The 2007 Nevada Legislature opens Monday with the first woman Assembly speaker in state history, Democrats in control of the Assembly and Republicans running the Senate.
The session also opens with a record 6.8 billion dollar budget proposed by new GOP Governor Gibbons - and four months to deal with the spending plan and hundreds of measures.
Democrats have a 27-15 voting edge in the Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Barbara Buckley of Las Vegas; while Republicans led by longtime Majority Leader Bill Raggio of Reno have a bare 11-10 edge in the state Senate.
Opening-day formalities, including swearing-in ceremonies for new or re-elected lawmakers and Buckley's election as speaker, along with a dinner for lawmakers hosted by Gibbons at the governor's mansion, are the main events for tomorrow. But there's no shortage of committee hearings on many issues later in the week.
About 100 bills were filed in advance of the Legislature's start, enabling lawmakers to immediately begin hearings on some measures. Hundreds of other proposals are being drafted. All work must be completed by June fourth, the session's scheduled adjournment date.
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans a hearing on due process issues. The panel will hear from representatives of the state Ethics Commission, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association and other groups.
Also Tuesday, Assembly Ways and Means will go over details of the budget for the governor's office and the governor's mansion. Senate Finance will look at budgets for the Ethics Commission, Public Utilities Commission, Agency for Nuclear Projects and the lieutenant governor's office.
Other committee meetings include Assembly Judiciary, which will get reports on criminal law issues and the state's criminal history records repository; and Senate Legislative Operations and Elections, which will review various election law issues.
On Wednesday, a joint Assembly-Senate budget hearing will review
Gibbons' spending plan for the coming two fiscal years. The money
committees in both houses also held hearings in the two weeks preceding the session to get a head start on the budget.
Also Wednesday, Assembly Judiciary will review the state's prison and parole-probation systems; and Senate Judiciary will discuss medical malpractice issues.