2019 Legislative Updates and Online Bill Tracker

Bookmark this page, and keep checking back each week for a list of what has changed on Nevada Policy’s Legislative Bill Tracker! Click the image below to view the online bill tracker live.

Legislative update for March 20, 2019

Monday and Tuesday were extremely busy days in Carson City, with an avalanche of bills being introduced. We’ve added many of those bills to our Online Bill Tracker, but here are a few recent additions that Nevadans need to be watching carefully:

Bill | Description | Analysis

Taxpayer Friendly?

SB287 — Strengthens Nevada’s Public Records Act | Requires agencies to assist requester in finding information responsive to the purpose of the request, and limit production fees to the direct cost of duplication, excluding staff time. Most importantly, this measure would ensure the law is followed by treating it the same as every other law on the books, by simply adding a penalty for those who violate it. (Learn more about the broad bipartisan coalition supporting this important measure by clicking here.)

Yes

SB351 — Would maintain the current funding for Opportunity Scholarships, and expand the program to give more educational options to more students | Maintains current funding levels for Nevada’s only school-choice program, which caters to low-income students. Also, this bill expands the types of tax credits which can be used to finance these scholarships to include Insurance Premium Taxes, while waiving income-related requirements for special-education students and families.

Note: Read Nevada Policy’s comments on this bill by clicking here.

Yes

SB305 — Revises provisions relating to taxation; authorizes process through which counties can impose their own gross-receipts “commerce” taxes | Gross-receipts taxes imposed at any level of government are horrible policy, due to their tendency to increase consumer prices sharply through “tax pyramiding” (read more here). Nevada governments have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

No

SB337 — Adopts a majority-of-the-votes-cast standard for determining the winner of certain elections conducted by the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board | Represents a massive power-grab by local-gov’t unions. This bill would mean a union could forcibly represent 10,000 workers, even if a mere fraction of workers took part in the election—provided a majority of those voting voted in favor of unionization. Because unions end up representing the entire workforce as an exclusive bargaining agent, such a standard would force numerous employees into representation without their consent. Such a policy is a de facto admission that gov’t unions have difficulty earning the approval of rank-and-file workers.

No

SB339 — Revises provisions relating to public records; authorizing a governmental entity to declare certain records of the governmental entity to be confidential | A dangerous and slippery salvo against gov’t transparency. Exemptions to the NPRA should be determined by statute, not individual agencies who may have an interest in concealing pertinent public information.

No

Nevada Policy also testified against the following bill this week:

AB190 — Would reverse minor reforms made to prevailing wage laws | This bill rolls back minor (recent) reforms governing prevailing wage laws. If passed, it will 1) lower the threshold above which prevailing wages for public projects apply, from $250k to 100k, and 2) demand 100% of prevailing wages be paid for school-construction projects, up from 90% currently. Prevailing wages exist b/c politicians are pandering to special-interest labor groups. The flawed survey methodology allows unions to unilaterally dictate wage rates paid on public works projects in Nevada. Consequently, state‐mandated prevailing wages are 62 percent higher than market wages, on average.

Note: Read Nevada Policy’s testimony in opposition to this bill by clicking here.

No

Click the image below to view the online bill tracker live.

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Legislative update for March 15, 2019

Bills continue to be introduced, as we approach deadlines in Nevada’s 80th Legislative session. Here are a few things on our Online Bill Tracker that we have been watching carefully this last week:

Bill | Description | Analysis

Taxpayer Friendly?

SB287 — Strengthens Nevada’s Public Records Act | Requires agencies to assist requester in finding information responsive to the purpose of the request, and limit production fees to the direct cost of duplication, excluding staff time. Most importantly, this measure would ensure the law is followed by treating it the same as every other law on the books, by simply adding a penalty for those who violate it. (Learn more about the broad bipartisan coalition supporting this important measure by clicking here.)

Yes

SB272 — Would require taxpayers to pay the employees’ portion of PERS contributions for public safety workers | This represents another lucrative gov’t handout to special-interest labor groups, at taxpayer expense. It’s ironic because PERS members have argued ad nauseam that pension information should be secret, and thus not concern taxpayers (SB224: PERS secrecy bill), yet they now demand that taxpayers cover 100% of their retirement costs. Rarely, if ever, can you find such lucrative retirement packages in the private sector, whose workers typically earn much less.

