More than five dozen bills and resolutions from the Nevada Legislature are taking a detour through Hawaii on their way to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office in the capitol building in Carson City.
That’s because the official versions of the legislation still need a signature from Assembly Speaker John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, before they can be sent to Sandoval.
But Oceguera took off for vacation in Hawaii and won’t be back in Nevada in time to sign off on the documents ahead of a Friday deadline for Sandoval to sign or veto bills.
Among the bills the Legislative Counsel Bureau boxed up for an overnight trip to Hawaii were Assembly Bill 561, a controversial measure to extend the shelf life of about $620 million in taxes needed to fund state government for the next two years, and Assembly Bill 571, which would let taverns that allow customers to smoke cigarettes to also serve food.
Sandoval has unofficial versions of the bills for review, but in order for the bills to become law the governor needs to sign the official versions, said Lorne Malkiewich, director of the Legislative Counsel Bureau.
Before they can get to Sandoval, however, several legislative officers need to put signatures on the documents before they can go to the governor. They include the President of the Senate, Secretary of the Senate, Chief Clerk of the Assembly and the Speaker of the Assembly.
Oceguera signed off on several dozen bills in the hours and days after 1 a.m. June 7 when the 120-day legislative session concluded.
But Malkiewich said the Legislative Counsel Bureau failed to provide Oceguera with all the bills that needed a signature before he left for his trip.
"I should have made sure the speaker had signed all the bills to him before he left and I didn’t," Malkiewich said.
Dale Erquiaga, senior policy adviser to Sandoval, said the governor will review the drafts and as long as the bills arrive at his office by mid-week should have no problem signing them into law in time to beat the deadline.
"That is not ideal for this office’s scheduling but we are going to make it work," Erquiaga said.