Politics and Policy

The Nevada legislature has wrapped up its 120-day session after making the historic decision to approve more than a billion dollars in tax hikes for K-12 education. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reached out to Fred Lokken, professor of political science at Truckee Meadows Community College, to learn how such a controversial tax package gained so much momentum and support.

According to Lokken, passage of this bill really came down to two things: Sandoval's leadership and fracturing of the state Republican party. 

Alexa Ard

Governor Brian Sandoval's plan to raise taxes by more than a billion dollars for K-12 education has cleared both legislative houses. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports on Monday's vote for the state's largest tax increase ever. 

The state senate broke into loud applause after the final vote count on SB483 was announced as 18-3. Democratic Senator Aaron Ford called the decision "historic."

The Nevada legislature is more than halfway through its 120-day session. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss caught up with Fred Lokken, professor of political science at Truckee Meadows Community College, to discuss what he says is one of the most unproductive and dysfunctional sessions in state history. 

Lokken has been studying Nevada politics for 24 years and says that with Republicans in charge of both the Assembly and Senate, this session has brought to light an embarrassing amount of infighting.

Esther Ciammachilli

The Nevada Assembly rejected a bill last night (Tuesday) that would have required students to use school bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex.

The highly controversial AB375 was marginally voted down in a 22-20 vote with five Republicans and all Democrats opposed.

Republican Assemblywoman Vicki Dooling was the bill's main sponsor.

"This bill will bring privacy and safety for all children," Dooling said.

Nevada Lawmakers Want More Freedom To Collect Online Sales Tax

Apr 22, 2015

Lawmakers have passed a bill aimed at helping Nevada collect more tax revenue from online retailers.

The Senate unanimously passed the bill yesterday (Tuesday), and the Assembly passed an identical measure.

The U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause prevents states from requiring a merchant to collect and turn over sales tax unless the business has a substantial base in that state.

Governor Brian Sandoval's tax plan has cleared the Senate. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the proposal now heads to the Assembly where it'll face tough opposition.

Only four senators voted against the proposal, while 17 came out in support. That's more than the required two-thirds majority vote needed, and it's a margin that surprised even Governor Sandoval.

The Nevada Assembly has approved a measure requiring parental notification before a minor can receive an abortion. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that lawmakers passed AB 405 in a 24-17 party-line vote on Friday.

The bill would require physicians to send written notification to the parents or guardians of a minor seeking an abortion. It also requires a 48-hour wait time before the procedure.

David Parks

Therapies that are meant to turn young gay people straight could soon be banned in Nevada. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Democratic Senator David Parks is sponsoring a bill that would outlaw psychotherapists and social workers from providing what's called "sexual conversion therapy" to patients under 18. He says the practice is unethical and unscientific. Ron Lawrence, a marriage and family therapist in Las Vegas, agrees.

A bill under review by Nevada lawmakers would require all businesses in Nevada to offer paid sick leave to employees. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Under Senate Bill 259 all workers would earn at least an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours on the clock. That benefit would kick in after a worker has been on the job for 90 days. Democratic Senate Minority Leader Aaron Ford sponsored the measure and testified at a Senate committee meeting Monday.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is backing New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to succeed him as Democratic leader. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that Reid issued his endorsement Friday morning, shortly after announcing he will retire next year instead of running for re-election.

Reid was first elected to the Senate almost thirty years ago.

Reid said he wants to make sure Democrats regain control of the Senate next year and that it would be "inappropriate" for him to soak up campaign resources when he could be focusing on putting the Democrats back in power.

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