Committee deadline looms in week 10 of Legislature

Nevada lawmakers kick into high gear as they approach a key deadline and take up weighty issues such as collective bargaining, education reform and taxes as the 10th week of the 2011 session begins Monday.

Friday is the deadline for any non-budget related bills to pass out of committee from the house of origin. If they don't pass, they die.

Teachers, students and education advocates also will make their presence in the halls of the Legislature on Monday, with a noon rally planned in front of the legislative building. They will demo-nstrate against deep cuts and education reforms outlined in Gov. Brian Sandoval's $5.8 billion proposed spending plans for the next two years.

That same day, the Senate Committee on Education will consider two bills that would implement some of the governor's budget plans for higher education. SB449 would allow colleges and universities to set varying tuition and fee rates for courses depending on the level of demand, equipment and expertise needed. SB451 allows tuition and fees paid by students to remain with the institutions they intend, instead of a portion reverting to the state general fund. The committee could also vote on SB275, an anti-bullying bill.

The Assembly Education Committee, meanwhile, will consider three other bills proposed by the governor dealing with K-12. AB554 implements a letter grade system to evaluate schools; AB557 authorizes $20 million to establish a pilot program for teacher incentive pay based on performance; and AB548 would eliminate the election of members to the state Board of Education, making them all governor appointees to serve with the state superintendent and higher education chancellor.

On Tuesday, Assembly Government Affairs considers AB257, which would amend the Open Meeting Law to require public comment on individual items before a vote is taken by a public body. AB332 involves the Economic Forum, and would require them to meet quarterly each year and issue reports by December 1 and May 1 of every year.

Assembly Taxation hears AB336, a proposal to implement a corporate income tax in Nevada on profits over $500,000 a year. It's unlikely the bill will garner the two-thirds majority needed for passage.

Money subcommittees consider capital improvement projects, and the Assembly Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections takes up AB501, which would impose a moratorium on executions and authorize a study on death penalty issues.

The Senate Revenue Committee considers SB383, which would be authorize tax abatements for companies that move into areas with jobless rates of 8 percent or higher; and SB492, which revamps fees paid for mining claims. The committee also will hear Senate Joint Resolution 15, a proposed constitutional amendment to remove the net proceeds cap on minerals.

Also Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections takes up collective bargaining. SB98 deals with mediation and arbitration in public employee bargaining. SB342 would prohibit public em-ployee supervisors or administrators from belonging to collective bargaining units.

On Wednesday, Assembly Ways and Means considers AB517 to implement a performance-based budgeting process.

Budgets for Health and Human Services, the Division of Child and Family Services, and the judicial branch will be discussed in money subcommittees on Thursday, with the Department of Public Safety budget will be considered Friday.

The week ends Saturday, when Assembly Ways and Means holds hearings on AB555, which deals with tea-cher evaluations and seniority in the event of layoffs.


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