Deadline Day at the Legislature: Hectic, But On Schedule

CARSON CITY, NV - Nevada's 120-day legislative calendar contains several deadlines, but for individual lawmakers Mon day was the one you miss at your peril.

If your bill isn't introduced by the end of the day, it's dead. And so, there was a last minute rush, a literal marathon as Chief Clerk of the Assembly Susan Furlong sped through a long list of bills getting their first official mention before the full body.

Furlong says it's not speed reading, but it does have its demands.

"You have to learn how to breathe," she says, "but if you get nervous and forget to breathe, you're in trouble."

She does this sort of thing all the time, but today's performance earned her an appreciative ovation from the lawmakers. Unusual? Yes.

"But it's nice to be appreciated."

In all 53 bills were introduced in the morning session, dealing with everything from sage grouse conservation to medical marijuana and driving to human trafficking.

And with the 5 o'clock deadline still hours away, a similar number and variety were expected before the day is out.

It was much the same down the hall in the Senate.

It may seem as if the lawmakers are playing catch up, but the leadership in both parties say things are on track.

"I think we're plugging along," says Assembly Assistant Majority Leader James Frierson. "As long as I've been involved in the process, deadline day is hectic and this session is no different."

Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey agrees. "We're doing fine. Every legislator that submitted a bill will have it back to him by the end of the day."

There had been complaints bills have been slow in emerging from the legislative counsel bureau staff, but those complaints are hardly new to this session as anxious legislators always seem to be waiting for bills as the deadline approaches.

Some were also concerned the distraction of the legal battle over troubled Assemblyman Steven Brooks' status has held things up.

"It's caused the legal folks here to have to work overtime to catch up with the main order of business, our bills," says Hickey, "but they've done that. They've worked overtime plus and we're getting our bills on time."

The lawmaker had until 5 to get their bills in. The Assembly went back into session at 5:45 to take up those last minute pieces of legislation.

"I hope my tongue is just as fast," says the fast talking Susan Furlong.

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