Government Affairs Update | May 19, 2017
May 19, 2017
Government Affairs Update | May 19, 2017
FENNEMORE CRAIG | NEVADA LEGISLATIVE REPORT
Happy Friday! Today marks the passage of another crucial deadline for the 79th Legislative Session: second committee passage. All measures which had not received an exemption were required to pass through committee in the second house in which they were heard. Any legislation that didn’t make it through the second committee will be considered dead at midnight. Bills can be exempted from deadlines by leadership, or be sent to a money committee for further discussion if their adoption would have a fiscal impact.
In conjunction with this newsletter, you will receive a report on all bill activity that has taken place so far, which we will update on a weekly basis throughout the session. If you have any questions about the process or how to get involved, please feel free to contact any of our team members in Carson City.
Carson City Team:
RECAP OF WEEK 15
Among the highlights of a busy deadline week, committees met and work-sessioned a flurry of legislation…
A.G. versus the AG
Week 15 was punctuated by a political showdown between veteran Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D) and the state’s Attorney General, Adam Laxalt (R) in a meeting between lawmakers from both houses. The Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees met jointly on Wednesday night to consider a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Carlton that would establish independent counsel for the Gaming Control Board outside of the Attorney General’s Office (AB513). The bill was inspired by a secretly-recorded conversation in 2016 between the Attorney General and the chairman of the Gaming Control Board, A.G. Burnett, at a meeting arranged by Laxalt to discuss the GCB intervening in a private lawsuit filed against the Las Vegas Sands. The bill presentation itself ultimately took a back seat to the real hearing: a terse exchange of words between legislators and the affected parties. Both the AG and A.G. gave extensive opening statements detailing their perception of the events that led up to their conversation. Burnett said he felt the circumstances of their meeting were alarming enough that he felt compelled to record the interaction and send the tapes to the FBI for review. Laxalt, a rising star in the conservative sphere who is likely to run for Governor in 2018, countered that he arranged the meeting to represent the interests of all Nevadans and not just the Las Vegas Sands.
Insurance Bills Move Along
SB209, which implements several language clean-ups requested by the insurance industry, was amended and passed out of Assembly Commerce and Labor. The amendment deletes the sections of the bill which removed the sections of Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) that require workers compensation insurers to utilize a brick-and-mortar establishment in Nevada. This concept proved unpalatable to some committee members and industry insiders alike; however, the sections of the bill which benefit the surplus lines and cell phone insurance industries remain intact and will now continue on to the Assembly Floor.
AB83, the Division of Insurance’s omnibus bill, was passed out of committee for a second time on Friday morning. Fennemore Craig proposed an amendment regarding the timing of existing a self-insured group which was ultimately accepted by the Division and Commerce, Labor and Energy Chairman Kelvin Atkinson (D). The bill’s next stop is the Senate Floor where it will come up for a vote.
Democratic Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton’s (D) bill to cap the fees out-of-network hospitals and physicians can impose on patients for emergency services and care, AB382, has not officially resurfaced since its last work session in Assembly Health and Human Services on April 14th. The language has been declared exempt from today’s deadline though, and thus will live to see another day.
Paid Sick Leave Remains Alive
A major legacy bill for Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D) survived a hearing and work session in Assembly Commerce and Labor this week. SB196 requires private businesses that employ 25 or more people to provide their employees paid sick leave. On Wednesday, the bill was heard on the Assembly side with new amendment language that was used as an attempt to appease the business opposition to the legislation. At the hearing, the business community at large still remained in opposition, with progressive groups in support. Notably, Caesar’s and MGM Entertainment were both in support; however, they are exempt from the legislation as they are both a part of collective bargaining agreements. The bill was amended and passed out of committee on Friday with all Republicans and one Democrat, Assemblywoman Carlton, opposed.
THE WEEK AHEAD
With less than three weeks left in the session only two deadlines remain: second house passage and of course, Sine Die. The coming week is an imperative one as second house passage is slated for Friday May 26, 2017. The following week is going to be primarily focused on Assembly and Senate Floor votes to meet the aforementioned deadline, however it is important to keep in mind that leadership in both houses still have emergency bills left in their arsenal which can be announced at any time prior to Sine Die. Moreover, the bills which have been exempted due to a fiscal note have until May 31st, 2017 to make it through the first house (unless the rules are suspended, which is always a possibility). This means that last minute hearings and work sessions will be common over the next two weeks. Ultimately, it is important to keep in mind that in the next two weeks almost anything is possible in Nevada's political universe and therefore we will be laser focused on the movement of priority legislation as Sine Die approaches.