One instance of action and one of inaction at the recent special session may be grounds for another special session in 2010. At the session, the Governor and Legislature approved the transfer to the general fund of approximately $62 million from a fund designed to build a wastewater pipeline in Clark County in order to help with the budget crisis. Now, multiple groups who have either paid into that fund or oversee that fund have filed lawsuits against the state to prevent the transfer of those funds. Jon Ralston has copies of the lawsuits here. If those lawsuits are successful, it would create a $62 million dollar hole in an already tenuous patchwork of budget solutions.
Inaction by the Legislature may also result in a further special session. The Governor asked that the Legislature consider a clarification of water law in response to a recent water decision from the Nevada Supreme Court that could jeopardize long-existing water applications. The Legislature focused its energies on the budget solution and did not address the water case. However, numerous water rights advocates, including former state engineers, testified yesterday in favor of another special session to address the issue. You can read Cy Ryan’s account of yesterday’s hearing here. Further hearings will likely be held and ultimately a formal recommendation from the state engineer will be presented to the Governor.
The odds of a special session happening anytime soon, however, are likely remote. Because of the prohibition on fund-raising before, during and after a special session, and because of the many heated primary races, there will likely be little appetite to go back into special session until after the June primaries at the earliest.