No

SB263 — Requires certain vapor products be taxed and regulated as other tobacco products | These types of “sin taxes” fall disproportionately on poor Nevadans. Moreover, research now indicates that vaping is a less harmful alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes and can guide efforts to cease smoking. Lawmakers should encourage these less harmful alternatives, not tax them into oblivion. Of course, like all sin taxes, this bill is more about raising revenue than concern for public health, as revenue from traditional cigarette taxes have fallen short of expectations.

No

AB241 — Revises the commerce tax as it applies to certain motor vehicle dealers | Better legislation would repeal the Commerce Tax altogether, but this bill proposes modest relief for auto dealers who have been disproportionately burdened by the state’s gross-receipts tax, and deserves to be supported.

Yes

Bills we continue to watch:

SB224 — Would make secret the names of those receiving tax-funded public pensions, which the NV Supreme Court just ruled public | Taxpayers have a fundamental right to non-sensitive information about where our $2 billion in annual PERS funding is actually spent. This bill would fundamentally undermine that right.

Note: Read Nevada Policy’s testimony in opposition of the bill by clicking here.

No

SB135 — Provides for collective bargaining by state employees | This bill would increase state spending by roughly $500 million annually by increasing the compensation and number of state government workers. State workers already earn 29 percent more in compensation than their similarly-skilled and educated private-sector counterparts. Raising taxes on those earning less to further this pay gap is neither fair nor sustainable.

Note: This bill has still not been heard, but expect it to move forward quickly when Democrat leadership decides to prioritize it.

No

Bookmark this page, and keep checking back each week for a list of what has changed on Nevada Policy’s Legislative Bill Tracker! Click the image below to view the online bill tracker live.

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Legislative update for March 8, 2019

Next week is going to be an extremely busy week for Nevada’s 80th Legislative Session. Expect many bills to be introduced, as lawmakers run up against a deadline to get their priorities heard.

Here are a few things on our Online Bill Tracker that we have been watching carefully:

Bill | Description | Analysis

Taxpayer Friendly?

SB224 Would make secret the names of those receiving tax-funded public pensions, which the NV Supreme Court just ruled public| Taxpayers have a fundamental right to non-sensitive information about where our $2 billion in annual PERS funding is actually spent. This bill would fundamentally undermine that right.

Note: This bill had its first hearing a week ago today, and Nevada Policy testified in opposition to it. Expect more moving forward. (Read Nevada Policy’s testimony in opposition of the bill by clicking here. )

No

AB136 — Reforms prevailing wage laws, and undoes recent, minor reforms made in 2015 | This would drastically increase costs for school-construction projects, resulting in less available funding for other educational priorities. Prevailing wages exist because politicians are pandering to special-interest labor groups. Consequently, state‐mandated prevailing wages are 45 percent higher than market wages, on average—significantly adding to the cost of construction for public projects.

Note: This bill was heard this morning.

No

AB221 — This bill would allow people who are 18 (and 16 in certain circumstances) to work as “gaming employees,” whereas current law requires them to be at least 21 | This is common sense . . . If people want to work, let them work. Indeed, society should encourage younger people to enter the workforce and acquire the much-needed skills and experience which will benefit them for the rest of their professional and personal lives.

Yes

SB135 — Provides for collective bargaining by state employees | This bill would increase state spending by roughly $500 million annually by increasing the compensation and number of state government workers. State workers already earn 29 percent more in compensation than their similarly-skilled and educated private-sector counterparts. Raising taxes on those earning less to further this pay gap is neither fair nor sustainable.

Note: This bill has still not been heard, but expect it to move forward quickly when Democrat leadership decides to prioritize it.

No

Bookmark this page, and keep checking back each week for a list of what has changed on Nevada Policy’s Legislative Bill Tracker! Click the image below to view the online bill tracker live.

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Legislative update for March 1, 2019

Week four didn’t have the kind of headline-grabbing issues we saw last week, but there’s still plenty going on in Nevada’s 80th Legislative Session. About 40 bills were introduced this week, with just under 500 bills having been formally introduced so far.

Here are a few of the issues that made it onto our Online Bill Trackerthat we will be watching carefully:

Bill | Description | Analysis

Taxpayer Friendly?

SB224 Would make secret the names of those receiving tax-funded public pensions, which the NV Supreme Court just ruled public| Taxpayers have a fundamental right to non-sensitive information about where our $2 billion in annual PERS funding is actually spent. This bill would fundamentally undermine that right.

