Legislative Wins in Honor of Native American Heritage Month
To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, we are sharing all the favorable outcomes of the 82nd Legislative Session.
As all our relatives become more engaged in civic matters, please know that the bill addressing “establishing various legislative interim committees that are created or authorized to conduct studies or investigations or perform other legislative business during the interim legislative sessions, and existing law provides for the appointment or designation of chairs and vice chairs of such interim committees as well as provisions that apply exclusively to such interim committees without applying to any session committees,” are now law.
AB 243 became a very detailed law that impacts legislative affairs; making various changes relating to legislative interim committees and presiding officers of those committees; revising provisions relating to Joint Interim Standing Committees; revising the deadline to submit an application to the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Education to serve on the Nevada State Teacher Recruitment and Retention Advisory Task Force; repealing the requirement that the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Health and Human Services review certain regulations; revising provisions relating to legislative committee members and staff regulated by the Nevada Lobbying Disclosure and Regulation Act and Nevada Financial Disclosure Act; and providing other matters properly.
Please note, Joint Committees include membership from both the Senate and the Assembly. Joint committees are usually established with narrow jurisdiction and meet in between sessions. In Nevada, the Legislative sessions are held every other year in odd-numbered years. They begin on the first Monday in February and are limited to 120 calendar days. With these time constraints, Joint Interim Standing Committees study issues in depth and make recommendations for upcoming sessions.
Under existing common-law principles of parliamentary law, the chair of a committee serves as the presiding officer of the committee and may take, direct, or require any necessary and reasonable actions to carry out the committee’s management, government, budget, meetings, and proceedings, subject to the laws and rules governing the committee. In addition, if a vacancy occurs in the position of chair, or if the chair is prohibited or disqualified from participating or acting on a particular matter for any reason or is absent, disabled or otherwise unavailable or unable to carry out the position for any reason, the vice chair of the committee serves as the acting chair, with all the powers, privileges and immunities of the position of chair, until the vacancy is filled or the chair is eligible, available or able to carry out the position again, as applicable. (Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure §§ 575-579, 608-611 (2020); Luther S. Cushing, Elements of the Law & Practice of Legislative Assemblies §§ 287, 308, 313, 314, 1910 (1856); Hicks v. Long Branch Comm’n, 55 A. 250, 250-51 (N.J. 1903)) To assist interim committees in conducting their legislative business consistently with existing common-law principles of parliamentary law, sections 4-6 of this bill codify those existing common-law principles into the statutory provisions that apply to interim committees. (Welfare Div. v. Maynard, 84 Nev. 525, 529 (1968) (“A statutory enactment can be simply a legislative pronouncement of already existing law.”); State Gaming Comm’n v. Southwest Sec., 108 Nev. 379, 383-84 (1992))
(1) establishes Joint Interim Standing Committees of the Legislature that may evaluate and review issues within the jurisdiction of the corresponding standing committees from the preceding regular session of the Legislature, exercise certain investigative powers and, under certain circumstances, conduct studies directed by the Legislature or the Legislative Commission
(2) provides for the appointment of regular members and alternate members to each Joint Interim Standing Committee; and
(3) requires the Legislative Commission to select a Chair and a Vice Chair for each Joint Interim Standing Committee. (NRS 218E.320, 218E.330)
Sections 8-10 of this bill clarify and revise various requirements governing the Joint Interim Standing Committees. Section 8 of this bill renames the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Natural Resources as the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Public Lands. Sections 1, 15-17, 43 and 47.5 of this bill make conforming changes. Section 8 additionally requires the appointing authorities to appoint the committee members for each Joint Interim Standing Committee, along with the Chairs and Vice Chairs, not later than August 31 following the adjournment of each regular session.
Section 8 also clarifies the length of the terms that the committee members and the Chairs and Vice Chairs serve while qualified.
Section 9 of this bill authorizes the Joint Interim Standing Committees to begin holding their meetings on September 1 after the adjournment of each regular session, instead of November 1 under existing law. Section 9 provides that if a regular member cannot attend a meeting of the Committee, an alternate member must be of the same political party as the regular member, and section 9 clarifies that, when acting in place of a regular member, an alternate member has all the powers, privileges, and immunities of a regular member.
Existing law requires that any recommended legislation proposed by a Joint Interim Standing Committee must be approved by a majority of the members of the Senate and a majority of the members of the Assembly serving on the Committee. (NRS 218E.325) Section 9 changes this requirement by providing that any recommended legislation proposed by a Committee must be approved by a vote in favor of such legislation by at least five members of the eight-member Committee, regardless of their House. Existing law requires the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections to evaluate and review issues relating to governmental purchasing. (NRS 218E.330)
Section 10 of this bill transfers such duties to the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Government Affairs.
Section 44 of this bill makes a conforming change to require that the biennial report on recommendations for legislation relating to government purchasing be submitted to the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Government Affairs.
Existing law creates the Subcommittee on Public Lands of the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Natural Resources and prescribes the Subcommittee’s powers and duties. (NRS 218E.500-218E.525, NRS 321.7355)
Sections 15-17, 43 and 51 of this bill eliminate the Subcommittee and transfer its powers and duties to the renamed Joint Interim Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Public Lands.
