UPDATE: The Nevada Legislature completed a special session in less than the four hours ordered by Gov. Joe Lombardo, approving Assembly Bill 1 to finish the state budget Tuesday night. One Republican — Scott Hammond — joined Democrats in backing the bill in the Senate, and three Republicans supported the bill in the Assembly — P.K. O’Neill, Danielle Gallant and Rich DeLong. Republicans in the Senate narrowly missed blocking passage again, but Hammond’s vote provided the 14-7 margin needed (two-thirds majority) to pass the bill and send it to Lombardo.
Shortly after the Legislature ended, Lombardo ordered a second special session to convene at 10 a.m. Wednesday to consider a bill providing funds for the construction of the A’s stadium on the Las Vegas Strip. Original story appears below.
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The budget ended up as the sticking point as lawmakers adjourned Tuesday morning — past their legal deadline — without a complete spending plan delivered to Gov. Joe Lombardo.
Assembly Bill 521 (AB521), a capital improvements bill, was up for a vote, but Republican Minority Leader Heidi Seevers Gansert announced that changes to the bill were not good enough. She said Republicans would vote the bill down.
Gov. Joe Lombardo has 10 days to set the date for a special session to complete the work on the budget — and whatever else he might include on the to-do list.
As observers waited to see if the A’s baseball stadium or a package of tax breaks to lure movie studios to the Las Vegas valley would come up for a vote, it was money that spelled the end. Those two highly anticipated bills never came out of committee as sine die arrived — the constitutionally mandated end of the 120-day Nevada Legislature’s 82nd session. The Senate adjourned just before 12:20 a.m. Tuesday when Lt. Gov. Stavros Anthony brought down his gavel.
Seevers Gansert criticized the Democrats for failing to meet the standard of a fiscally responsible budget. “The irony is we’ve seen more pork bills, and there’s more bacon and lard packed in those bills than you can find in a Farmer John packing plant,” she said.
Seevers Gansert said Republican priorities have been met with disregard, disdain and dismissal.
“Tonight, Senate Republicans blocked hundreds of millions of dollars of investments in public services, infrastructure, and job creation,” Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro said. “This budget bill would have invested in our retired and disabled veterans, in people who are desperately seeking mental health treatment, and in better health care and public safety facilities. Republicans instead chose politics, wasting time and taxpayer dollars to relitigate partisan disputes instead of working with us in the best interests of Nevadans. It’s disappointing, but we won’t back down from fighting for ordinary people who deserve a state government that works for them.”
As the end of the 120-day session neared, the gears ground to a halt. Gov. Joe Lombardo stood firm on his demand that the Legislature attend to his five priorities:
- Fiscally responsible budget
- School safety
- School choice and accountability
- Government efficiency
- Crime reduction
To make his point, he vetoed an important budget bill (AB520) on June 1. That bill had to be recreated, coming back as SB511. It looked like a standoff, possibly triggered by comments that the Senate Education Committee didn’t have time time to give Lombardo’s school safety bill a hearing.
At about the same time, new bills were emerging — or at least anticipated.
A bill to facilitate funding for a baseball stadium on the Las Vegas Strip — future home to the Athletics as they work out their move from Oakland — and a record package of tax breaks meant to lure Hollywood moviemakers had the attention of many of the state’s power brokers.