Four Weeks Left for 2007 Nevada Legislature

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

With just four weeks left in the 2007 legislative session, state lawmakers will get a report tomorrow showing more cuts are needed in the nearly seven billion dollar budget they're working on - but the reductions may not be as bad as they had initially feared.

Revenue projections made by the state Economic Forum indicate the need for additional cuts beyond the 112 (m) million dollars in reductions already outlined by Governor Gibbons.

But a follow-up Taxation Department analysis shows that the money the state is required by law to provide to local schools, to offset any shortfalls in local sales or property taxes, is closer to 48 million dollars instead of an earlier estimate of nearly 75 million dollars.

While the lower figure helps budget-drafters, there's still uncertainty over a bill approved by lawmakers to erase big tax breaks for "green" construction projects. If the bill, which Gibbons has said he may veto, is interpreted broadly, the state funds going to the schools would have to increase - and the state's revenue shortfall would climb.

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Besides the revenue update, lawmakers have a busy hearing schedule tomorrow, including an Assembly Ways and Means session on bill appropriating 170 (m) million dollars for Interstate 15 improvements in Las Vegas.

The Assembly may take a final vote on a proposed constitutional
amendment that would create an appeals court between the state's
district courts and the Supreme Court - a move twice rejected by
Nevada voters. If approved, the proposal must come back to lawmakers in 2009 for another round of approvals before going to a
public vote in 2010.

Assembly Commerce and Labor considers a bill that would ban
performers from faking connections to recording legends from years past. Former members of the Supremes, the Platters and Sha Na Na
who showed up at a hearing in March to press for approval of the
bill.

The committee also considers legislation forcing insurance companies to cover costs of a new cervical cancer vaccine. Senate Government Affairs reviews a measure calling for the replacement of the state Public Works Board; while Assembly Education discusses a bill that would give parents in some schools report cards on their own involvement in the education of their children.

Senate Human Resources and Education considers bills aimed at
increasing oversight of the state's shelter system. They include a bill prohibiting placement of children under six years old in group shelters.

Also being discussed by the committee is legislation making some
improvements in reporting by child welfare agencies when a child in
state custody dies or nearly dies due to abuse or neglect.

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On Tuesday, several energy-related bills are on the Senate Commerce and Labor agenda, including one adding geothermal energy to a list of renewable energy resources that qualify for state incentives; and another requiring Nevada utilities to prove they acted "prudently" in purchasing fuel before passing those costs on to consumers.

Senate Judiciary discusses several measures, including one that would add swords, axes, hatchets, machetes, or other deadly weapons to the items that are prohibited on school campuses.

Assembly Ways and Means reviews legislation that would boost
health care coverage for low-income pregnant women and children,
and expand a subsidy program for employees of small businesses to
help the workers buy health insurance policies.

Senate Legislative Operations and Elections reviews a bill updating laws against a public official's use of state equipment or personnel for campaign activity.

Assembly Elections, Procedures, Ethics and Constitutional Amendments discusses a measure requiring that candidates for public office, when filing periodic finance reports, disclose information for the full calendar year immediately preceding the deadline for those reports.

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On Wednesday, Assembly Judiciary considers a proposal to validate concealed weapon permits from other states, as long as those states subscribe to a 24-hour database that allows law enforcement to check the names of permit-holders.

Senate Government Affairs debates legislation limiting the ability to hold closed meetings. The measure is a response to a 2005 closed-door vote by the state Tax Commission to grant a 40 million dollar tax refund to Southern California Edison.

Senate Judiciary reviews a proposal to limit the authority of Nevada judges to seal lawsuits from public view.

Assembly Natural Resources, Agriculture and Mining takes up a
measure making it a misdemeanor to leave a cat or dog unattended in
an extremely hot or cold car.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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