CARSON CITY — They only missed the deadline by 35 years, but Nevada lawmakers made history last week with approval of the Equal Rights Amendment, taking action nearly a half-century after Congress sent it to states for ratification.
Legislators also faced, and met, a more pressing deadline they couldn’t shun — a time constraint for individual lawmakers to introduce their pet legislation.
And Gov. Brian Sandoval issued his first veto of the session — one of what could be many as the weeks unfold.
Here’s a look at the week that was in the Nevada Legislature:
The state Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment when it concurred with minor tweaks made in the Assembly. With passage of Senate Joint Resolution 2, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the amendment to the U.S. Constitution, though the measure remains two states short of what’s needed.
The Senate action came 45 years to the day since Congress first approved the ERA in 1972, and 35 years after the extended deadline of 1982. The tardiness didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of ERA advocates, who broke out into applause when the Senate approved it on a voice vote.
Monday was a long day for lawmakers as they faced a procedural deadline to introduce their own bills. Nearly 200 measures were introduced in waves and referred to committees.
More than 800 bills have been introduced so far this session. Many will die with nary a hearing.
Motor voter veto
Sandoval on Tuesday vetoed a citizen initiative to automatically sign up people to vote when they get a driver’s license. Supporters of the Automatic Voter Registration Initiative collected enough signatures last year to send the matter to legislators, who passed it along party lines.
The initiative would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to forward to the secretary of state information for voter registration applications when someone applies for or renews a driver’s license or identification card, or makes a change of address.
In his veto message, the Republican governor said that the initiative “extinguishes” a fundamental right of choice, and that residents should decide for themselves if they want to register to vote.
He also said the measure would increase “the possibility of improper registration.”
Sandoval’s veto means it will not be in effect for the 2018 elections. But voters will have the final say when it appears on next year’s general election ballot.