- 120 days to pass bills. The Nevada Constitution provides that the legislature is to convene on the first Monday of February following the election of the assembly and is to adjourn sine die 120 calendar days following its commencement. This year, the 82nd Legislative Session will commence on February 6, 2023, and conclude June 6, 2023, at 12:00 AM PST. Any legislative action taken after sine die is void unless a special session is convened.
The constitution requires a bill to pass out of both houses; to which, it must be read on three separate days in each House, unless it’s on the consent calendar or with a vote of two-thirds of the house where such bill is pending. A bill that increases revenue, including fees, requires passage by two-thirds of both Houses or vote of the public.
All bills that are passed out of both Houses shall become law unless the governor vetoes the bill by timely returning it to the house in which it originated. A vetoed bill may become law if voted by two-thirds of both houses. If a vetoed bill cannot be returned due to the legislature adjourning, then the governor within ten days shall file such bill with his objections in the office of the secretary of state. The vetoed bill will be before the legislature in the next session; to which, that legislature can pass such bill by two-thirds vote of both houses.
2. 120 days to appropriate funds. The legislature is required to pass a state budget for the next biennium (FY2023-FY2025); to which, the governor must present his executive budget to the legislature fourteen days prior to the start of session. The Nevada Constitution requires the legislature to appropriate monies that it deems to be sufficient, when combined with local money reasonably available for this purpose, to fund the operation of the public schools (K-12), for the next ensuing biennium, prior to enacting any other appropriation.
3. Make-up of the 82nd legislature. The Nevada Legislature consists of 63 seats, with 42 Assembly members (28 Democrats and 14 Republicans) and 21 Senators (13 Democrats and 8 Republicans). As of November 18, 2023, there is one vacancy in the Senate. Since the vacant district is located in Clark County and previously held by a Democrat, the Clark County Commissioners will have to appoint a Democrat to the vacant seat. With that vacancy, there are currently 38 women and 24 men serving in the legislature.
4. Comparison to other legislatures. Nevada is the third smallest legislature, after Alaska (60) and Delaware (62). Nevada is one of four states that have biennial sessions (other states include MT, ND, & TX) and is one of ten citizen legislatures. In 2019, Nevada became the first state to have a women-majority state legislature in U.S. history.
5. Participating in the Process. The easiest way to follow a bill is to set up a personalized legislative tracking: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/82nd2023/Plt. Ten bills can be tracked for free.
About this article: This article was originally published in the “Five Things” issue of Communiqué (January 2023), the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association. See https://clarkcountybar.org/member-benefits/communique-2023/communique-january-2023/.
About the author
Shea Backus, Esq. is a shareholder with Backus | Burden. Shea represents individuals and business entities in a variety of areas, including both transactional and litigation. Shea is a member of the Nevada State Assembly, representing District 37.
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