Section 16 of this bill requires the renamed Joint Interim Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Public Lands to hold at least three meetings during each legislative interim where the primary physical location of the meeting is located in a different county for each such meeting other than Clark County, Washoe County or Carson City. However, section 16 does not prohibit the use of authorized remote-technology systems for each such meeting, including when necessary to connect the primary physical location of the meeting to additional physical locations for the meeting in Clark County, Washoe County or Carson City.
Existing law creates:
(1) the Legislative Committee for the Review and Oversight of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Marlette Lake Water System; and
(2) the Legislative Committee on Senior Citizens, Veterans and Adults With Special Needs. (NRS 218E.550-218E.570, 218E.745-218E.760)
Sections 18 and 19 of this bill revise the membership, organization and operations of each Legislative Committee.
Existing law creates the Sunset Subcommittee of the Legislative Commission. (NRS 232B.210-232B.250)
Sections 33-40 of this bill:
(1) rename the Sunset Subcommittee as the Sunset Committee of the Legislature; and
(2) revise the membership, organization, and operations of the Sunset Committee.
Existing law authorizes Joint Interim Standing Committees and other interim committees to request the drafting of a certain number of legislative measures for each regular session. (NRS 218D.160) Section 1 of this bill revises the number of such requests that may be made by the Sunset Committee of the Legislature.
Existing law requires the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Health and Human Services to review certain regulations that are proposed or adopted by certain licensing boards and that are related to health care. (NRS 439B.225)
Section 51 of this bill repeals the requirement that the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Health and Human Services review such regulations.
Sections 41 and 42 of this bill make conforming changes to eliminate the requirement that such regulations be submitted to the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Health and Human Services.
Existing law requires a teacher who wishes to serve on the Nevada State Teacher Recruitment and Retention Advisory Task Force to submit an application to the Joint Interim Standing Committee on Education on or before January 15 of an even-numbered year. (NRS 391.494)
Section 46 of this bill moves the due date of the application from January 15 of an even-numbered year to December 1 of an odd-numbered year.
Existing law requires various reports, documents, and other information to be compiled by state or local governmental agencies and then reported to certain legislative committees or staff. (NRS 193.309, 209.192, 209.461, 209.4818, 332.215, 388.887, 449.242)
Sections 29-32, 44, 45 and 47 of this bill revise those reporting requirements.
Under existing law, the Nevada Lobbying Disclosure and Regulation Act (Lobbying Act) prohibits, with certain exceptions, Legislators, legislative officers and legislative staff members from knowingly or willfully soliciting or accepting any gift from a lobbyist, whether or not the Legislature is in a regular or special session. (NRS 218H.060, 218H.090, 218H.930)
Under existing exceptions to the gift prohibitions, if Legislators or members of their households receive anything of value from a lobbyist to undertake or attend any educational or informational meetings, events or trips, such meetings, events or trips are excluded from the term “gift” under the Lobbying Act, but the Legislators are required to report the educational or informational meetings, events or trips on their financial disclosure statements under the Nevada Financial Disclosure Act (Financial Disclosure Act). (NRS 218H.045, 218H.060, 281.5583, 281.571)
Sections 20-27 of this bill create exceptions for legislative committee investigative meetings, events, or trips.
Section 22 of this bill defines a “legislative committee investigative meeting, event or trip” to include any meetings, events or trips that the chair of a legislative committee authorizes as official meetings, events or trips of the committee in order for the members of the committee and legislative staff members to investigate or otherwise receive any education or information on matters that are pertinent to the committee’s legislative business or possible future legislative action.
Based on the exceptions in sections 24 and 26 of this bill, such legislative committee investigative meetings, events or trips are not required to be reported on financial disclosure statements under the Financial Disclosure Act. (NRS 281.5583, 281.5585)
Sections 24 and 26 also make the existing exceptions for educational or informational meetings, events or trips applicable to:
(1) legislative officers, such as the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the Assembly; and
(2) legislative staff members but only if such staff members have the approval of their chief administrative supervisors to undertake or attend educational or informational meetings, events, or trips. Because the Financial Disclosure Act applies to legislative officers, such as the Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the Assembly, and to certain senior staff members of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, such as the Director and the chiefs of the divisions, they are required to report the educational or informational meetings, events, or trips on financial disclosure statements. By contrast, if rank-and-file legislative staff members have the approval of their chief administrative supervisors to undertake or attend any educational or informational meetings, events or trips, they are not required to report the educational or informational meetings, events or trips on financial disclosure statements, unless they qualify as a public officer or candidate or a member of a public officer’s or candidate’s household for the purposes of the Financial Disclosure Act. (NRS 281.005, 281.558, 281.5583, 281.5587)
The NEVADA INDIAN COMMISSION (NIC) is a State agency created by statute in 1965 to “study matters affecting the social and economic welfare and well-being of American Indians residing in Nevada, including but not limited to matters and problems relating to Indian affairs and to federal and state control, responsibility, policy, and operations affecting such Indians.” Beginning on July 1, 2024, our agency will be known as the Department of Native American Affairs (DNA).
For more information about changes to the makeup of the Joint Interim Standing Committees, e.g., the Health and Human Services, Education, or Finance, or the changes to gift prohibitions for Nevada Legislators and certain staff, click here .