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, and also setting the end of the special session at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. For history buffs, this provides a nice reference to the doomsday clock, which was used to track how close the world came to nuclear armageddon during the cold war. With midnight representing all out nuclear war, the closest the clock ever got was 11:58 p.m. in the 1950’s.
It’s a fitting analogy as the pieces are now in place for the executive and legislative branches to engage in a legal showdown that could forever change how special sessions are conducted in Nevada if an agreement cannot be reached by Sunday night, which could result in either the erosion or solidification of the power of the executive branch.