15th week of Nevada legislative session might be the one for tax bills

CARSON CITY — Now showing at the Nevada Legislature: Reruns, at least, that’s what’s on the marquee. As lawmakers enter the final month of the session, however, it’s the unadvertised sneak preview that everyone is waiting for.

In the meantime, it’s Round 2 for bills dealing with election laws, campaign finance and DNA testing.

Here are five things to know about the upcoming agenda as lawmakers enter their 15th week of session Monday:

the WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART

From Day One back in February, Democrats promised a top-to-bottom review of Nevada’s tax structure and a plan to tweak more revenues for education and other vital state services.

With only 30 days to go in the session, time is running short. Democratic leadership has said they were awaiting final revenue projections from the Economic Forum before putting the finishing touches on their tax plan. After its meeting Wednesday, the forum declared Nevada should have about $44 million more for the upcoming two-year budget cycle than the $5.8 billion it projected last fall.

Will Democrats introduce their tax plan?

Will Senate Republicans come out in writing with their intent to raise taxes on Nevada gold and silver miners?

Stay tuned. Now, about those reruns:

COOLING OFF a few former officials

Bills seeking to slow the revolving door and restrict the influence former legislators and public officers have on their former colleagues will be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.

Assembly Bill 77 deals with legislators. It would bar lawmakers from lobbying at the Legislature until after the next regular session after they leave office. An amendment added in the Assembly would allow legislators to lobby if it’s not the primary duty of their new job and if they are lobbying for their employer.

Assembly Bill 438 would impose a two-year cooling off period for local elected or appointed officials and members of the Nevada Board of Regents. Both measures were approved in the Assembly.

candidate residency law boundaries

The same Senate panel could vote Tuesday on a bill targeting shortfalls in the state’s candidate residency laws.

Assembly Bill 407 comes after a judge, on the eve of last year’s general election, ruled Andrew Martin didn’t actually live in the Assembly district he was running to represent.

Martin won the election and represents District 9 in Las Vegas.

Democratic Speaker Marilyn Kirk­patrick, D-North Las Vegas, and Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey, R-Reno, say both parties have pushed the boundaries of such laws in the past.

The intent of the bill, already approved by the Assembly, is to clarify that residency means where you hang your hat — or plug in your electric car, as in Martin’s case.

examining MUNIcipal ELECTIONS

The Senate voted to overhaul municipal elections in four cities. Now an Assembly panel will consider a bill changing the city charters of Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Henderson to require ward-only voting for city councils or boards of supervisors.

Backers of Senate Bill 457 say it’s about ensuring that people who live in a ward or district are able to choose their representative without outside influence.

Under the existing charters of Reno and Sparks, primary winners are chosen by voters in respective wards, but candidates run citywide in the general election. In Carson City and Henderson, both primary and general election ward contests are determined citywide.

The bill passed the Senate on a 14-7 vote. It will be heard Tuesday in the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.

scrutinizing BRIANNA’S LAW

A bill that would authorize the collection of DNA from people arrested on felony charges comes up for another debate this week. A different version of the bill died on the last day of the 2011 session. But Brianna’s Law is back, and after sailing through the Senate 21-0, it is headed for a hearing Thursday before the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Senate Bill 243 is named in honor of Brianna Denison, a 19-year-old college student kidnapped from a friend’s couch in Reno and found murdered in 2008.

Dennison’s family and backers of the bill believe she might be alive today if such a law existed in 2008 because her killer, James Biela, had a previous felony arrest.

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