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What partisanship? Majority of legislative votes unanimous

Updated April 22, 2021 - 12:37 pm

CARSON CITY — Given the sharp partisanship of the times, one could be forgiven for thinking that every bill in the Legislature pits Democrats against Republicans in pitched principled battle.

But the breakdown on votes in the Legislature this session tells a different story. Here’s a look:

Through Tuesday, the latest legislative deadline for movement of bills, lawmakers have taken more than 6,000 actions on 935 pieces of legislation. Those actions include bill readings, referrals to and from committees, amendments and votes.

There have been a combined 404 floor votes in both houses on 390 pieces of legislation through the Tuesday deadline for bills to pass the house where they originated — 222 Assembly bills and 168 Senate bills. Eleven Assembly bills and three Senate bills have been voted on in both houses. (The governor has signed seven bills, the latest one Wednesday.)

Here’s how those 404 floor votes broke down in the two houses. Democrats control both chambers, 26-16 in the Assembly and 12-9 in the Senate. As usual, despite occasionally boisterous partisan posturing, a majority or plurality of bills pass unanimously.

All in favor: There have been 105 unanimous Assembly votes (including votes where one or two members were absent) and 121 unanimous Senate votes (again, with some absences). Combined, that means nearly 56 percent of floor votes taken have been unanimous. By individual house, the Assembly has voted unanimously about 47 percent of the time (105 of 224 votes) and the Senate more than more than 67 percent of the time (121 of 180 votes).

Partisan splits: In the Assembly, there have been 31 straight party-line votes, a little less than 14 percent of the total. The Senate has had 15 straight party-line votes, or about 8 percent. Add in near-partisan votes of plus or minus one either way and the numbers go to 16 percent in the Assembly and 11 percent in the Senate. Overall for both houses, party-line votes have occurred 46 times, or 11.8 percent.

Close votes: There haven’t been many in either house. The closest margin in the Assembly was four votes, 23-19, on Assembly Bill 245, involving fees for notaries. It came up for a vote Tuesday.

Because it was a bill dealing with revenues, AB 245 needed a two-thirds supermajority to pass and initially went down to defeat. But it was brought back for reconsideration the same day and passed 31-11. The close first vote included one likely yes vote who switched to no in a parliamentary maneuver that allows a lawmaker on the prevailing side to bring the bill back for reconsideration. So, the closeness of the first vote might be a little suspect.

In the Senate, no votes were closer than the 12-9 partisan split, and there were 15 of those.

Votes that lost: Besides AB 245, which came back to pass on the second try, only one other bill that made it to the floor lost a vote, and that was another revenue-raising bill that needed a two-thirds majority to pass. It also came back to pass on the second try: Assembly Bill 123, raising the fee for special Vegas Golden Knights license plates, failed the first time on March 19, 24-16, but passed on Tuesday, deadline day, 30-12.

Blame Raiders fans, maybe.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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