There's less than one week left in Nevada's 2017 Legislative Session, and lawmakers are working around the clock to put the finishing touches on bills while at the same time finalizing a budget for the next two years. Reno Public Radio's News Director Michelle Billman spoke with our political reporter Paul Boger to get the latest from Carson City.
A Look Ahead to the Final Week of the 2017 Session
Well, this is the last week. Lawmakers will be working around the clock to finish up the few remaining bills that are out there. We know there is likely going to be a renewable energy bill. Criminal justice has been a major focus this session, and pay increases are all up for debate.
Of course, the biggest agenda item is crafting the 2018-2019 biennium. Drafting a budget for the next two years in not easy, so we'll look at that as it comes down the pike. There is likely going to be an Education Savings Account measure. What it will look like, and whether it receives the support of the Governor, remains unknown. Democrats have voiced opposition to vouchers, but some lawmakers seem to be willing to support ESAs if a “needs-based” aspect attached to it. Republicans, on the other hand, have been in lock-step on the issue. They will vote no on a budget if there is no ESA line item.
There’s also still the possibility of revamping the way the state pays for its public education system. A weighted student formula has been on the backburner nearly the entire session. The idea is simple. The state would increase the overall amount of money it spends on public education, however, that additional cash would go to the students who need extra resources like special needs, English learners or those who are at-risk. However, the price tag associated with the plan would have required an additional billion dollars in state revenues, but recent negotiations may put the plan in more realistic terms and therefore an enticing target for lawmakers crafting a budget.
Ultimately, it's going to be a very busy week in Carson.