CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Tired Nevada lawmakers met all weekend,
overriding vetoes by Gov. Jim Gibbons, making last-minute deals and passing remaining bills as they drew closer to Monday, the final day of the 120-day-long 2009 session.
The deals included one endorsed Sunday by the Assembly to allow a partial rollback of a voter-approved ban on smoking in public places. Gambling and tourism industry lobbyists sought the change, after losing an effort to soften additional elements of the ban approved in 2006.
Also Sunday, the Senate signed off on a bill changing rules for qualifying questions for the ballot won Senate approval Sunday -
despite arguments by a lawmaker who said the plan was vaguely worded and could interfere with Nevadans' constitutional rights.
Veto overrides took up much of the lawmakers' time on Sunday, as several of the 41 bills rejected by Gibbons were revived.
The Assembly's decision to go along with Senate override votes on SB234, adding to fees charged by rental car firms, and SB415, dealing with public employee retirement benefits and government insurance premiums, brought the lawmakers' completed override total to six.
Many other vetoed bills were halfway through the override process, either in the Assembly or Senate, and it's anticipated that Gibbons will break the record for seeing his bill rejections countermanded by lawmakers by the time they adjourn on Monday.
The Republican governor already has the record for vetoes in one session, 41, which broke the old mark of 33 set by then-Gov. H.G. Blasdel shortly after Nevada became a state in 1864. Blasdel also
has held the record for overrides, with 10.
Besides the finalized overrides, the Assembly started the override process for five other measures on Sunday, and only one of the votes was close. AB410, an industrial insurance measure, got a bare 28-14, or two-thirds, majority vote. All 14 Assembly Republicans opposed the override.
The governor's veto of AB22, which spells out the way in which civil and criminal penalties can be imposed for deceptive trade practices, was rejected on a unanimous Assembly vote. So was his veto of AB493, a plan to track investments by the state Public Employees' Retirement System into Iran's oil-energy industry.
The Assembly voted 31-11 to reject the governor's veto of AB135, which requires the state treasurer to review and the state Finance Board to approve certain state financial; and 34-8 to override his veto of AB446, requiring state agencies to establish "benchmarks" to measure their success and efficiency over time, and publish their results on a Web site.
Also Sunday, the Assembly voted 35-7 to approve SB412, which changes the salary structure in the state Agency for Nuclear Projects which is fighting federal plans for a radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain, so that staffers' pay would be set by lawmakers.
Also, the Senate accepted a conference report on AB60, which
requires state or local health authorities to determine whether a
building previously used to manufacture methamphetamine is safe for
The Assembly also gave final approval to AB521, which expands health care coverage for full-time, salaried firefighters exposed to carcinogens on the job; and voted to remove from SB263 an Assembly amendment to require Reno city council members to be elected from within their wards rather than at large.