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After bill-deadline lull, things heating up again in Carson City

CARSON CITY – If the legislative session were like the baseball season, the week just ending would be like the big league’s All-Star Break.

Er, without a game.

Or much of a break, really.

But the week did see the slight pause – a slack tide a better analogy, perhaps – as bills passing in one chamber move to the other for consideration, and a few more die off for lack of support.

On Tuesday –Deadline Day for pending legislation to win passage in the house where it was originally introduced – Assembly and Senate lawmakers passed 143 bills but still got done before sunset. (For those looking for something to score, the Assembly passed 87 bills, the Senate 56.)

Other bills with fiscal impact were referred to financial committees, where they live to be debated another day. Of those 143 votes, 60 were unanimous and 21 on straight party line. (More than half of all floor votes taken so far this session have been unanimous.)

In all, lawmakers took nearly 500 actions on legislation Tuesday. Exactly four bills didn’t make the latest cut, after 284 failed to meet an earlier deadline.

There were no big bill defeats on Tuesday or other major surprises. Among dozens of pieces of legislation, the most significant bill to pass, on party lines in the Assembly, was a ban on “ghost guns,” so-called because their manufacture and sale, without serial numbers and in unassembled kits, makes them untraceable.

The next major deadline in the Legislature comes on May 14, when bills that were passed by the Assembly and Senate must move out of committee in the opposite house, or be considered dead for the remainder of the session. The Legislature’s final day comes on May 31.

Committee hearings return

There are still nearly 650 bills still in play, not counting the five big budget bills, which don’t come until late May. Committee meeting schedules for next week will look a little more full as lawmakers look to stay on track for the May 14 deadline.

Of the more notable hearings is a Ways and Means Committee hearing Monday for Assembly Bill 356, the one-time water banking bill that was morphed into a proposal from the Southern Nevada Water Authority to ban non-functional, decorative turf for most commercial properties by 2026, a move that the authority says will save 12 billion gallons of water annually.

The Senate Committee on Education will take up a pair of notable bills on Wednesday, Assembly Bills 88 and 254

Assembly Bill 88, from Assemblyman Howard Watts, D-Las Vegas, which would require school districts in the state to adopt policies that prohibit schools from using any name, logo, mascot or other type of identifier considered racially discriminatory and calls for a review of places in Nevada that have names that include a derogatory term.

And Assembly Bill 254, sponsored by former Nevada Wolf Pack running back and current Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, would allow student athletes to sign endorsement deals, be compensated for the use of their name, likeness or image and contract with an agent.

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee will also take up Assembly Joint Resolution 10, which would amend the state constitution to raise the minimum wage to $12 and allow the Legislature to pass further increases in the future. The resolution was passed in 2019, and if approved again this year will go before voters on the November 2022 ballot.

Carson City Journal is a weekly feature that summarizes the major events happening in the capital during the 2021 legislative session and provides a look at what’s coming next.

Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead contributed to this report. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

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