amended on the Senate floor late Friday to limit its scope to retirement records only, not all public employee records. Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said he opposed the measure on grounds that the benefits are taxpayer funded.

“The people who are paying those funds have the right to know the name and the amount,” he said. “I believe the public does have the right to know who it is and how much they are benefiting.”

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop, both Las Vegas Democrats, joined Republicans in voting no.

“I didn’t vote for it last session and I didn’t vote for it this session,” Cannizzaro said. “Obviously I think that information is important.”

The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 185, sponsored by Sen. Heidi Gansert, R-Reno, which aims to fix a 2017 law that required fingerprinting and background checks for school volunteers. The earlier bill had the unintended effect of discouraging school volunteerism. The changes exempts certain groups from the requirements.

Senators voted 15-6 on Senate Bill 354, which would make changes to the state Higher Education Board of Regents if a pending constitutional amendment passes the Legislature this year and voters approve the change next year. Republican Sens. Scott Hammond of Las Vegas and Ben Kieckhefer of Reno voted with Senate Democrats.

The bill would reduce the number of regents from the current 13 down to nine, and would shorten regents’ terms from six years to four. It also calls for five of the nine members to be elected, and four appointed by the governor. (An amendment to eliminate the appointment of some members was not adopted before the bill passed the Senate.)

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
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)
THE LATEST
Sisolak signs public records reform bill into law

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill that strengthens Nevada’s public records law, making it easier and cheaper for people to get public records and providing for fines if public agencies willfully flout the law.