Category Archives: Nevada Legislature

One Minute to Midnight

As I’ve discussed in earlier posts, there is a long-running legal dispute between executive and legislative lawyers about whether the Governor has the authority to set an end time for a special session.  The issue has never come to a head in Nevada, although there is an Attorney General’s opinion to the Guinn administration opining that the Governor can in fact declare a time by which the Legislature must adjourn.  But the issue has not been tested in court. Today, the Governor released an amended proclamation on the special session, adding several agenda items for consideration, … Continue Reading »

Ratcheting Up the Risk Factor

When it comes to fixing budget deficits, there are three primary methods:  reducing ongoing operational expenses;  digging into contingency savings;  and increasing revenue.  In 2008, the State swept many contingency accounts to react to the budget shortfall (including the largest, the rainy day fund), and those accounts were not replenished in 2009.  The proclamation for the special session to begin on Tuesday lists further sweeps of contingency accounts.  While the Governor and Legislature continue to seek funding sources to solve the immediate short-term budget problem, doing so exposes the State … Continue Reading »

Some Observations on the Call for the Special Session

Earlier today Governor Gibbons issued a proclamation calling the Legislature into a special session beginning at 9:00 a.m. on February 23, 2010.  Without rehashing everything contained therein, I did note some interesting aspects of the proclamation. 1.  No specific ending time and date is set for the session.  In the two special sessions in 2008, a specific ending time and date was established in the proclamation itself. 2.  There is no express prohibition on the consideration of new or increased taxes.  Of course, both the Governor and legislative leaders have said that taxes are off … Continue Reading »

The State of the State

Today the Governor announced he will call a special session beginning February 23 to address a projected budget shortfall of almost $900 million.  The Governor has yet to issue his official proclamation calling the session, where the agenda for the session will be spelled out. In his speech, the Governor pointed out the continuing economic woes plaguing Nevada and blamed the Legislature for raising taxes and failing to enact stiffer budget cuts in 2009.  The Governor took potshots at Senator Harry Reid as well, noting that Nevada came in 50th … Continue Reading »

The Latest Round of Fiscal Projections

The Economic Forum is set to meet in two days to provide updated state revenue forecasts for the current biennium.  In an earlier post, I suggested that the shortfall for the current biennium could approach $400 million.  Since then, state revenues have continued to decline and at this point, it would not be surprising if the forecasted shortfall ends up being well in excess of $400 million, possibly even approaching $500 million.  With a fiscal hole of that magnitude, and the apparent lack of cooperation between the executive and legislative … Continue Reading »

Let the Legal Standoff Begin

Today, Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera penned a letter to the Governor. The letter is in response to a recent directive from the Governor to executive branch agencies prohibiting them from responding to legislative requests for information without the approval of the Governor’s Office.  Although the letter is civil in its tone, the inclusion of numerous citations to Nevada law make it clear that the Legislative branch is willing to engage in a legal fight if the directive is pursued. If the Governor’s directive stands, legislative subpoenas will likely start being issued, … Continue Reading »

Who Can Represent the Governor in a Lawsuit?

Over the last few days the Governor has threatened to file two lawsuits.  One would challenge the legality of the federal health care bill and the other would challenge the Legislative Counsel Bureau’s recent decision to refrain fromdrafting bills on behalf of the Governor at an upcoming special session. This brings to light an interesting legal question.  What happens if the Governor asks the Attorney General to file a lawsuit and the Attorney General refuses? NRS 228.110(1) states that the “Attorney General and his duly appointed deputies shall be the legal advisers on … Continue Reading »

The Coal Case and the Impact on the Budget

In a post on December 30, 2009 I noted that the budget deficit could increase due to some pending tax refund cases, one of which deals with the taxability of coal burned in power plants in Nevada.  This particular case began in 2002 when Southern California Edison (Edison) requested a refund for use taxes paid on coal burned in its Southern Nevada power plant.  Edison argued that because coal could be subject to Nevada’s net proceeds of minerals tax it would be unconstitutional to also subject it to Nevada’s use tax.  … Continue Reading »

Baptism by Fire

The Associated Press ran a story yesterday called “Rookies will be  big factor in 2011 Legislature.”  The article notes that newcomers will hold at least 17 of the 42 spots in the Assembly, and at least 8 of the 21 spots in the Senate (with some allowances for legislators who avoid term limits and remain in the Legislature by swapping houses).  The story notes that the 2011 Legislature will be confronted with at least two enormous challenges:  the growing gap between government expenses and revenues; and reapportionment of Nevada’s legislative districts. The challenges in tackling those … Continue Reading »

Setting the Agenda

With the possibility of a special session of the Nevada Legislature comes the speculation about what will be and what won’t be on the agenda.  Article 5, Section 9 of the Nevada Constitution provides that the Governor “shall state to both houses when organized, the purpose for which they have been convened, and the Legislature shall transact no legislative business, except that for which they were specially convened, or such other legislative business as the Governor may call to the attention of the Legislature while in Session.” There has been a long-running, if … Continue Reading »