Well, THAT was interesting!
The 2015 Legislative Session is over and what a ride it was!
The good news is that, thanks to the dysfunctional Assembly Republican Caucus, the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been. And, of course, a majority of Republicans finally agreed with what Democrats have been saying for years - FUND EDUCATION!
The bad news is that the Republican majority did push through some bad bills. Isn't it ironic that they channel millions in new money to public schools, then pull the rug out from under them with a crazy voucher program! Read more below...and remember...the battle continues!
SB302 is the "school choice" bill, which could have a significant impact on our public education system. This voucher program will give parents about $5,000 in state funds to send their children to private school or home school them.
SJR1 is a resolution that asks Congress to transfer the vast majority of Nevada's public lands into state and private control. These lands are currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service, and contain many high quality recreation areas and crucial wildlife habitat. This resolution takes public lands out of the public's hands, and would result in the massive sale of our lands to private hands, cutting off access and allowing development in protected areas.
AB120, which allows religious expression by students during school instruction, was significantly watered down and passed. It still requires teachers to draw a line between protected expression and disruption or bullying that may be different than First Amendment case law and may create significant challenges.
AB148 is the controversial campus carry bill that failed in the Assembly twice as a bill. It was brought back up as an amendment, and then again as a bill. It never made it to a vote in the Senate.
AB405, the forced parental notification bill which would have endangered young women's access to safe abortion services, died after failing to be brought up on the Senate floor.
AB253 and other voter ID bills all failed to meet the deadline.
AB182 and some of the other bills attacking worker’s rights died before the midnight deadline. However, some other bad bills made it through, which gives us a lot of work to do in future sessions.
SB338 creates an anonymous Safe-to-Tell hotline for students to report potential violence or suicidal behavior.
What Should Have Happened, But Didn't
SB353, which would have banned the practice of conversion therapy on LGBT minors by state-licensed mental health providers, was long delayed in committee, finally passed the Senate with a bipartisan 14-5 vote, then died in the Assembly with no hearing. Attempts to amend the bill to be inclusive of transgender minors failed.
SB164 was the anti-discrimination statute “clean-up” bill by Senator Parks, which would have included sexual orientation and gender identity and expression uniformly for all anti-discrimination statutes, including making murders because of gender identity a hate crime. It passed the Senate unanimously, then died without with a hearing but no committee vote in the Assembly.
SJR13*, from the 2013 session, would have sent a constitutional amendment to allow same-gender marriage to the voters in 2016. This resoultion never got a hearing for second passage in this session.
SJR16, which would have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, got a hearing in committee but was never brought to a vote.
Two strong equal pay bills - SB190 and AB304 - died without a hearing and with a hearing but no vote, respectively.
SB343 and SB358, which would have made it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates and names, never got hearings in committee.
Thank you to all the citizen lobbying team leaders, members, and everyone who contacted their legislators, voiced their opinions, wrote letters to the editor, and got involved in the 2015 session. Your hard work made a huge difference!