Note: This bill will be heard by committee today, March 1st. Read Nevada Policy’s testimony in opposition of the bill by clicking here.

No

AB113 — Tax break on firearm transfers | This bill would end the double-taxation phenomenon associated w/ Nevadans who purchase firearms from out-of-state dealers and have the firearm shipped to a local Nevada dealer. Under current law, local Nevada dealers must collect sales tax on the firearm, despite the fact that the sale took place outside of Nevada’s taxing jurisdiction—leading to consumers paying tax in two separate jurisdictions for firearms purchased out of state. This bill would eliminate the need for local dealers to collect sales tax on firearms sold by dealers in other states.

Yes

Just a reminder, this bill continues to be a top concern:

SB135 — Provides for collective bargaining by state employees | This bill would increase state spending by roughly $500 million annually by increasing the compensation and number of state government workers. State workers already earn 29 percent more in compensation than their similarly-skilled and educated private-sector counterparts. Raising taxes on those earning less to further this pay gap is neither fair nor sustainable.

No

 

Bookmark this page, and keep checking back each week for a list of what has changed on Nevada Policy’s Legislative Bill Tracker! Click the image below to view the online bill tracker live.

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Legislative update for February 22, 2019

The third week of Nevada’s 80th legislative session is now over! So far, about 450 bills have been drafted and formally introduced, and there are plenty more to come in the next 102 days of the session.

So here are just a few bills that made it onto our Online Bill Tracker this week that we will be watching carefully:

Bill | Description | Analysis

Taxpayer Friendly?

SB108 — Would entitle unions to ½ hour of state workers’ time, during regular working hours, for union recruitment | Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize union activities.

No

AB153 — “Evergreen clauses” in Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) | This would make it so pay raises are guaranteed for government workers, even after the governing CBA has expired. This gives collective bargaining agents significant leverage over taxpayers and government employers, as it removes an urgency to find compromise before the CBA expires. Such a policy will inevitably result in continued upward personnel costs for government.

No

SB111 — Would reduce ending-fund-balance exemption for arbitration purposes | This policy would give significant leverage to unions for the purpose of collective bargaining arbitration. Arbiters would have access to even more government revenues during arbitration, resulting in a disproportionate increase in the cost of negotiating with government-sector unions.

No

Just a reminder, this bill continues to be a top concern:

SB135 — Provides for collective bargaining by state employees | This bill would increase state spending by roughly $500 million annually by increasing the compensation and number of state government workers. State workers already earn 29 percent more in compensation than their similarly-skilled and educated private-sector counterparts. Raising taxes on those earning less to further this pay gap is neither fair nor sustainable.

No

SB224 — “PERS Secrecy Bill” | This is basically a copy-and-paste version of a similar bill passed last legislative session (and vetoed by Gov. Sandoval). You can read more about last year’s bill here. The bill would make secret the names of former government workers receiving pensions from the state’s Public Employee Retirement System, concealing the cost of taxpayer-funded retirement packages from the public.

No

SB43 — Allows for traffic cameras | Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that traffic cameras do nothing to improve public safety—even increasing the risk of auto accidents in certain circumstances. This is why a number of states are considering banning traffic cameras. This bill, which would make traffic cameras legal in Nevada, is moving in precisely the wrong direction, prioritizing government revenues over the safety and wellbeing of Nevada drivers.

No

SB208Revises the occupational licensing requirements for cosmetology | Slightly reduces the number of hours of schooling required to apply for a cosmetology license. A small step in the right direction to reduce the unnecessary, and often arbitrary, burden the State of Nevada imposes on those seeking gainful employment.

Yes

AB77 — Revising provisions governing the practice of optometry| Increases scope of practice for optometry assistants; provides for certification of mobile optometry clinics; expands licensing renewal period

Yes

Bookmark this page, and keep checking back each week for a list of what has changed on Nevada Policy’s Legislative Bill Tracker! Click the image below to view the online bill tracker live.

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Legislative update for February 15, 2019

What happened in Carson City this week? Plenty.

But here are a just a few highlighted policies on our Legislative Bill Tracker (view live by clicking here) that caught our attention:

Bill | description | analysis | update

Taxpayer friendly?

SB135 — Extends collective bargaining to state workers | Reasonable estimates put the cost of this at $500 million annually, despite the fact that state workers are already paid well above market levels. (Read Nevada Policy’s latest study on this issue here.) | Will be heard by Senate Committee on Government Affairs next week.

No

SB143 — Background checks for private firearm transfers | Unlike the “universal” background check passed by voters in 2016, this proposal will carry a cost to taxpayers as well as individuals looking to exercise their Second Amendment rights. | Passed the Senate. Expected to pass the Assembly by the end of the day today (Feb. 15th).

No

Senate Bill 152 — exempts smaller businesses (revenues <$3.5mil) from submitting Commerce Tax returns annually | A commonsense reform to lessen the burden of the Commerce Tax on businesses too small to pay it.

Yes

Assembly Bill 136 — reforms prevailing wage laws, and undoes recent, minor reforms made in 2015 | This would drastically increase costs for school-construction projects, resulting in less available funding for other educational priorities.

No

Senate Bill 103 — affordable housing, and possible rent-control policies | Sen. Julia Ratti introduced a “conceptual amendment” to existing legislation that would impose rent control, which would only further exacerbate Nevada’s “affordable housing” woes.

No

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Legislative update for February 8, 2019

Well, the first week of Nevada’s 80th Legislative Session has come and gone. Below is a summary of some of the most important items we’ve put on our Legislative Bill Tracker. Future weekly updates will include what actions committees have taken, and what kind of support various bills are receiving.

There’s a lot to keep track of this session. Be sure to stay updated by watching our Legislative Bill Tracker, and checking back here often for updates.

Here are the updates for February 8th:

Bill | Description | Analysis

Taxpayer Friendly?

AB73 —  Provides for additional sources of funding for services and affordable housing for persons who are homeless or indigent | This bill imposes an additional tax upon the sale of property in Clark County of 25 cents per $500 in sale value for the purpose of funding homeless services and affordable housing. The true barrier to affordable housing is restrictive zoning regulations and exorbitant permitting fees.

No

AB4 — Authorizes cities to create a fire district which would have the power to raise taxes | Makes it easier to raise taxes, while reducing the public’s ability to hold elected officials accountable.

No

SJR14 — Proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to revise certain provisions relating to property taxes | This represents a massive increase in property tax revenue long-term. If passed again in 2019, by majority votes in both houses, it would then go to voters on the 2020 ballot.

No

SB135 — Provides for collective bargaining by state employees | This bill would increase state spending by roughly $500 million annually by increasing the compensation and number of state government workers. State workers already earn 29 percent more in compensation than their similarly-skilled and educated private-sector counterpart. Raising taxes on those earning less to further this pay gap is neither fair nor sustainable.

No

AB108 — This bill would entitle government unions to 1/2 hour of certain newly-hired state workers’ time w/in the first 30 days of employment, during work hours, for the purpose of union recruitment | Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the activities of government unions, which are inherently political organizations that use tax dollars to lobby for higher government spending.

No

AB118 — This bill seeks to limit the right of businesses and individual citizens to enter into mutually-agreed to contracts by outlawing certain types of payday-lending services, specifically “high” rate, short-term loans | Outlawing the services used by those with financial difficulties does nothing to help their situation, and often makes things worse.

No

AB70 — Slightly strengthens the open meeting law by increasing penalties for those who violate it. Also increases time period in which complaints can be lodged | This would increase transparency.

Yes

AB113 — Revises provisions governing the taxation of certain deliveries and transfers of firearms | This bill eliminates the double-taxation phenomenon associated w/ purchasing firearms from out of state via licensed local dealers.

Yes

AB25 — Makes various changes to provisions regarding contractors | Slightly reduces the onerous nature of obtaining and maintaining a contractors’ license,

Yes

In coming weeks, even more bills will be showing up. Some of the drafts look promising for taxpayers and free markets—however, many do not. Here are a few issues we hope to see become bills in coming weeks:

Bookmark this page, and keep checking back each week for a list of what has changed on Nevada Policy’s Legislative Bill Tracker! Click the image below to view the online bill tracker live.

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Legislative update for February 4, 2019

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Mark Twain was certainly on to something when he said, “no man’s life, liberty or property is safe when the legislature is in session.”

That is why it’s so important for taxpayers to keep an eye on what, exactly, lawmakers are trying to do with your hard-earned tax dollars.

Nevada Policy is once again making its efforts to track legislation available online in an easily digestible spreadsheet, so taxpayers can quickly identify the key policy proposals moving through the chaotic scene in Carson City.

The guide will give taxpayers and lawmakers a glimpse into how Nevada Policy will compile its 2019 Legislative Report Card, to be released later this year.